San Francisco Earthquake 1906
|As fires rage through San Francisco, soldiers,
dressed in olive drab service dress with strapped
leggings and wearing campaign hats with light blue cords
designating infantry, unload one of many civilian wagons
pressed into service with their drivers. (In addition to
supplies from Army depots, food, including much flour,
came from cities all over the United States.)
The officer with the black visored service cap is a lieutenant colonel of infantry. With his olive drab, single breasted sack coat, with four chokedbellow pockets, low falling collar and dull finish bronze metal buttons he wears olive drab service breeches and russet leather boots. The officer and the artillery sergeant known by his scarlet hat cord carry .38 caliber service revolvers; the rifles shown are the new .30 caliber 1901 "Springfields."
by H Charles McBarron
Illustration: US Army Center of Military History
The 22nd Infantry was one of the units sent to aid the City of San Francisco during this great tragedy.
How the Army Worked to Save San Francisco
Personal Narrative of the Acute and Active
Commanding Officer of the Troops at the Presidio
BY FREDERICK FUNSTON
BRIG.-GEN. U. S. A.
How lucky it was for San Francisco that Gen. Frederick Funston threw himself and his men so boldly into the breach when the fire-fighters were waging their unequal combat with the flames caused by the great earthquake of April 18th, has been remarked on every hand. The newspapers and weekly periodicals have covered the ground of the great catastrophe so far as general description goes, but the Cosmopolitan has been singularly fortunate in securing from General Funston the following and spirited account of how he summoned his men from the Presidio, how they dashed down to the scene of the conflagration to help the firemen, to patrol the city, to save lives, to care for the wounded and to feed the hungry. and of their subsequent deeds.
Modesty is written on every page of this report. General Funston gives a fine account of what he saw at the beginning of the catastrophe: he tells how the policing-squads were organized, and gives much valuable information not before set forth. But as to how heroically he and his men worked in the vain fight to save the city with dynamite, he is silent, and of the numberless instances of lives saved and hungry mouths fed he makes little account. In this respect he is like Kiplings heroic soldier he has done the fighting, but he cant tell about it.
Still the narrative stands as a unique contribution to the history of the great disaster, and is vitally interesting throughout. Editors Note.
WHEN first approached by a representative of the Cosmopolitan with the request that I prepare a short sketch of the work of the army in maintaining order and in sheltering and feeding the homeless during the first few days of the San Francisco fire, I declined, because of the seeming impropriety of such action, but reconsidered on its being pointed out to me that the public interest in the action of the military authorities in connection with the recent catastrophe was so keen that an authoritative statement from one in a position to be cognizant of all the facts would be most welcome. Few people ever see official reports; but hundreds of thousands read so widely circulated a magazine as the Cosmopolitan. This communication, in connection with the fact that the necessary permission has been obtained from the secretary of war, must be my apology.
At the time of the earthquake there were stationed at the military posts on or near San Francisco Bay ten companies of Coast Artillery; the First, Ninth, and Twenty-fourth Batteries of Field Artillery; the entire Twenty-second Regiment of Infantry; Troops I, K, and M, Fourteenth Cavalry; Company B, Hospital Corps an aggregate of about seventeen hundred men. Of these, two companies of the Twenty-second Infantry and the troops of the Fourteenth Cavalry were temporarily absent on the rifle-range at Point Bonita; but they were soon available for duty, the cavalry being brought to San Francisco.
The headquarters of the Pacific Division and of the Department of California were located in office-buildings in the heart of the city, and the officers on duty thereat lived in the city and not at the army posts near it. Maj.-Gen. A. W. Greely, commanding the Pacific Division, had departed from the city on a visit to his home in Washington only a few days previous to the earthquake, which accounts for the writer, as senior officer, being in command until the return of the division commander.
I was living with my family at 1310 Washington Street, near Jones, one of the most elevated parts of the city, and was awakened by the earthquake shock at 5:16 a.m. on that never-to-be-forgotten eighteenth day of April. The entire street-car system being brought to a standstill by the damage resulting from the shock, I hastened on foot toward the business section of the city for the purpose of ascertaining what damage had been done to the hotels and other large buildings. Arriving at the highest part of California Street, on what is popularly known as Nob Hill, several columns of smoke were seen rising from the region south of Market Street, with others rising apparently from fires in the banking district. Walking rapidly down California to Sansome, I found that several fires were burning fiercely, and that the city fire-department was helpless, owing to water-mains having been shattered by the earthquake.
I realized then that a great conflagration was inevitable, and that the city police force would not be able to maintain the fire-lines and protect public and private property over the great area affected. It was at once determined to order out all available troops not only for the purpose of guarding federal buildings, but to aid the police- and fire-departments of the city.
Now it was ascertained that the entire telephone system was prostrated and that I must return to first principles in order to get into communication with the commanding officers at the Presidio and Fort Mason, the two army posts most convenient to the city. Several men dashing wildly about in automobiles declined to assist me, for which I indulged in the pious hope that theyd be burned out. So I made my way, running and walking alternately, from Sansome Street to the army stable on Pine, near Hyde, a little more than a mile, where I arrived in so serious a condition that I could scarcely stand. Directing my carriage driver to mount my saddle-horse, I hastily scribbled a note to Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps, commanding officer at the Presidio, directing him. to report with his entire command to the chief of police at the Hall of Justice on Portsmouth Square, and sent a verbal message of the same import to Capt. M. L. Walker, Corps of Engineers, in command at Fort Mason. The messenger was well mounted and covered the mile to Fort Mason and the three miles to the Presidio at a keen run. Both Colonel Morris and Captain Walker had their commands well in hand and responded with alacrity.
Before leaving Sansome Street I had asked a member of the city police force to inform the chief of police as soon as possible as to the action I contemplated taking.
Leaving the stable, I walked in a leisurely manner to the summit of Nob Hill, only a few blocks distant, whence could be obtained a good view to the south and cast across the great city doomed to destruction. The streets were filled with people with anxious faces, all turned toward the dozen or more columns of thick black smoke rising from the densely populated region south of Market Street. The thing that at this time made the greatest impression on me was the strange and unearthly silence. There was no talking, no apparent excitement among the near-by spectators; while from the great city lying at our feet there came not a single sound, no shrieking of whistles, no clanging of bells. The terrific roar of the conflagration, the crash of falling walls, and the dynamite explosions that were to make the next three days hideous, had not yet begun.
It was a beautiful clear morning with no wind, and the sinister column of smoke mounted a thousand feet in the air before they were dissipated. Probably none of the people who watched the imposing spectacle on that occasion would have believed that within thirty-six hours the spot where they stood would be a maelstrom of fire. Walking now to my home, only four blocks distant, I had a cup of coffee and gave a few hasty instructions to my family about packing trunks and leaving the house, so soon to be destroyed. From here it was a walk of fifteen minutes to the Phelan Building, the headquarters of the Department of California, where I found awaiting me several officers of the Pacific Division and the Department of California.
Market Street was full of excited, anxious people watching the progress of the various fires now being merged into one great conflagration. A few moments before seven oclock there arrived the first detachment of regular troops, the men of the Engineer Corps at Fort Mason. They were greeted with evidentwill by the crowd, and made a fine impression with their full cartridge-belts and fixed bayonets. They had marched from Fort Mason to the Hall of Justice, where they had been reported to the chief of police, and were now being distributed along Market Street, two to each block, with instructions to shoot instantly any person caught looting or committing any serious misdemeanor.
Their presence had an instantly reassuring effect on all awe-inspired persons.
It was considered most desirable to bring to the city at once the battalion of the Twenty-second Infantry stationed at Fort McDowell, on Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay. All telegraphic communication being cut off, the large army-tug Slocum was dispatched to that fort with verbal orders to Col. Alfred Reynolds to embark his command at once, land at the foot of Market Street and march to the Phelan Building.
In the meantime, the clerks and messengers who had reported for duty set about saving the records of the department in the offices on the fourth floor. As fast as the records could be brought out they were placed in a wagon for transportation to Fort Mason. About eight oclock a.m. there came so severe an earthquake shock that I directed that all attempts to save records and papers cease, not deeming them of sufficient importance to risk the lives of a dozen men, Before this time, however, troops from the Presidio began to arrive cavalry, coast artillery armed and equipped as infantry, and field artillerymen mounted on their battery horses.
Abundant use was found for all the troops at our disposal, for the conflagration with a mile of front was rapidly eating its way into the heart of the city, and the streets were black with tens of thousands of people who were kept at a distance of two blocks from the fire by strong detachments of troops. Before ten oclock the troops from Forts McDowell and Miley had arrived and there were now on duty about seventeen hundred regulars. They were used in various ways, guarding the people, the Sub-Treasury and the Mint, patrolling the streets to prevent looting, maintaining fire-lines, and taking a hand at the hose wherever there was sufficient water pressure to enable the firemen to accomplish anything.
While not acting under the orders of the officers of the police- and fire-departments, the officers of the troops consulted them and complied with their wishes in every possible way.
There was absolutely no friction.
In the meantime, dynamite had been obtained; and then began the series of terrific explosions that was to shake the city for the next few days. The amount of dynamite available in the earlier hours of the day was too small to accomplish much, but a tug was obtained and a number of trips made to the works of the California Powder Company at Pinole, the tug returning each time laden with explosives. I doubt if anyone will ever know the amount of dynamite and guncotton used in blowing up buildings, but it must have been tremendous, as there were times when the explosions were so continuous as to resemble a bombardment.
Panorama of the Destroyed City.
Three surviving structures in the Financial District can be seen in this dramatic photo. At far left is the Kohl Building on Montgomery Street, the Merchants' Exchange Building on California and, in the center of the picture, the Mills Building on Montgomery.
Most of the work was done under the instructions of Captain Coleman and Lieutenant Briggs, Artillery Corps, U. S. A., who, however, ascertained the wishes of the fire- and police-officials as to the buildings to be destroyed. In this work Lieutenant Pulis of the Artillery Corps was very seriously injured by a premature explosion. While frame and old brick buildings were reduced to piles of rubbish by these explosions, the modern steel and concrete structures remained as impervious to the heaviest charges as they had been to the earthquake.
I had several times during the day been in consultation with Mayor Schmitz and Chief of Police Dinan at the Hall of Justice, which was the headquarters of the city officials until forced out by the approach of the conflagration. At the last one of these conferences it was arranged that during the night the regular troops should patrol the wealthy residence district west of Van Ness Avenue, in order to prevent robbery or disorder by the vast throngs being driven thither by the progress of the fire. For this duty I placed all troops in the city under the command of Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps, who established his headquarters in the district to be patrolled.
It is useless to attempt to go into a detailed account of the events of that night of horrors. Four square miles of the city were on fire. The night was as light as day, and the roar of the conflagration, the crash of falling walls, and the continuous explosions made a pandemonium simply indescribable. During the night, the Grant Building, headquarters of the Pacific Division, and the Phelan Building, for so many years headquarters of the Department of California, had gone up in the general holocaust; and the officers on duty in the city assembled and reŽstablished headquarters at Fort Mason, the small and ancient army post on the bay shore, at the north end of Van Ness Avenue.
An account of the events of the succeeding two days would unduly lengthen what is meant to be a brief sketch. Block by block and street by street and hour after hour the firemen, police, and soldiers fought the conflagration, in hope of possible success. Scores of buildings were blown down by dynamite and guncotton, and others were set on fire in order to check the conflagration by back-firing. The Pacific Squadron, under command of Admiral Goodrich, arrived from the south and landed several hundred marines and blue-jackets, who rendered excellent service in fighting the fire and patrolling the streets.
During the memorable 18th and 19th every hotel and bank, every large store and nearly every storeroom and wareroom in the city had been destroyed, three hundred thousand people were homeless, and thousands more were left without the means of livelihood.
The rations, tents, and blankets on hand at the army posts adjacent to the city were dealt out to the sufferers with no account of the responsibility involved; and within two days, relief supplies from neighboring states and cities and army supplies from various army posts had begun to arrive and were being distributed under the supervision of Maj. C. A. Devol, depot quartermaster, and Maj. C. R. Krauthoff, depot commissary.
The sick from the city hospitals and many of those injured in the earthquake were sent to the general hospital at the Presidio.
The Hearst Relief Corps with a number of well-equipped hospitals, and a complement of physicians and nurses, arrived from Los Angeles and rendered excellent service.
In a few days conditions were as normal as could be expected under the circumstances, and the work of feeding and sheltering the homeless thousands proceeded in a systematic manner.
Through all this terrible disaster, the conduct of the people had been admirable. There was very little panic and no serious disorder. San Francisco had its class of people, no doubt, who would have taken advantage of any opportunity to plunder the banks and rich jewelry and other stores of the city, but the presence of the square-jawed silent men with magazine rifles, fixed bayonets, and with belts full of cartridges restrained them. There was no necessity for the regular troops to shoot anybody and there is no well-authenticated case of a single person having been killed by regular troops.
Two men were shot by the state troops under circumstances with which I am not familiar, and so I am not able to express an opinion, and one prominent citizen was ruthlessly slain by self-constituted vigilantes.
If there is any lesson to be derived from the work of the regular troops in San Francisco, it is that nothing can take the place of training and discipline, and that self-control and patience are as important as courage.
Funston, Frederick. How the Army Worked to Save San Francisco. Cosmpolitian MagazineJuly 1906. http://www.sfmuseum.org/1906/cosmo.html (5 Mar. 1996)
The above is courtesy of The Museum of the City of San Francisco (sfmuseum.org)
The Army in the San Francisco Disaster.
BY Major Carroll Augustine Devol, 1859 Quartermaster, G. S., U. S. Army.
It is presumed that all Army men are more or less familiar with the city of San Francisco. To give a rough idea of its size it will be noted that the distance from the Ferry Building to the Cliff House is about seven miles, and from Fort Mason to the southern city limits is about six miles. The burnt district is four miles from north to south, by two and a half from east to west.
On April 18, 1906, San Francisco may be considered to have had a population of 400,000 people. To subsist this number on the army ration would require about 1,600,000 lbs. of food daily. This means 800 tons or about forty car loads. This for food only. The supply of any great city is the result of many years of gradual evolution of trade conditions created by business experience, requirements, and conditions, changing to keep pace with the city's growth. The other conditions relating to the general welfare of humanity, such as municipal laws, health regulations, habitable dwellings, adequate water supply, proper sewer systems, are all the result of gradual and painstaking development and built upon many years of experience. The system is so gradual and so perfect that the results are taken as a matter of course, and the daily supply of everything that money will purchase is regarded to be as much of a certainty as that daylight will succeed the night.
This certainty existed in the minds of the people of San Francisco at 5 A.M., April 18. Fifteen minutes later the entire system was reduced to chaos. Daylight arrived but with it nothing but ruin. The population was in a few moments carried back to absolutely primitive conditions, no food, no shelter, and with the purchasing power of money eliminated. The millionaire was but little better off than the pauper. On the little Presidio dock, crowded with refugees, at the same time were seen Caruso, the multimillionaire Spreckels, other men of note and wealth, together with people without a dollar in the world, elbow to elbow, all facing the same condition and one no better off than the other. The army received but little injury in the great catastrophe. The army represented law and order, and it was to the army the people looked for leadership and assistance. General Funston at once ordered into the city all available troops. No martial law was proclaimed and none necessary. The troops were ordered to report to and assist the Chief of Police.
At 7:45 A.M., Companies C and D, Engineer Corps, arrived from Fort Mason and were reported to the Mayor and Chief of Police. They were directed by the former to guard the banking district and send patrols along Market street to prevent looting. At 8:00 A. M., the Presidio garrison, consisting of the 10th, 29th, 38th, '66th, 67th, 70th and 105th Companies of Coast Artillery; Troops I and K, 14th Cavalry; and the 1st, 9th and 24th Batteries of Field Artillery began to arrive. Details were sent to guard the mint and post-office, while the remainder assisted the police in keeping the dense crowds away from the dangerous buildings and patroling the streets to keep order and prevent looting. Most fortunately for San Francisco they had a live mayor, a man ready, tactful and resourceful. He at once ordered all saloons closed and kept them closed. The benefits of this order were far-reaching and assisted the army very greatly in keeping order.
The Headquarters and 1st Battalion 22d Infantry, were brought from Fort McDowell by boat, arriving at 10:00 A.M., and were held for a time in reserve at O'Farrell street. They were later utilized as patrols and as an assistance to the fire department. The Fort Miley troops, the 25th and 64th Companies Coast Artillery, had a longer march and did not arrive until 11:30 A.M.
Troops subsequently arrived in the city as follows: On April 19, Companies E and G, 22d Infantry, from Alcatraz Island; Companies K and M, 22d Infantry, from the depot of recruits and casuals, and the 32d, 61st and 68th Companies Coast Artillery, from Fort Baker;
April 21. Headquarters and two battalions 20th Infantry, from Presidio of Monterey;
April 22. Headquarters and ten companies 14th Infantry, from Vancouver Barracks;
April 23. The 17th and 18th Batteries Field Artillery from Vancouver Barracks.
These troops were all stationed in the Pacific Division and were ordered to San Francisco by the Division Commander. Troops arriving later by orders from the War Department will be enumerated later. It is believed the prompt appearance of the United States troops on the streets of the city was an object lesson to the minds of the evil-disposed, reminding them that the law of the land still existed with ready and powerful means at hand to enforce it, and was of incalculable moral and material benefit to the city.
On April 18 the Headquarters of the Pacific Division was located in what was known as the Grant Building on Market street, and Department Headquarters in the Phelan Building, O'Farrell and Market streets. Both buildings were destroyed by fire. General Funston moved into the Commanding General's quarters at Fort Mason, establishing both Division and Department Headquarters at that point, and the Signal Corps immediately began to stretch wires for telegraph communication to various points of importance in the city.
On the evening of the 18th, by agreement with the Mayor and Chief of Police, the city was divided into sections and all that part west of Van Ness avenue was assigned to the regular troops. The government forces, however, still assisted in fighting fire and particularly in the use of dynamite in advance of the fire line. All available explosives had been sent in from the Presidio on the 18th, consisting of 48 barrels of powder and 300 pounds of dynamite. Shortly afterwards a large amount of dynamite was procured from the California Powder Works. The water mains were broken in hundreds of places and there was no water to fight fire. The dynamite was very efficiently handled by the troops and the fire department, but its utility in a great fire unassisted by water has always been questioned. Many varying opinions were formed and expressed by people in a position to know, but the results were not conclusive. Personally I think it did no good, perhaps harm.
The fire had started in many places south of Market Street, and by noon on April 18 the Commissary Depot and the Quartermaster Depot with some 2,000,000 dollars worth of quartermaster stores was destroyed. The fire spread east and west and jumped Market street in several places. Class A buildings, heretofore known as fireproof, with steel shutters and metal window casings, built of steel, protected with reinforced concrete, absolutely modern and up-to-date, burned as fiercely as the older buildings. An example is shown in the St. Francis Hotel, which is damaged fully 50 per cent of its original cost, from which it may be safely concluded that although the shell of a building is non-combustible its utility requires that it be filled with furniture and combustible material, with the result that there is no such thing as a fireproof building. The fire extended in a mighty furnace over a frontage of three miles as shown. This is probably the best picture of the greatest fire ever known. On the afternoon of the 20th the fire had practically subsided. The final stand was made on Van Ness avenue about five blocks south from Fort Mason. Water was then pumped from the bay, and although the houses across this wide street caught fire several times, determined effort prevented its spreading west from this point. The fire also jumped south of this point the day previous, but was held as indicated. On the 21st a high wind from the west carried the fire from Russian Hill down towards the water front, still undamaged. It consumed the large lumber yards south of the barge office and swept eastward. Had the fire ever gotten into the line of docks the water communication of San Francisco would have been doomed. All the tugs in the harbor, including two fire patrol boats, one navy yard tug, the Army Transport Tug Slocum and Army Tug McDowell, probably twenty all told, combined near the foot of Lombard street, stretching hose up to meet the fire and pumping salt water with all available power. The wind blew a hurricane, but the tugs stuck to their work heroically, the tug Slocum being obliged to play a hose on her own deck-house to keep it from catching fire from the intense heat and falling cinders. By morning of the 23d, five days after the outbreak, the fire was under control and the great San Francisco conflagration had passed into history.
The system of camps adopted with attendant sanitation and rules for discipline and police is worth an independent article, and can only be briefly touched on in this lecture.
The gradual evolution of a completed camp system had kept pace from day to day with the growth of other relief work. As before stated, there were on hand at the Depot Quartermaster's storehouse for immediate issue some 3,000 tents (common), and 12,000 shelter tents. This canvas placed indiscriminately wherever ground was available initiated what grew into a very complete system of camps. By the prompt action of the War Department, tentage had been shipped by express from different depots in the United States and soon became available, there being finally issued some 25,000 tents, many of which were conical, and wall tents of large capacity. The tents when first obtained were placed on any vacant ground wherever space was immediately available, immediate shelter being the first requirement. Fortunately, San Francisco has many large and beautiful parks, among which Golden Gate park is one of the finest in the world. This available territory was looked over very carefully and a system of camps best adapted for supply, drainage, sewerage and sanitary arrangements was selected. A steam schooner loaded with a full cargo of lumber was found in the bay and taken possession of by the Depot Quartermaster and turned over to the Engineer Corps to begin a systematic construction of tent floors. Donated lumber poured in to such an extent afterwards that it was not necessary to make any further purchases. The transportation, however, of this lumber to the different outlying camps made quite a burden to the transportation facilities. As fast as camps were established the outlying and scattered tents in that vicinity were called in and placed systematically as a part of the camp. Each camp was known by number and each tent was known by number and such-and-such number of camp. An officer was placed in charge of each camp which, in fact, as far as administration was concerned, resembled a small military post. An army surgeon was also detailed to be in attendance and to be responsible for sanitation. It will be remembered that in these camps were all manner and class of people, some of whom knew absolutely nothing of the conditions of life under canvas. There were also many social differences and an occasional element of rowdyism and disregard of the rights of other people and the decencies of life that had to be suppressed. The administration required executive ability and discretion, and in nearly every instance the officers in charge proved themselves fully equal to the occasion.
On May 29, General Orders were issued, defining the camps, the total at that time being twenty-one, eighteen of which were in San Francisco and the other three in outlying cities. Lieutenant-Colonel R. K. Evans, 5th Infantry, was placed in charge of all the camps by the Commanding General, with Captain M. J. Lenihan, 25th Infantry, as his Quartermaster, and other officers were detailed as assistants. Colonel Evans was afterwards relieved by Major Joseph A. Gaston, 1st Cavalry. The sanitary arrangements varied in regard to the different conditions. Eighteen camps were variously scattered through Golden Gate Park, the Presidio Military Reservation, what is known as Harbor View Flat, Fort Mason Military Reservation, and the various other parts of the city. The system usually adopted was that of the Reed trough and odorless excavator. A large number of the Reed troughs and odorless excavators had been shipped by express to San Francisco. There were no restrictions placed on the inmates of these camps save those required by decency, order and cleanliness. If the occupants persistently refused to obey the rules to meet the above requirements they were obliged to forego the benefits of government canvas and relief stores.
A Red Cross agent was stationed at each camp who attended to the registration of all the occupants in connection with their proper supply of food, clothing, etc.
The climatic conditions in California aided materially in the prevention of epidemics. Every day a strong fresh wind sets in from the Pacific Ocean and blows easterly across the city and, while it is not cold enough under usual conditions to create a serious chill, it purifies the atmosphere and prevents disease.
Water was furnished in abundance not only for drinking, but for washing, bathing, and laundry service. The potable condition of the water supply of each camp was determined weekly by means of cultures developed in the General Hospital.
There were some cases of typhoid fever and some cases of smallpox, but nothing even approaching an epidemic obtained.
The officers and men showed great adaptability and patience in the care and administration of these camps, and in this connection, this lecture would be incomplete without a brief reference to the heroes of "Jones dump." About dark, April 21, I was stopped near the Presidio bakery by a tall, earnest-looking young soldier of the 22d Infantry, who was walking down the road with two wagons. He inquired where he could get some bread, said the bakery was closed and he must have some food. I asked what he meant and who wanted the food. He then told me that he and two other members of his company had become separated from their command and found themselves near the foot of Jones street, just out of the burnt district in the vicinity of what is called "Jones dump," being a general dumping ground for that part of the city. He said they found about 5,000 dagoes down there who looked to them as wearers of the United States uniform to do something for them.
With true American spirit they accepted the responsibility and took charge. They levied on some adjoining stores and warerooms, making systematic issues. They settled disputes and maintained order. Finally, having exhausted all the resources of his immediate locality he had started out with two wagons on a foraging expedition, and he said "Those people are hungry and I have simply got to get something for them." I took him to the Presidio dock and loaded up his wagons, and asked Colonel Febiger that night if he would not visit the foot of Jones street the next morning and see what was going on. He reported that the man's story was all true. The three privates were running 5,000 refugees, mostly foreign, and doing it very well, and their authority down there was unquestioned. These refugees were taken in the general organized plan later and the enlisted men returned to their commands. This is only a minor incident in a great field of work, but it shows a trait in the American soldier, an ability to take the initiative and do his own thinking, which may enter largely into the history of some great war in the future.
Our heartfelt thanks to Gladys Hansen and the Museum of the City of San Francisco,for allowing us to use their articles, photos and letters.
The Museum's hard work in researching and presenting the history of San Francisco can be viewed on their excellent website by clicking on the following logo:
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