My Dear and Esteemed Friend:
It is not long since I wrote you, but an opportunity arises by which I may send you a few words of encouragement and good cheer. Rest assured I write you whenever I can, which is not often, owning to the great amount of work that at present falls upon my shoulders. I know the pen is mightier than the sword, but my mission at present is with the latter; others must wield the pen.
Eight days ago General Antonio Maceo and myself met and fought the enemy with our forces in conjunction. The Spanish column, including infantry, cavalry, and artillery were our superiors in number, but the arms of the Cuban Republic were again victorious. I have no time at present to go into details of the battle, they will follow later. Suffice it to say, Spanish reports to the contrary notwithstanding, we won the day.
Our advance may be slow, but it will be sure and firm. If you hear of our retreat remember that it will be temporary and for a purpose. Our faces are turned toward the west and nothing will stop us. The result of my observations as we proceed is that the Spaniards are in need of almost everything-money, sympathy, soldiers, and even leaders who have faith and courage in the righteousness of their cause.
If Cuban valor and resolution do not fail us, and if the hearts of Cuba's children do not weaken, I have every reason to believe that the close of the six months' campaign now initiated will find everything satisfactorily settled and Cuba free.
I know that unfavorable comment has been made on some of the methods we have been forced to employ in this revolution, but it will not do to listen to the complaints of the superficial and irresponsible. No sugar crop must be made this winter under any circumstances or for any amount of money. It is the source from which the enemy still hopes and dreams of obtaining its revenue. To prevent that end, for the good of our country, has been and shall be our program.
We are Cubans and have one great aim in view, one glorious object to obtain-the freedom of our country and liberty. It is of more importance to us than glory, public applause, or anything else. Everything else will follow in time. I have never believed in our advised a sanguinary revolution, but it must be a radical one. First of all we must triumph; toward that end the most effective means, although they may appear harsh, must be employed.
There is nothing so bad, so dishonorable, so inexcusable, in the eyes of the world as failure. Victory is within our reach. To hesitate, to delay it, to endanger it now, would be stupid, would be cowardly, would be criminal. We will succeed first; the applause of the world will follow. To do otherwise would be not to love one's country. I have never felt more confident than at the present moment. You can rest assured that Cuba will soon achieve her absolute independence.
Ever your true friend,
Maximo Gómez, General in Chief
[Photos: Top, Maximo Gómez. Bottom, Tomás Estrada Palma]
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