Major General Henry W. Lawton
Courtesy National Archives
The Geronimo Campaign
Why did Lawton leave Cuba ?
Was Lawton maligned?
The first, and only full detailed biography of Henry W. Lawton
was written and printed in 1998. The master copy is
in the Smithsonian. The biography goes into detail involving Lawton's military career and family life. Not without controversy
during his distinguished career, his good character and military contributions withstand the test of time, and the
few attempts by some of his peers to detract from or unduly tarnish his reputation. The testimony of senior leaders in the civilian and military
sectors of American government , as well as peers and subordinates who lived and worked with Lawton overwhelmingly support
the conclusion that he was a highly motivated and capable general who rendered meritorious service to the country.
To note just two opinions from respected people of Lawton's time:
Dean C. Worcester who spent a considerable time in the Philippines wrote:
"General Lawton arrived in the Philippines during our stay. His coming had been eagerly looked forward to by the army. He had sailed with the understanding that he was to be put in charge of field operations. While he was at sea, influences were brought to bear which changed this plan.
It is my firm conviction that if Lawton had been put in command, the war would have ended promptly. He was a wonderful man in the field. He possessed the faculty of instilling his own tremendous energy into his officers and men, whose privations and dangers he shared, thereby arousing an unfaltering loyalty which stood him in good stead in time of need. If there was fighting to be done, he promptly and thoroughly whipped everything in sight. He punished looting and disorder with a heavy hand, treated prisoners and noncombatants with the utmost kindness, and won the good-will of all Filipinos with whom he came in contact."
Lawton was deeply admired and respected by President Theodore
Roosevelt who is quoted in his
autobiography, referring to the Cuban campaign of 1898 as follows:
"The very best men, men like Lawton, Young, Chaffee, Hawkins, and Sumner, to mention only men under or beside whom I served, remained good soldiers, soldiers of the best stamp, in spite of the disheartening conditions. "
Last updated July 2, 2007