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Great Fires: 1906 Great Earthquake & Fire

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Appendix A.
Earthquake in California, April 18, 1906
Special Report of Maj. Gen. Adolphus W. Greely, U. S. A., Commanding the Pacific Division

San Francisco, Cal., July 30, 1906.

SIR: In accordance with the instructions of the Hon. William H. Taft, Secretary of War, under date of June 29, 1906, I have the honor to submit herewith a comprehensive report of the services of the United States Army in connection with the recent earthquake and conflagration in the city of San Francisco, Cal., and the relief measures rendered necessary by these disasters.

I had left the Division of the Pacific on April 16 for a short leave, and learned of the occurrence of the earthquake and the beginning of the fire while passing through Omaha. From that city I telegraphed General Funston, expressing my confidence that, under him, the army would afford the necessary aid and assistance. Necessarily I was obliged to proceed to Chicago, where my baggage had preceded me. On my arrival in that city the magnitude of the disaster was so evident that I returned direct to San Francisco on the fastest train—the Overland Limited—and reached here on April 22.

The report of operations of Brigadier-General Funston, who was temporarily in command during my absence, from April 18 to 22, follows in full:

I have the honor to make the following report of the work of the troops in connection with the recent earthquake and conflagration in the city of San Francisco, from the morning of the 18th of April, 1906, until the return of the division commander on the 22d of the same month:

I was living at 1310 Washington street, near Jones, and was awakened by the earthquake shock at 5.16 a. m. of April 18. Realizing from the intensity and duration of the shock that serious damage to the city, with attendant loss of life, must have occurred, I dressed, and, finding that the street cars were not running, hastened on foot to the business part of the city. My route was down Jones street to California and along that street to Sansome. That portion of California street between Jones and Powell being one of the most elevated in the city. I had noticed that columns of smoke were arising in various localities, particularly in the region south of Market street. Reaching Sansome I saw that several fires were already burning fiercely in the banking district and that the firemen who were on the scene were quite helpless owing to lack of water. This, in connection with the number of fires I had seen from the higher part of California street, convinced me that a most serious conflagration was at hand, and that, owing to the great extent of the area in which fires had already appeared, the police force of the city would be totally inadequate to maintain order and prevent looting and establish and hold the proper fire lines in order that the fire department might not be hampered in its work. By this time the streets were full of people, somewhat alarmed but by no means panic stricken. Encountering a patrolman, I inquired of him how I could most quickly communicate with the Mayor or Chief of Police, and was informed that the entire telephone system was paralyzed, but that he felt sure that both of those officials

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would immediately repair to the Hall of Justice on Portsmouth Square, which surmise proved correct. I requested this man to hasten to the Hall of Justice and leave word for the Chief of Police that I would at once order out all available troops and place them at his disposal. There being no means of transportation available and quick action being imperative, I then ran from the corner of Sansome and California streets to the quartermaster's stable, on Pine street, between Leavenworth and Hyde, a distance of slightly more than a mile, directed my carriage driver to saddle a horse, and, while he was doing so, hastily wrote on a leaf from a notebook a brief note addressed to the commanding officer, Presidio, directing him to turn out the entire garrison and report for duty to the Chief of Police at the Hall of Justice. The man was directed to stop at Fort Mason on his way to the Presidio and give a verbal message to the same effect to the commanding officer of that post. From here I proceeded on foot to the headquarters of the Department of California, Phelan Building, at the corner of Market street and Grant avenue, a distance of about a mile. Here I found several officers of the staffs of the Pacific Division and the Department of California, as well as a number of clerks and messengers who had already, under the direction of the chief clerk, Mr. A. R. Holzheid, engaged in getting the more important records in shape for removal from the building, if necessary. At about 7.45 a. m. arrived the first troops from Fort Mason, Companies C and D, of the Engineers, Capt. M. L. Walker commanding. These troops had already been reported to the Mayor and the Chief of Police, and had been directed by the former to guard the banking district and send patrols along Market street to prevent looting. The arrival of these troops was greeted with demonstrations of approval by the many people on the streets. At about 8 a. m. the garrison from the Presidio, 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 Field Batteries, Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps, commanding, began to arrive. Detachments were sent to guard the mint and post-office, while the remainder assisted the police in keeping the dense crowds of onlookers away from close proximity to the fire and in patrolling the streets to prevent the people from breaking into stores and saloons. Most fortunately the latter had already been ordered closed by the Mayor, so that one source of danger had been removed.

Shortly after arriving at department headquarters, I had sent the chief signal officer of the department, Capt. L. D. Wildman, to get into communication with the commanding officer at Fort Miley, and order the troops from that post into the city. Captain Wildman hastened to the Presidio in an automobile, and finding the telephone line from that post to Fort Miley in working order, delivered my orders to Maj. C. H. Hunter, the commanding officer at Fort Miley. The troops from that post, the 25th and 64th Companies of Coast Artillery, had a march of about 5 miles, but reached the Phelan Building at 11.30 a. m. A detachment of the 25th Company proceeded to the United States mint for guard duty, the balance of the company marching to Ingleside to guard the county jail. The 64th Company assisted in patrolling the streets. Captain Wildman also delivered to the master of the quartermaster steamer McDowell a written order from me to Col. Alfred Reynolds, 22d Infantry, commanding at Fort McDowell, to embark his command on the McDowell, land at the foot of Market street, march to the Phelan Building, and report to me for duty. These troops, consisting of headquarters and 1st Battalion, 22d Infantry, arrived at 10 a. m. For a short time they were held in reserve on O'Farrell street, but later were utilized in patrolling the business district of the city and in assisting the firemen in handling fire hose. Company D was detailed to guard the appraisers' building. I have no doubt, and have heard the same opinion expressed by scores of citizens, that had it not been for the prompt arrival of this large force of regular troops, who were acting under orders to shoot all looters, the saloons would have been broken into and then, the crowd, becoming turbulent, would have begun sacking the banks and jewelry stores. The city police, however brave and efficient, would have been totally unable, from mere lack of numbers, to have dealt with such a situation.

By 9 a. m. the various fires were merging into one great conflagration, and were approaching the Palace Hotel, Grand Hotel, Call Building, Emporium, and other large buildings from the south. Before this time the task of removing from the Phelan Building the records of the Department of California and from the Grant Building the records of the Pacific Division had been begun, and was carried on under great difficulties, owing to the fact that the elevators in these

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buildings were not in operation. There was practically no wind in the forenoon, but in the afternoon there was a light westerly breeze, so that the fire had to work its way to windward, causing it to advance very slowly. This, unfortunately, gave people hope that the business portion of the city would not be entirely destroyed. Apparently for this reason no energetic efforts were made by citizens to remove much of the valuable property which might have been saved.

Early in the morning, shortly after it was seen that a serious conflagration was at hand, the acting chief of the fire department had sent a message to the Presidio, requesting that all available explosives, with a detail to handle them, be sent to check the fire, as the earthquake had broken the water mains and the fire department was practically helpless. The commanding officer of the Presidio ordered Capt. Le Vert Coleman, post ordnance officer, to provide the necessary explosives. Under these instructions 48 barrels of powder in field battery caissons were sent to the Mayor under charge of First Lieut. Raymond W. Briggs, Artillery Corps. As the caissons were not suited to carrying large amounts of explosives, two large wagons were procured and in them was loaded the remaining powder, with about 300 pounds of dynamite procured from the civilian employees of the Engineer Department. Captain Coleman at once proceeded to the Hall of Justice and reported to the mayor. Shortly afterwards a large amount of dynamite was obtained from the California Powder Works, and Captain Coleman and Lieutenant Briggs, acting under directions from the Mayor and the acting chief of the fire department, engaged in the destruction of buildings. While many of the older and more fragile buildings could be destroyed by high explosives, it was found that the modern steel-and-concrete buildings were practically impervious to anything except enormous charges. In addition to the dynamite used Captain Coleman used a small quantity of gun cotton, which had been brought down from Mare Island.

The troops continued during the day to assist the police and fire department in every possible manner. The work done by them was effective in keeping the most perfect order and in clearing the streets in the vicinity of the fire of the idle onlookers and anxious citizens, who seemed too dazed to act intelligently in their efforts to save their own property. As soon as it was possible I sent to the War Department a telegram, stating that the troops had been turned out to assist in fighting the fire, aiding the police, and saving property. In fact, that everything would be done to render assistance, and that I would trust to the War Department to authorize any action I might have to take.

About 10 a. m. the commissary depot was destroyed, and I wired an estimate of the extent of the disaster. I considered it necessary to make an estimate of the number who would be rendered homeless by the fire in case the conflagration could be checked within reasonable bounds. I asked, therefore, for tents and rations for 30,000 people. As the fire progressed, however, it became evident that not 30,000, but probably more than 100,000, people would be homeless before midnight. Telegraphic request was therefore made that all available tents and rations be forwarded as soon as possible. This step was considered necessary, as it seemed then that all supply warehouses, not only for food but for bedding and shelter, would inevitably be destroyed without the hope of saving even a small percentage of their contents. A fact which made the saving of property most difficult was that no wagons of any kind appeared to be in the vicinity of the fire to carry away any goods that it might have been possible to save.

By the morning of the 19th the fire had destroyed the main portion of the wholesale and retail section of the city, and was actively burning on a line from about the corner of Montgomery avenue and Montgomery street southwest on an irregular line to Van Ness avenue at Golden Gate avenue. To the south of this it had crossed Van Ness avenue and had worked its way up Market street to about Valencia street. That part of the fire line from Golden Gate and Van Ness avenues northeast to the bay at about the foot of Broadway was most actively eating its way against a slight wind into the residence section on Russian Hill. The progress of the fire was very slow. It averaged not more than one block in two hours. At that time I could get no definite reports from the fire on the south side of the city, or what is known as the Potrero; but from the fact that the fire had gone up Market street so far, it appeared evident that all the south part of the city would be destroyed.

On the evening of the 18th, by agreement with the Mayor and Chief of Police, the city had been divided into sections, and all that part west of Van Ness avenue

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was assigned to the regular troops, with Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps, in command. The remainder of the regular troops were kept in the vicinity of the advancing fire line, and assisted during the night both the police and fire department in keeping order and in fighting the fire. The troops apparently forgot for the while that they had now been on duty from 7 a. m. on the 18th for more than twenty-four hours, without rest or shelter and with but very light cold rations. They seemed as actively energetic and wide awake as when they were first called out.

Several attempts had been made to get into telegraphic communication with the commanding officer of the Presidio of Monterey, in order to bring to the city a portion of the command of that post. Owing to the telegraph lines being down it was, however, impossible to communicate with any place south of San Francisco. On the 19th the Pacific Squadron had reached San Francisco Bay, and, at my request, Admiral C. F. Goodrich, commanding, sent a torpedo boat to the Presidio of Monterey, carrying the necessary message to the commanding officer of that post. These orders were delivered with great dispatch and with the result that on the 21st headquarters, 1st and 3d Battalions of the 20th Infantry, Col. Marion P. Maus, commanding, reached San Francisco and reported for duty, being followed the next day by field and staff and the 2d Squadron, 14th Cavalry. Companies E and G, 22d Infantry, were brought to the city from Alcatraz Island on the 19th, and remained on duty from that date, and on the same day the 32d, 61st, and 68th Companies of Coast Artillery, under the command of Col. R. H. Patterson, arrived from Fort Baker, and also on the same day Companies K and M, 22d Infantry, from the depot of recruits and casuals, on Angel Island, reported and were assigned to duty. On this day telegraphic orders were sent to the commanding officer of Vancouver Barracks to proceed to this city with the entire garrison of that post.

On the morning of this day I considered it advisable to establish at some convenient point both division and department headquarters. It was therefore decided to utilize the only Government building in the vicinity of the fire available for such purpose, this being the quarters of the permanent division commander at the post of Fort Mason, where I established my headquarters, using both the division and department staffs, without, for the time being, making any attempt to segregate the duties belonging to each.

Anxious inquiries were made as to the extent of the injuries to the water system. No water appearing in any of the pipes in the vicinity of Fort Mason or, in fact, any part of the city covered by the troops, it appeared for the time that a water famine was inevitable. Steps were at once taken to have an examination made of all the available sources of water supply outside the regular Spring Valley supply, and it was found that there was an independent water supply in Golden Gate Park, where were also lakes of fresh water of considerable size. The Lobos Creek water supply was well understood, as it had been carefully considered previously with a view to utilizing it for the new water system of the Presidio reservation. I learned unofficially on the afternoon of the 18th that the Spring Valley Water Company was most energetically repairing its great water mains and that they hoped in a day or two to bring within the city a small amount of water through their regular mains. I was glad to learn on the 20th that my unofficial report was confirmed by the statement of Mr. Schussler, chief engineer of the Spring Valley Water Company, to the effect that he hoped to be able to deliver in the city the next day 10,000,000 gallons of water and thereafter probably that amount each day until, finally, the system would be completely restored. It was most fortunate indeed that this gentleman was in the city, as he had planned and supervised the construction of all the larger mains and was able to locate them from memory alone, as all the charts had been destroyed in the conflagration. It was from his intimate knowledge, also, that he was able to send mechanics immediately to the various streets from which branch the side lines into the burned district, and thus stop the waste of water, which must inevitably have resulted had these pipes not been closed.

By the night of the 19th about 250,000 people or more must have been encamped or sleeping out in the open in the various military reservations, parks, and open spaces of the city.

The Pacific Squadron having arrived on the 19th, Admiral C. F. Goodrich, commanding, sent ashore an officer and offered to land a force to assist in the work being done by the troops. The offer was most gladly accepted; but, as

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the men could not be utilized to advantage at that particular time, it was requested that they be landed at Fort Mason early on the morning of the 20th, which was done, a force of about 100 officers and men being sent ashore, under Commander Charles J. Badger, United States Navy. This force was most useful in many ways, and was utilized for the first few days as guard and patrols and in assisting in the fight against the conflagration. They were especially useful in demolishing outbuildings and fences at Fort Mason when that post seemed in danger. The important work done by the Navy and the United States Revenue Marine Service in fighting the fire along the water front does not properly form a part of this report, as it was not done under my direction and control.

Admiral B. H. McCalla, commanding the Mare Island Navy Yard, had dispatched to the city, on the 18th, a body of marines under Lieutenant-Colonel Karmany, United States Marine Corps. This force had rendered excellent service independently on that day and the succeeding night in patrolling the city, and on the 19th, when I established my headquarters at Fort Mason, reported to me for duty and was utilized in the same manner as the troops and blue jackets.

On the night of the 19th, when the fire reached Van Ness avenue, Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps, in command of the troops in that portion of the city, authorized Capt. Le Vert Coleman, Artillery Corps, in direct charge of the detachment engaged in the destruction of buildings, to destroy a number of buildings far enough ahead of the fire to make a clearing along Broadway, Franklin, and Gough streets, which space the fire was unable to bridge, and in this manner was stopped after it had crossed Van Ness avenue and the fire department seemed powerless. It is my opinion that if it had not been for the work done at this place the entire Western Addition of the city would have been destroyed.

By the morning of the 20th the Western Addition, as that part of the city lying west of Van Ness avenue is called, was considered safe, except from the danger arising from a very threatening conflagration working along the slopes of Russian Hill toward that part of Van Ness avenue lying north of Broadway. All day of the 20th an heroic fight was made by the soldiers, sailors, firemen, and citizens to stop this fire, which had a frontage of about half a mile, and was working its way slowly against the wind. A number of buildings were destroyed here by high explosives, and back firing was resorted to. The fight at this place was greatly aided by water pumped from the bay at Fort Mason. For a time grave fears were felt for the safety of the post itself, and I directed that fences and a number of outbuildings be torn down and that men be stationed on the roofs of buildings. The flames, however, did not reach Fort Mason, and by the most tremendous exertions were prevented from crossing Van Ness avenue between that post and the point where it had once crossed and been fought out.

By the morning of the 21st the Western Addition was considered safe, and the advancing flames south from the Mission district had been stayed; but a rising wind caused the fire to turn northeastward from Russian Hill and destroy a portion of the city along the bay shore that had hitherto been spared.

The National Guard had been called into service and had acted independently so far, with the result that regular troops, militia, and police were scattered indiscriminately over the city. In order to avoid further confusion and possible conflict of authority on this score a conference was held between Mayor Schmitz, Brigadier-General Koster, commanding the National Guard of California, Chief of Police Dinan, and myself, on the 21st, at Fort Mason, in which it was agreed that the city, for the time being, would be divided into districts, one each under the control of the Federal troops, including naval contingent, the National Guard, and the municipal police.

Under this arrangement the territory controlled by the troops under my command was as follows: All of Golden Gate Park, all of the territory north and east of Golden Gate Park along H street to Stanyan, along Stanyan to Oak, along Oak to Fillmore, along Fillmore to Bush, along Bush to Powell, down Powell to Market, along Market to First, along First to the bay, to include the Pacific Mail dock. This included probably more than half the population of San Francisco, also all the banking and commercial houses, containing vaults with stores of great value. The post-office, outside of this district, was also under charge of Federal troops.

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This territory was in turn divided into six districts by General Orders, No. 12, Pacific Division, from which I quote as follows:
San Francisco, Cal., April 22, 1906.

1. The regular troops, including the United States Marine Corps, on duty in the city of San Francisco, will control all of Golden Gate Park, all of the territory north and east of Golden Gate Park along H street to Stanyan, along Stanyan to Oak, along Oak to Fillmore, along Fillmore to Bush, along Bush to Powell, down Powell to Market, along Market to First, along First to include the Pacific Mail dock.
2. This territory is divided into six districts and troops assigned with location of district headquarters as follows:

To include all ground north of Golden Gate Park between the beach and Devisadero street, including the Presidio reservation, but not including Fort Miley.
Headquarters, at the Presidio, San Francisco, Cal.
Commanding officer, Col. Charles Morris, Artillery Corps.
Personnel of command, all Coast and Field Artillery on duty in the city of San Francisco and at the Presidio, San Francisco, Cal.

To include all ground north of Union street, between Devisadero and Hyde streets, including also all of Fort Mason reservation except the post proper.
Headquarters, at Fort Mason, Cal.
Commanding officer, Colonel Reynolds, 22d Infantry.
Personnel of command, all that part of the 22d Infantry now on duty in the city of San Francisco.

To include all ground bounded as follows: Hyde, from the bay south to Bush street, thence on Bush street east to Powell, thence on Powell south to Market, thence on Market northeast to First, thence on First southeast to water front, thence along water front to foot of Hyde street, not including wharves.
Headquarters, at Portsmouth Square.
Commanding officer, Col. Marion P. Maus, 20th Infantry.
Personnel of command, six companies of the 20th Infantry.

To include all ground bounded by streets as follows: Beginning at the corner of Devisadero and Union streets, south on Devisadero to Oak, east on Oak to Fillmore, north on Fillmore to Bush, east on Bush to Hyde, north on Hyde to Union, west on Union to Devisadero.
Headquarters, at No. 2040 Broadway.
Commanding officer, Lieut. Col. Lincoln Karmany, United States Marine Corps.
Personnel of command, all of the United States Marine Corps on duty in San Francisco.

All of Golden Gate Park.
Headquarters, at the Park lodge.
Commanding officer, Maj. G. W. McIver, 4th Infantry.
Personnel of command, two companies of the 20th Infantry and one troop of the 14th Cavalry.

To include the wharves between Fort Mason wharf and the Pacific Mail dock, both inclusive, in charge of the Navy.
Headquarters, at Fort Mason reservation.
Commanding officer, H. C. Benson, major, 14th Cavalry.
Personnel of command, two troops of the 14th Cavalry.

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On the 22d the headquarters, field, staff, and band, and ten companies of the 14th Infantry arrived from Vancouver Barracks, being followed the next day by the 17th and 18th Batteries of Field Artillery from the same post.

The division commander, Maj. Gen. A. W. Greely, having returned to the city on the evening of the 22d, I relinquished command of the Pacific Division, which command I had exercised simultaneously with that of the Department of California, and from that time exercised command of the department alone.

During the five days following the earthquake no attempt had been made to separate the staffs of the two commands, and the officers and clerical force of both the department and division were used in any way that the interests of the service required.

Of the division staff all were present, as follows: Col. Stephen P. Jocelyn and Capt. W. G. Haan, General Staff; Maj. S. W. Dunning, Military Secretary's Department, military secretary; Lieut. Col. John A. Lundeen, Inspector-General's Department, inspector-general, and Maj. Charles H. McKinstry, Corps of Engineers, chief engineer; also Capt. Frank L. Winn, 12th Infantry, aide-decamp to the division commander.

Of the department staff, the military secretary, Col. W. A. Simpson; the chief quartermaster, Col. John L. Clem, and the chief commissary, Col. E. E. Dravo, happened to be absent on leave, but immediately hastened to San Francisco. In the interim the duties of chief quartermaster were most energetically and efficiently performed by his assistant, Capt. W. C. Wren, Quartermaster's Department, and those of the chief commissary by Maj. C. R. Krauthoff, acting chief commissary of the department. Until the arrival of the recently assigned chief surgeon of the department, Col. C. L. Heizmann, his duties were performed by the acting chief surgeon, Lieut. Col. George H. Torney. One of my aides-de-camp, Lieut. B. J. Mitchell, 12th Infantry, was returning from detached service at the time of the beginning of the conflagration, but reached the city on the 20th. In addition to the officers named, those on duty at department headquarters were the judge-advocate, Lieut. Col. G. M. Dunn; the chief paymaster, Lieut. Col. W. H. Comegys; Capts. Francis G. Irwin, Charles G. Dwyer, and John R. Lynch, paymasters; the chief signal officer, Capt. L. D. Wildman; Capt. L. B. Simonds, assistant to the chief commissary, and my aide-de-camp, First Lieut. E. C. Long, Artillery Corps.

Col. Sedgwick Pratt, Artillery Corps, and Lieut. Col. John P. Wisser, Artillery Corps, under orders for change of station, and Maj. George W. McIver, 4th Infantry, on leave, reported for duty and were assigned, the two former to division headquarters and the last named in command of the refugee camps in Golden Gate Park. Maj. C. A. Devol, Quartermaster's Department, depot quartermaster, though not under my orders, rendered every possible assistance.

Without exception the officers of the division and department staffs performed their duties so conscientiously and energetically that it is a difficult, if not impossible, matter to make distinctions in bestowing praise upon them. I do feel, however, that special mention should be made of the proficiency and ability shown by Capt. L. D. Wildman, Signal Corps, chief signal officer, in establishing and maintaining telegraph and telephone communication under the almost impossible conditions existing during the conflagration and immediately afterwards.

General Funston's story of endeavor and accomplishment affords added testimony to the resourcefulness and the patriotism of American soldiers. With their usual spirit at the call of duty, they applied themselves with desperate and persistent energy to the preservation of the buildings and property not only of the United States, but also of the entire community. Without regular food or rest, they labored continuously from twenty-four to forty-eight hours, and some, General Funston included, were without sleep for a longer period. Wherever aid was needed, whether with the hose or ax, with dynamite or powder, to save records or remove personal property, to help the infirm or care for the sick, these men were always striving, no matter how adverse the conditions of danger or how arduous the labor.

As I have already officially stated, the terrible days of earthquake and fire in San Francisco were almost absolutely free from disorder,

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drunkenness, and crime. The orderly and law-abiding spirit of the people as a whole rendered the maintenance of public peace a comparatively easy task. Having in view the extent of ruin, the devastation of property, and the desperate condition of the vast numbers of hungry and homeless, there might reasonably have been expected many casualties from violence and disorder. It is my firm conviction that the orderly march of events during the three frightful days was the outcome of free popular government, which develops self-respect, self-dependence, and like virile qualities. The great area of territory over which operations were conducted frequently necessitated independent action on the part of junior officers, occasionally of noncommissioned officers, and even of privates. It is a matter of pride and satisfaction that, almost without exception, the army performed its duties with discretion, efficiency, and loyalty. Every alleged neglect of duty or breach of discipline—less than a dozen in number—was investigated by an inspector from these headquarters, the witnesses examined under oath, and the cases made the subject of discipline. In short, the conduct of the Regular Army in all grades elicited, with justice, the highest praise from all sources.

It should be borne in mind that five separate bodies were maintaining order in San Francisco—the municipal police, the National Guard of the State of California, the United States Navy, citizens' committees, and the Regular Army. These five organizations, all being armed, acted independently under desperate conditions of fire and earthquake where a quarter of a million of people were fleeing for life, seeking shelter, or striving to save their property. Such unprecedented conditions might well have caused casualties by the scores.

It bears testimony to the judgment and forbearance of the personnel enforcing order and to the sensible, law-abiding qualities of the people of San Francisco that during such prolonged and desperate condition of affairs there should have been but 9 deaths by violence. All killed were men, and 4 of the cases have been the subject of investigations under the civil law. Of these 9 victims, 2 were killed by members of the National Guard of California, 1 was shot by members of a so-called citizens' vigilance committee, 1 by a police officer for looting, and 1 through the combined action of a special police officer and a marine. The remaining 4 deaths of unknown parties occurred at places not occupied by the Regular Army. No complaint has reached these headquarters that, among the tens of thousands of persons whom it became the duty of the soldiers of the Regular Establishment to restrict in personal movements during the progress of the fire, any person was violently treated or seriously injured.

The respect of the army for the rights of private property was practically as marked as that regarding the sacredness of human life. There were only three or four occasions reported in which soldiers participated even in the appropriation of liquors, and these cases have been sent before military courts. Impressments of property were made in a few instances, such as transportation, especially automobiles, during the fire and immediately after of food where urgently needed for the hungry and exhausted.

As regards the destruction of liquor, proceedings were taken under the authority of the Mayor of San Francisco. Upon application

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from the commanding officer of a district, General Funston sanctioned the promulgation of an order for the destruction of liquor, believing, as he informed me, that the case in point referred to open saloons or to liquor in the hands of persons in the streets. In nearly every instance proceedings under this order were conducted without violence and at places where saloons were selling liquor openly. Unfortunately in a few cases, the unjustifiable action was taken of breaking open saloons and destroying their contents. This excess of zeal in the interests of public order and under such disturbed and dangerous conditions should not be judged with undue severity.

General Funston and I were originally in accord in the belief that the conditions were not such as to offer opportunities for great personal bravery or for especially conspicuous service. It is, however, my opinion that the conduct of General Funston and his command, almost without exception, even to the last private, is deserving of the highest commendation.

In these days of earthquake and fire it was my misfortune to take no active part. There remained on my return, April 22, duties less striking, but nevertheless of import to the city. They did not concern alone the vaults in a burned area exceeding 5 square miles, containing titles, policies, bonds, gold, etc., to the value of hundreds of millions of dollars (in fact, the remaining personal wealth of San Francisco), but also matters of vital importance to the health and safety of the community. These duties involved the public relief of more than 300,000 persons for whom food, shelter, and clothing must be provided, not only under difficult physical conditions, but also with means which though large required the utmost care to make them adequately serve their purpose. In addition, matters of sanitation and order, of water supply and sewerage, of lighting, of local transportation and other public utilities demanded timely and judicious action. Bank vaults must be guarded, personal liberty respected, private property protected, physical suffering alleviated, public health preserved, and efforts taken to gradually turn the currents of thought and action from the terrible present to the normal conditions of the future. These civic, if nonmilitary, measures were facilitated by the courage, resolution, and energy of the community in general, and of those captains of industry in particular whose past efforts had built up this magnificent and metropolitan city.

As army subordinates, line and staff, I was fortunate enough to have a body of officers and men whose loyalty, zeal, and intelligence may some time be equaled, but certainly not surpassed. To their persistent and intelligent effort is due the successful treatment of novel and difficult problems.

My duties began when I reached Oakland on the evening of April 22, 1906. Unable to reach Fort Mason that evening, at the suggestion of Col. S. P. Jocelyn, my chief of staff, and through the courtesy of Captain Garrett, I spent the night on the Fish Commission steamer Albatross. Through the maps and data furnished by Colonel Jocelyn I became informed as to current conditions, arrangement of troops, existing orders, and the military cooperation already afforded. I thus had a few hours in which to fully consider the situation and possible lines of suitable action. At daylight I assumed active command of the Division of the Pacific. General Funston, as he stated

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to me, was in a state of nearly physical and mental collapse, due to his extraordinary efforts and personal exposure since April 18. He had worked fifty consecutive hours without sleep, and many of the officers and men were in a hardly less exhausted state.


The existent conditions in San Francisco were of the most appalling character. While incapable of satisfactory description or adequate expression, yet roughly summarized they were as follows: On April 18 this was a city of 500,000 inhabitants, the commercial emporium of the Pacific coast, a great industrial and manufacturing center, adorned with magnificent buildings, equipped with extensive local transportation, provided with the most modern sanitary appliances, and having an abundant water supply. On April 21 these triumphs of human effort, this center of civilization, had become a scene of indescribable desolation, more than 200,000 residents having fled from the burnt district alone, leaving several hundred dead under its smoldering ashes. The entire community of 450,000, deprived of all modern conveniences and necessities, had, in forty-eight hours, not only been relegated to conditions of primitive life, but were also hampered by ruins and débris. Its entire business districts and adjacent territory had been ravaged by fire. The burnt area covered 3,400 acres, as against 2,100 in Chicago and 50 in Boston. Of the 261 miles of electric and cable railways not a mile remained in operation. While probably 1,500 teams were uninjured, yet, as a whole, they had been withdrawn with the refugees to the outlying districts. Practically all travel had to be on foot, the few automobiles having been impressed by the authorities. The intricate masses of iron, brick, and débris were supplemented in the unburned area by fallen buildings and chimneys, which made all travel circuitous and extremely difficult. The city telephone system was interrupted; every telegraph office and station had been destroyed. All the banks, deposit vaults, and trust buildings were in ruins. Not a hotel of note or importance was left standing. The great apartment houses had vanished. Of the thousands of wholesale and large retail establishments scarce half a dozen were saved, and these in remote districts. Even buildings spared by the fire were damaged as to chimneys, so that all food of the entire city was cooked over camp fires in the open streets.

Two hundred and twenty-five thousand people were not only homeless, losing all real and personal property, but also were deprived of their means of present sustenance and future livelihood. Food, water, shelter, clothing, medicines, and sewerage were all lacking. Failing even for drinking purposes, water had to be brought long distances. Every large bakery was destroyed or interrupted. While milk and country produce were plentiful in the suburbs, local transportation was entirely interrupted so that even people of great wealth could obtain food only by charity or public relief. In short, all those things which are deemed essential to the support, comfort, and decency of a well-ordered life were destroyed or wanting.

The quarter of a million people driven into the streets by the flames escaped as a rule only with the clothing they wore. Thousands upon thousands had fled to the open country, but tens of thousands upon tens of thousands remained in the parks, generally in stupor or exhaustion after days of terror and struggle.

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The only undisturbed and thoroughly equipped organization in San Francisco was the military forces of the Regular Army, which was just receiving welcome relief work from the Navy. The National Guard of California, prompt and eager to perform its duties, had come, bringing many members distressed by afflictions or losses, while others had saved only the clothing in which they paraded. The San Francisco firemen, noted for their efficient esprit de corps, were exhausted by continuous toil, overwhelmed by the enormous fire areas; many were destitute as to clothing and harassed by personal or domestic afflictions. The police department had similarly suffered from burned homes, scattered families, excessive hours of duty, and unusual physical exertions.

In the interests of harmony the city had been divided into three districts, one guarded by the police, the second controlled by the National Guard of California, while the third and largest area, assigned to the division commander, was under the protection of the United States Army, Navy, and Marines.

There were still in force rigid regulations as to freedom of personal action, which the fearful conditions of earthquake and fire had rendered necessary for the protection of property and the conservation of the public interests. From Oakland no one was permitted to enter San Francisco except on a written pass granted by authority of the Governor of California. Sharp restrictions had been imposed in many respects in San Francisco, where travel, particularly after dark, was dangerous, owing to numerous guards—civil, municipal, State, and national.


Of deaths and injuries from earthquake and fire, which were enormously exaggerated in current dispatches, the roll, including all bodies discovered and those who have since died of injuries, is as follows: San Francisco, 304 known; 194 unknown (largely bodies recovered from the ruins in the burned district); in addition 415 were seriously injured. In Santa Rosa there were 64 deaths and 51 seriously injured; in San Jose, 21 deaths and 10 seriously injured; and at Agnew's Asylum, near San Jose, 81 deaths.


My judgment considered as of primary importance the fostering of personal action by the restoration of normal conditions as rapidly and as completely as possible. Recognizing that, apart from its protection of Federal buildings, the army was in performance of nonmilitary duties, my instructions and directions all tended to its complete subordination to the civil power and to urgent public needs, from which policy the slightest deviation was never sanctioned.

In treating the army as an adjunct to the civil authorities instructions were issued to immediately remove all military restrictions on the movements of peaceful individuals, and the military pass system was immediately abolished. It was impressed upon officers and men that the force was in the nature of posse comitatus for the maintenance of public order, and that consequently the proclamations and municipal orders of the Mayor should be strictly observed. Impressment of laborers, destruction of property, and the seizing of automobiles, clothing, or food was strictly prohibited.

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