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      The Samuel Culbertson Mansion
Louisville's Most Historic Inn

1432 South Third Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
502.634.3100;  866.522.5078 toll free


Newspaper recollections of Maj. General Henry W. Lawton's reception in Louisville, November, 1898

The Courier-Journal, Wednesday, November 9, 1898, page 8:

Reception Tonight at the Galt House

Reception to Gen. Lawton

Distinguished Soldier 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.

(Note:  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.)

The Courier-Journal, Thursday, November 10, 1898, page 8:

Shook Hands

With the Famous Hero of El Caney



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, doesn't he?"

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 Mr. Sam 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. Weaver
R. W. Brown
Hon. Oscar Turner
Hon. Walter Evans
C.C. Mengel, Jr.
George Henderson
Samuel Culbertson
Hon E. J. McDermott
Wm. A. Robinson
Angus Almond
E. H. Bacon
R. W. Knott
J. J. Saunders
Dogan C. Murray
W. R. Lucas
W. L. Lyons
Clarence Dallam
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
William Heyburn

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 Caney. 

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 reminiscences.
     "You were with Gen. Kirby Smith, I believe, when he and Gen. Beuell were maneuvering about Frankfort," remarked Gen. Lawton.
     "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 admirers.

During the engagement referred to, Gen. Duke was with Morgan's brigade and Gen. Lawton was a Captain in the Thirteenth Indiana Volunteers.

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 ferns.

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 the club.

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 Government.

Gen. Sanger spoke at length, paying a high tribute to the record Gen. Lawton made in the civil war and his glory in the late war.

Mr. T. G. Watkins spoke of the soldier, referring to the meager pay he received, but said that glory was his pay after all.

Col. Parker, a regular army officer, tossed bouquets to the volunteers and Col. Leonard Wood did the same thing for the regulars.

Maj. P. P. Johnson, of Lexington, spoke highly of the manner in which the soldiers had conducted themselves while in camp.



The Louisville Times, Thursday, November 10, 1898:

Impressions of 
Maj. Gen. Lawton

Lacking in Sentiment, But a
Warrior of Blood and

Romps with the Youngsters

Reception in His Honor at the Galt
House a Pleasant Occasion

Dinner to Distinguished Guests

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 General's laugh.

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 part.

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 volumes.


Lawton Links on our sites
Topics on General Lawton 
The General Lawton Photo  & Sketch Album
General Lawton, "Uncle Henry" to the Two Little Knights of Kentucky
General Lawton's Family
Lawton's Reception in Louisville, 1898

Death of General Lawton Dec 19, 1899 - Newspaper reports
(includes a longer biography)

Other Links:
Henry W. Lawton, Forgotten Warrior
The site above promises to soon be the most comprehensive site on General Lawton on the net
Geronimo's Surrender - Skeleton Canyon, 1886
Chronology of the Spanish American War
Assault on San Juan Hill
The Battles of San Juan Hill and El Caney
Named Campaigns - Philippine Insurrection
An American POW in the Philippines
Stereoview, General Lawton's Casket.
Arlington Cemetary web site, more biography and grave site photo
Biography of Licerio Geronimo (if links are dead, you may find them archived here)




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 The Samuel Culbertson Mansion
1432 South Third Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
(502) 634-3100;  (866) 522-5078 toll free
Fax (502) 636-3096

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