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90 AS CAPTAIN ROGERS STARED DOWN at the infant boy, he marveled at the wonder of new birth and beamed as a proud father. It was January 5, the beginning of the new year 1898, a wonderful beginning at that. His and Hattie’s second son was healthy, even though born on this cold wintry day in the Rangers camp home outside of Alice. Four-year-old Lucile and two-and-a-half year old Pleas would enjoy their little brother. His name? Only weeks before the Presbyterian Church had taken up another special offering for Reverend Samuel N. Lapsley, a man of faith who had been called as the first Presbyterian missionary to Africa. The Rogers’ had made a significant contribution to his expenses. It was Providential, the captain decided. They would name their new son Lapsley. His middle name, Harris, extended the Rogers kin one more generation. Yes, all in all a great start to the new year, a sign perhaps that it would be another relatively calm one as 1897 had been. That, however , was not to be. On February 16, Captain Rogers read the shocking bold headlines in the newspaper—“Battleship Maine Explodes!” The day before , far away in Havana harbor, the article declared, Spanish terrorists had planted a bomb against the hull of the American battleship CHAPTER 7 The Streets of Laredo The Streets of Laredo 91 ★ anchored in the Cuban port. During the night the bomb had detonated , sending the ship and over two hundred of its crew to the bottom of the sea. After several years of following the Cuban rebellion, the United States would soon be involved in a war that traversed two oceans and reached as far as the Philippines. President McKinley’s call for war in April led to a short but furious confrontation with the Spanish on that Caribbean island, at Santiago Bay, and on Kettle and San Juan Hills. Occupying American troops marched onto the island of Puerto Rico. After seizing the Spanish-held islands of Midway, Guam, and Samoa in the Pacific, the U. S. Navy sailed victoriously into Manila Bay. The war was over almost as it began, but not without it reaching into Texas. Adjutant General Woodford Mabry resigned in order to fight in the war; he would succumb to malaria in Havana. He was replaced for nine months by A. P. Wozencraft who then gave way to Thomas Scurry. For the Rangers, concern for activities on the Mexican border led to an increased vigilance; namely, U. S. troops stationed in Texas were being considered for redeployment to Cuba, thus diminishing the law enforcement capacity in the Valley. On May 12, Rogers received a copy of a telegram sent earlier by Governor Culberson to Texas Senator Horace Chilton in Washington: “Authorities at Fort Ringgold, Brownsville, Rio Grande City and others wire that it is dangerous to withdraw regulars from those places as is being done. Secretary of War does not reply to my protest. Indications are that the object is to give regulars chance in the war and put our troops on the frontier and is objectionable.” In a postscript Culberson wrote to Rogers: “Wire number of men you have and where they are.” The legislature made provisions for the Ranger force to be increased with each company enlisting a total of twelve men by the end of May.1 Five days later Culberson wrote Rogers to update him on the troop redeployment situation. “President Diaz has written Culberson on May 13 that his detachments ‘on right side of the Bravo’ are to assist American authorities if there is any trouble ‘injured by robbers’ on left side, and would Culberson do the same. “If you [Rogers] give your detachment similar orders, I believe it will be impossible that any Alarm should be felt on the dividing line, especially if the respective chiefs on both lines should put themselves Chapter Seven 92 ★ into accord when they have to make any prosecution. Believing the course suggested will assist in the purpose to maintain order, you are directed to act in accordance herewith.”2 With heightened awareness of the war footing, Company E remained on alert. From April to June the companies were increased to twelve men each. Otherwise law enforcement seemed fairly routine and on June 15 each unit was again reduced to eight Rangers. Kid Rogers re-enlisted on April 23 following his latest leave. Several men from the company were sent east to Wharton County...


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