Newspaper recollections of Maj. General
Henry W. Lawton's reception in Louisville, November, 1898
Wednesday, November 9, 1898, page 8:
Reception Tonight at
the Galt House
Reception to Gen.
will be Greeted
by a Great Crowd this Evening
The Reception to Gen.
H. W. Lawton at the Galt House to-night promises to be a very largely-attended
affair. All the members of the Commercial Club under whose auspices
the reception is to be given, have taken a great deal of interest in the
reception and will turn out in force.
Gen. Lawton arrived in
the city from Pewee Valley yesterday afternoon at 1 o'clock and went at once
to the residence of Mr. S. A. Culbertson whose guest he his. A dinner
was given him by Mr. Culbertson last night.
The reception at the
Galt House to-night will be from 8 to 10 o'clock. The club will send a
carriage bearing a committee to escort Gen. Lawton from Mr. Culbertson's
residence. Among those who will meet the distinguished soldier are the
city officials, the army officers who are now in Louisville, and the members
of the club. The Citizens generally are invited to meet him also.
Dinner guests honoring General Lawton at the Culbertson's on Nov. 8. included former Confederate General Basil W.
Duke, George M. Davie, Col. Andrew Cowan, Christy Churchill, John H. Caperton,
Attila Cox, Frederick D. Hussey, Lee Bloom, Oscar Fenley,
Charles T. Ballard, Allen P. Houston, Thruston Ballard, Norvin T. Harris,
St. John Boyle, J. W. Gaulbert, and Stuart R Knott. Several were
co-founders of Louisville's Filson
Club historical society, and at least five, including Samuel
Culbertson, were members of Louisville's ultra-elite Salmagundi
Club. Fenley was president of the National Bank of Louisville.
Louisvillians may recognize some of the other prominent family names.)
Thursday, November 10, 1898, page 8:
With the Famous Hero
of El Caney
RECEPTION TO GEN.
GEN. SANGER AND HIS
DOWN FROM LEXINGTON
Crowd at the Galt House
Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton went
through a two-hours campaign of hand shaking at the Galt House last night
and came out with quite as much glory as he carried with him from the fight
at el Caney. It will do him no harm to tell him that the commonest
remark made at the reception last night was: "He looks like a fighter,
The Commercial Club under whose
auspices the reception was given had the parlors of the Galt House
handsomely decorated with the national colors in rosettes, festoons,
streamers and draperies. At the head of the room was the picture of
General Miles. At the other end of the room was that of Admiral
Dewey. On the right were pictures of Shafter and Lee and on the left
Schley and Sampson.
General Lawton, accompanied by
A. Culbertson, his brother-in-law, reached the Galt House at 8 o'clock and
was met by the reception Committee of which the following were members:
|Mayor Chas. P.
R. W. Brown
Hon. Oscar Turner
Hon. Walter Evans
C.C. Mengel, Jr.
Hon E. J. McDermott
Wm. A. Robinson
E. H. Bacon
R. W. Knott
J. J. Saunders
Dogan C. Murray
W. R. Lucas
|W. L. Lyons
Thos. G Watkins
A. N. Struck
Logan R. Whitney
W. W. Watts
Sam P. Jones
Chas. C. Carter
J. C. VanPelt
W. R. Belknap
Col. C. R. Barnett
Capt. G. A. Zinn
Capt E. R. Webster
Col. Attila Cox
General Lawton also found a distinguished
company of army officers to greet him. They were Gen. Sanger,
commanding the second corps of the First division, with his staff consisting
of the following officers: Maj. H. L. Scott, Adjutant General; Maj. H.
J. Slocum, Inspector General; Maj. Thomas Cruse, Chief Quartermaster;
Maj. Philip Mothersell, Chief Commissary; Maj. W. J. Nicholson, Chief
Ordinance Officer; and Capt. J. R. M. Peabody, Aide-de-camp. Besides
these officials the following, all from Lexington, greeted him: Lieut.
Desha Breckinridge; Col. Leonard, Twelfth New York; Col. Banks Third
Mississippi; Lieut. Col. Potter, Twelfth New York; Capt. Henry T. Allen,
Assistant Adjutant General and Military Attaché at Berlin, temporarily
detached; Maj. P. P. Johnston, Col. Roger Williams, Lieut. W. T. Johnston,
and Lieut. H. S. Whipple. This party came from Lexington on a special
train furnished by the Louisville and Nashville railroad, and arrived at
7:15 last evening.
Gen. Lawton stood at the head of the room
with President Bacon of the Commercial Club, and a 8 o'clock his handshaking
campaign began. He met Gen. Sanger and all of his staff, many of whom
he knew. Then the Reception Committee began mixing with the crowd in
the halls and parlors, to see that all were presented to the hero of El
About 8:30 o'clock Chief of Police Haager
and Maj. Gunther and Capts. Bright, Krakel, Burke, Hendricks, Jacobs, and
Maher, resplendent in uniforms which vied with the uniforms of the soldiers,
were presented to Gen. Lawton. The officers of the police department
made a splendid showing.
The meeting between Gen. Lawton and Gen.
Basil Duke was an interesting one. When Gen. Lawton had a few minutes
during which he was not shaking hands, Gen. Duke and he exchanged
"You were with Gen. Kirby Smith, I believe,
when he and Gen. Beuell were maneuvering about Frankfort," remarked
"That was when the pot was kept boiling pretty
lively," said Gen. Duke with a smile.
"I've often wondered how it was that the two
armies were kept together so long and never had an engagement," said
Gen. Lawton. "I don't see how they kept from mixing it up."
"The two armies were shuffled like a deck of
cards, but they never got into action for some reason," said General
Duke, and then Gen. Lawton had another affirmation with the army of
During the engagement referred to, Gen. Duke
was with Morgan's brigade and Gen. Lawton was a Captain in the Thirteenth
The Reception Committee had also provided
several generously filled punch bowls of ample size, which the guests of the
club were free to visit as often as they wished. As the hour for
reception to close drew near, one of the members of the Reception Committee
asked Gen. Lawton if he would visit the bowl. "I never
indulge," answered the General with a smile.
The fact that the reception was exclusively
a stag affair did not keep all the ladies away. About a half dozen
relatives of Gen. Lawton and their friends were at the hotel, but they
remained in the corridor while the reception was going on.
One of the most pleasant features of the
evening was a little dinner given to Gen. Lawton and Gen. Sanger and staff
by the Reception Committee, and the officers and directors of the
club. The table was tastefully decorated. Selbert's Band furnished the
music, being concealed in a cleverly arranged retreat mad of palms and
The banqueters were seated so that a
civilian would sit between two soldiers. President Bacon presided with
Gen. Lawton at his right and Gen. Sanger at his left. Mr. R. W. Brown
spoke on behalf of the city, saying how happy the city was to entertain such
distinguished representatives of the army, and extended a corkscrew instead
of a key to the guests.
Gen Lawton responded in perhaps a score of
words. He said simply that he was happy to meet such cordial friends and to
represent 5000 of as brave men as ever went to fight.
Mr. Clarence Dallem made a catchy speech for
Lieut. Breckinridge responded to the
regulars and paid them all high tribute, saying he hoped they would be
better understood hereafter, and that they would be better treated by the
Gen. Sanger spoke at length, paying a high
tribute to the record Gen. Lawton made in the civil war and his glory in the
Mr. T. G. Watkins spoke of the soldier,
referring to the meager pay he received, but said that glory was his pay
Col. Parker, a regular army officer, tossed
bouquets to the volunteers and Col. Leonard Wood did the same thing for the
Maj. P. P. Johnson, of Lexington, spoke
highly of the manner in which the soldiers had conducted themselves while in
The Louisville Times,
Thursday, November 10, 1898:
Maj. Gen. Lawton
Lacking in Sentiment,
Warrior of Blood and
Romps with the
Reception in His
Honor at the Galt
House a Pleasant Occasion
Grim, grizzled, weather beaten,
courage that would overleap the demands of duty, fixed determination,
honesty --- these are the characteristcis of Maj. Gen. H. W. Lawton, the
Hero of El Caney.
Most people who attended the
reception at the Galt House last evening, given in his honor, saw but one
side of the man. To most of those who received from him a cordial
hand-grasp he appeared as a dignified warrior without frills or
flounces. And so he is, but there is another side to his
character. A Times reporter who spent more than an hour and a
half with him yesterday afternoon, ascertained this when one of his young
nephews came bounding into the room and exclaimed, "Why, where's Uncle
Henry?" "Uncle Henry" had just vanished. He had
gone to join a group of little fellows upstairs and help entertain
them. The nephew had missed him. Soon the youngsters above were
laughing right merrily, and over and over and again one might hear the
Perhaps there were few people
at the Galt House, save soldiers, who could guess half the hardships endured
by the hero of the hour. They did not know, As Capt. R. G. Meadows,
Gen. Lawton's <civilian?> aide-de-camp does, that the stern old
soldier slept on the underbrush of the hills that inclose (sic) Santiago,
covered only with his rubber blanket to keep off the rain, or, when not
raining, placing it beneath him to guard against the dampness. Yet
night after night this happened, "I was curious," said Capt.
Mendosa, "to see how an American General would go into camp. The
underbrush on all sides was so matted and dense that a rabbit could
scarcely find an opening. The country was new to the soldiers.
Yet when I saw Gen. Lawton roll up in his blanket and fall asleep, I knew
that I was working with a typical soldier --- a General who understood the
exigencies of the case."
As for the reception, Gen.
Lawton found there a distinguished company to welcome him in true Kentucky
style. It was a hearty, unmistakable welcome, and the General seemed
to regard it as such. But for all that, the writer could not help
saying to himself that the General seemed a trifle bored at times, that he
would rather have been back at the nursery at the Culbertson's, playing with
the boys. But he wasn't, so he just made the best of things and
received the honors showered upon him with modest dignity. "I am
not much of a talker." said he in response to a question of the writer
earlier in the day. "War never had its amusing phases to
me. It has always been grim business. As for its pathetic
incidents, I saw few of them during the Santiago campaign, being at the
front most of the time, and the wounded being taken to the hospital in the
rear. To me, the movements of the army before Santiago were as the
movements of the different pieces of mechanism of a great machine working
together to one common end."
Lawton, in company with Mr.
Culbertson, his brother in law, arrived at the Galt House promptly at 8
o'clock and was met by the following reception committee: (continues)
(The Times reporter
who interviewed General Lawton in the article above returns to the memories of
the interview at the Culbertson residence over a year later, on the day General
Lawton was slain):
The Louisville Times, December
19, 1899, evening:
A Reporter Remembers
Those who knew General Lawton
could not fail to be impressed witht he soldierly bearing of the man.
One instinctively felt that he was a man among men. A reporter for the
Times had the pleasure of an hour's interview with him at the
Culbertson residence when he last visited this city. Gen. Lawton came
into the parlor dressed in a plain dark suit of clothes. He wore boots
and there were no creases in his trousers. He had none of the dress
parade airs affected by some army officers. He modestly asked to be
excused from talking of his part in the Cuban campaign or anything relating
to himself whatever. Then suddenly his strong weather-beaten face lit
up with a heavy smile and he remarked that he would get his wife to do the
talking; that women knew more about how to do that sort of thing than
men. In response to his request, Mrs. Lawton came into the parlor and
gave the reporter the information he was in quest of at that time.
Later the General returned bringing with him certain curious documents,
written in Spanish, with the English translation attached, all of them
relating to the surrender of Santiago in which he played such an important
One could not talk ten minutes
with General Lawton without being forcibly impressed with his sincerity and
sterling qualities, and the fact that his soldiers worshiped him speaks
Lawton Links on our sites
Topics on General Lawton
The General Lawton
Photo & Sketch Album:
Lawton, "Uncle Henry" to the Two Little Knights of Kentucky
Lawton's Reception in Louisville, 1898
Death of General Lawton Dec 19, 1899 -
(includes a longer biography)
W. Lawton, Forgotten Warrior
The site above promises to soon be the most comprehensive site on General
Lawton on the net
Surrender - Skeleton Canyon, 1886
the Spanish American War
on San Juan Hill
Battles of San Juan Hill and El Caney
Campaigns - Philippine Insurrection
American POW in the Philippines
General Lawton's Casket.
Cemetary web site, more biography and grave site photo
of Licerio Geronimo
www.archive.org (if links are dead, you may
find them archived here)