Captain Devereux Shields
29th Infantry, Company F
United States Volunteers
At the Battle of San Mateo where General Lawton was

Captain Shields, Twenty-ninth infantry, United States volunteers, on the left
of the Twenty-ninth battalion, had pushed forward and had gained a good
position behind a bank in front of the general's headquarters right down
close to the river.   From this position he kept up a continuous flanking fire
by volleys down the river on the enemy's Intrenchments.

NOTE: Both Shields and Maximo Abad were at this battle, with Abad being
a sniper.   
Shield's letter to his wife after being rescued1st
Reserve Hospital
                                                                  Manila P.I. Oct 15th 1900

My darling beloved precious wife,

  I just got out of my captivity yesterday afternoon and was taken on board
the U.S.S. Bennington at Buena Vista, Marinduque Island. I am perfectly
well my darling & will cable you to that effect in the morning. I am in the
agony of dispense in regard to you, oh my beloved, my life, if God has only
spared you to me. I have prayed all day & night every hour that it would not
make you suffer too much or injure your health. I was ambushed some 12
miles from Santa Cruz at 5:30 am on Sept 13 by the insurgent, it was in the
mountains and they had 225 rifles and 2000 Bolo men. I had only 52 men, at
6am I was wounded in the left shoulder and after 8 hours hard & dreadful
fighting, at 2pm, I received another wound through my neck which passed
through and out of my mouth breaking the right jaw bone and tearing out five
teeth, it disabled me entirely & I thought all was up with me for a while, I lay
in the rice field bleeding & having lost about 3 quarts of blood from my other
wound & my left arm useless I could only wait for them to take me. I gave
orders to my company to move on & cut their way out but a short distance
from me they were completely surrounded & having but little ammunition left,
surrendered to 2500 of the enemy. I cannot write you of the dreadful
suffering & hardships I have undergone during the month they have had me.
I am perfectly safe now but cannot write because my neck is still so stiff &
my left arm still pains me very much. The transport leaves in the morning & I
have gotten Capt. Dowdy & Mrs. Sargent both to write to you. After I got on
the Bennington yesterday afternoon Gen. Hare who now commands the
forces operating on Marinduque sent me to Manila on the U.S.S. Villalobos,
& I got here this evening. Would to God I could write more, but I cannot, you
will know long before this reaches you that I am well & I hope by the time
you get this letter I will be leaving here for home if not before as being
wounded they will send me home for a rest. I will write to you a little every
day so the next boat will take you many letters. Now God bless you & my
boy oh I pray God my beloved, my life, my darling precious, my life's only
thought & love that you are well, merciful God what will become of me if all
this has injured you.

God bless you my wife. Oh God has been so good in saving my life it must
be that he has saved you to me.

                                  Your devoted beloved husband.

Many tender kisses to you my darling & some to my son. Give my love &
kisses to my mother and all those that you & I love.

                                  Your husband

(The above letter was enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and
addressed to: Mrs. Devereux Shields, No. 617 N. Union Street, Natchez,
Mississippi, U.S.A. The return address was Devereux Shields, Capt 29th
Inf. U.S.V., Manila P.I. Across the top is written - Soldier's letter.  Also
enclosed was a pressed 4 leaf clover in a carefully folded holder.)
Shield's Wife is killed
Sixty Four Killed
NATCHZ, Miss. April 24, 1908 - Sixty-four. persons were killed this morning
by a tornado which ravaged a wide stretch of agricultural land, starting seven
miles south of Vidalia, La., which is across the river from this place, and
pursuing a northerly course to Carter's Plantation, back of Vidalia.  In this
range thirteen were killed and thirty-five, injured. Of the latter, 10 will die.  
Mrs. Devereux Shields of Natchez, who was visiting her sister, Mrs. Winston,
at Lucerne, the first plantation visited by the tornado, was killed in bed by a
beam striking her on the head. The house was demolished.
22 Jan 1900  Carter, W H  To Shields, Capt, Devereux  

Washington, Jan 22  1900


  I have the honor to transmit herewith your commission of
Captain, 29th Infantry, U.S.Vols..

Please acknowledge your receipt thereof as early as
practicable, and, in case of acceptance, fill up, subscribe, and
return the accompanying oath of office duly executed.

                                          Very respectfully,
                                              Your obedient servant,

                                                  W. H. Carter
                                                  Asst. Adjutant General
Letter to Shields from a worried mother
Care, Addie C. to Shields, Devereux Capt. 13 Feb 1900
Mars, Butler Co., Pa.
                                             Feb 13th 1900
Captain Shields
Dear Sir

  I am the Mother of Sergeant H.E. Care, of Co. F. 29th U.S.V.I. and it has
been so long since I heard from him. I fear he is somewhere in the Hospital.
  I have only had one letter from him since he landed in Manilla, that was
written Nov. 10th and rec'd here Jan. 1st. since then I have heard nothing nor
have I seen his name mentioned in any news in the Papers.
  If you can give me any information as to his whereabouts, or his health
you will confer a great favor on an anxious Mother. This is his 26th Birthday
and only a Mother knows how my heart longs for him today. Hoping that I
may soon hear good news. I remain

                                                  Very Respectfully yours
                                                  Mrs. Addie C. Care
                                                  Mars, Butler Co., Pa.

P.S. I have written him every week since he left and have addressed them to
his Rgt. & Co. Manilla, Philippine Islands.

(The above letter was enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and
addressed to: Captain Shields, Capt. Co. F. 29th U.S.V.I., Manilla, Philippine
Islands. Written at the top of the envelope, upside down, was: from A.C.
Care, Mars, Butler Co., Pa.)
Letter to Shields from the Private who treated Shields
and the other wounded soldiers at the Pulang Lupa

Slitz, Michael To Shields, Capt. Devereux   29 Jan 1901
                                  Manila                                Jan. 29, 1901

1st Reserve Hospital
To Capt. D. Shields

Sir, I have the honor to send you a clipping of a local paper stating that Don
Pedro Lardizabal, the one who use to style himself (Auditor de Guerra) has
surrendered together with the many other officers of the Insurgents Army to
Col. Corliss of the 3d Inf. at Boac Island of Marinduque great activity is going
on  that Island expedition after expedition is sent out from the numerous

Capt  Lacey of the 1st Inf. in command at Santa Cruz has lately come back
from one of these expeditions, he killed a good many insurgents recovered
few rifles, killed over 200 caraboos, hundreds of horses, cows, burned every
barn on his way, in short, our troops from Boac, Santa Cruz, Torrijos, Gazan,
Buena Vista, are continually scouting the Island, and they are making it lively
for Col. Abad.  I have today advised Lieut. Reeves that Don Pedro is a
nephew of Luis Hidalgo, the owner of the steamer Nazareno, and also that
for a certainty he knew the whereabouts of Alapaap, the latter will certainly
hang for the wife and children of the unfortunate Presidente of Santa Cruz,
Pedro Celestino is in Manila, she had a conference lately with President Taft
of the civil commission who provided for her largely from the civil funds.
Capt. any interesting news that I may gather, I will forward them to you, as I
know you are anxious to see the Insurrection put down. Capt. I beg
permission to request that you do something for me in the line of a medal of
honor, this is my highest ambition. And I think that Senator McLaughlin or any
other senator or congressman could easily obtain it for me in the senate, you
can suggest to them that they interest some of the Jewish members of both
houses, and that would be easy matter to obtain for me, that which will make
me more happy then anything in this world. I have always tried to do my duty,
as you know and I beg of you a second time to do something for me, my
time will be up the 9th of Dec of this year and you know Sir that my gratitude
will last forever if you could do that for me. Hoping your health is excellent. I
beg permission to convey my best wishes to Madame Shields, to your little
boy, and to all your friends. I hope that you will be so kind as to answer this

                                          yours very obedient and

                                          Michael Slitz
                                          Hospital corps U.S.A.
                                          1st Reserve Hospital
                                          Manila P.I.

p.s. Sargent Woodward, and the other men are still at San Francisco de
Malabon looking for Alapaap.

My best regards to Sarg. Mallory

(The above letter was enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and
addressed to: Capt. Devereux Shields, Natchez, Mississippi. The return
address is: Fran. M. Slitz Hosp. Corps., 1st Reserve Hosp., Manila, P.I.)
Captain Shields Obituary


An Account of the Military Career of Captain Devereux Shields

He came of fighting stock and gave early indications of his inherited martial tastes and
inclinations His appearance and character – character revealing incidents – sad features
connected with his death some weeks ago. During the Philippine insurrection a decade ago
the desultory warfare which was carried on by the American forces against the insurgents
under the command of Aguinaldo and other noted leaders, afforded few opportunities for
American soldiers to distinguish themselves by conspicuous gallantry or heroic self-
sacrifice. Nevertheless, the Philippine campaign, guerrila warfare as it was, added several
names to the roster of American heroes; names of men whose exploits will be related and
whose eulogies will be written by future generations. Of those, who, by their conduct during
the Philippine campaign, placed their names upon the pages of future histories of America,
none takes a higher rank than does Capt. Devereux Shields, of Natchez.

A typical soldier: Capt. Shields was a typical soldier in appearance and character. Of the
brunette type, when he was young he was one of the handsomest men ever seen in
Natchez, although in later years the sufferings from his wounds robbed his features of much
of their beauty. His character as revealed in his military life, his domestic relations, and in
his everyday association with his fellow men, was one that not only merited but compelled
admiration and respect. He was absolutely without fear, either of the weapons of his foes or
of the more deadly shafts of ridicule and slander to which every man of great moral force is
subjected. He, in common with most brave men, was gentle and kindly in his disposition,
shrinking from inflicting pain upon any fellow creature however humble. As an officer he
demanded and received implicit obedience from his subordinates; but he was always
thoughtful of their comforts, treating them with every consideration compatible with the
dignity of his position.

MARTIAL TASTES INHERITED. Captain Shields came of an heroic ancestry. Both his
paternal and maternal ancestors had fought their country’s battles on sea and on shore. His
father, Lieutenant Commander Wilmer Shields, served for seventeen years in the United
States Navy. His grandfather, Richard Watts Ashton, ran away from school at the age of
thirteen, impelled to this act by his military instincts. Ashton served during the War of 1812
with distinction and afterward entered West Point where he graduated and served as
Lieutenant of Marines for a number of years. His paternal grandfather, Thos. Shields, of the
navy, is mentioned in Cooper’s Naval History for conspicuous gallantry under fire and
valuable services rendered his country on the Great Lakes [instead of ‘on the Great Lakes’
should have said ‘in the Battle of New Orleans,] during the War of 1812.

EARLY INDICATIONS: Even in his earliest childhood Captain Shields showed unmistakable
evidences of the trend of his inclinations. In the choice of the toys among which he spent
the fleeting hours of his young boyhood; in the books which appealed to his childish fancy;
in the games which were the chief delight of his school days, and in numberless other ways
was revealed the gradual but unceasing development of his leaning toward things military
and his admiration for the warrior heroes of history. These things were but indications; yet
they were convincing, though faint, foreshadowings of the characteristics which were to
dominate his life. From papers and records in the posession of the family the News has
compiled the account which follows of Capt. Shields Military experiences. The story of the
engagements of San Mateo and Torrijos, as told in this article is authentic and
substantiated by reports of the War Department and of the war correspondents stationed in
the Philippines during the campaign. It will prove of interest to all who are unfamiliar with the
history of the soldier whose deeds they chronicle.

BIRTH AND EDUCATION. Captain Devereux Shields was born at Laurel Hill [Plantation],
Miss., on the 28th day of November 1869. [Actually born 24th day of April 1869] He was the
second son of Lieutenant Commander Wilmer Shields, of the United States Navy, and of
Mrs. Julia Ashton Shields, a descendant of one of the most prominent Southern families.
Captain Shields’ martial tastes received the greatest encouragement during his residence at
the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn., which at that time had a Government
military instructor; and there, his natural bent fostered and developed by his instructions
and associations, he gained the fundamental principles of that intimate knowledge of
military strategy and tactics which enabled him in after years to act with promptitude and
decision during the various exigencies of the battle field. After his graduation from the
University of the South, Captain Shields returned to Natchez, deeply versed in military lore
as well as in the more academic branches of learning taught in that institution. Shortly after
his return he was unanimously chosen captain of the Natchez Rifles. His wide acquaintance
with military affairs soon gained for him such prominence in the military affairs of the states
that he received the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard; a position
rarely attained by one of his youth.

RECEIVES COMMISSION: When the long list of atrocities committed by Spanish governors
in Cuba became such as was viewed with disgust by civilized nations and the tragedy of the
Maine Precipitated war between Spain and the United States, Colonel Shields immediately
proffered his services to the government and was given a commission of Lieutenant Colonel
in the Second Mississippi United States Volunteer Regiment. He had no opportunity,
however, during the brief struggle which resulted in the overthrow of Spanish dominion in
the island of Cuba, of testing in actual warfare the stores of military knowledge, the
possession of which had gained for him his commission. His regiment was stationed at
Jacksonville, being a part of the division under the command of General Fitzhugh Lee. At
the close of the war he was mustered out at Columbia, Tenn., and returned to his home in

SAILS FOR MANILA: Some months after the conclusion of the Spanish War the United
States government issued a call for Volunteers for service in the Philippine Islands, where
the noted insurgent Aguinaldo was conducting a species of guerrila warfare, and
endangering the lives of Americans and other Caucasian races in the islands. Capt. Shields
immediately responded to the call and applied for a commission. Upon the recommendation
of many officers of high rank who had been impressed by the profound knowledge of
military strategy shown by the young soldier during his encampment at Jacksonville, he was
given a commission as captain in the twenty-ninth regiment, U.S.A. He received the
commission on the fifth of July 1899, and on the fifth of October his regiment sailed from
San Francisco on board the transport Zelandia, arriving in the Philippines just in time to
participate in the battle of San Mateo in which Gen. Lawton was killed.

HIS FIRST BATTLE: He fought in this engagement with great gallantry, winning the
commendation of his ranking officers. The reports of this battle state that Capt. Shields
acted with conspicuous bravery, using to advantage his military knowledge; and by the
skillfully directed volley firing of his company smothered the fire of the entrenched Filipinos,
opening the way for the charge which changed the fortunes of the day and resulted in the
capture of the Philippine entrenchments.

EXECUTIVE ABILITY: After the battle of San Mateo he was appointed governor of the
island of Corregidor. Six months he remained on Corregidor, administering the affairs of the
island with a success that gained for him the highest commendations from his superior
officers, to whom his executive ability was as surprising as it was gratifying.

SENT TO MARINDUQUE: On June 1, 1900 he was detailed with his company to take
charge of the island of Marinduque, one of the most turbulent of the islands of the Philippine
archipelago. Marinduque is a small island 200 miles south of Manila and its inhabitants
were noted for the resolution with which they opposed American occupation. On this island
he remained up to the time of the engagement in which he was captured in which he
received wounds [which made necessary] his return to Natchez.

INVALIDED HOME: After in some measure regaining his strength in Manila, whither he was
taken after being rescued, Captain Shields was invalided home. During his illness in Manila
he bore always in mind the anxiety of his friends at home and especially of his wife and his
mother, keeping them informed in regard to his progress as well as circumstances would

HIS RECEPTION: The reception given Captain Shields upon his return to Natchez was the
greatest ever tendered a man by this city. The citizens of Natchez, in a body, assembled in
the Temple Opera House and about its doors awaiting to welcome the returning hero and to
congratulate him upon his return to life and health.

HIS SAD DEATH: The recent death of Captain Shields was replete with saddening
features. He was still quite a young man, and had he been spared to complete the splendid
promise of his nature and character he might have performed services for his country and
his fellowmen which would have eclipsed his achievements, brilliant though they were, in
the American insular campaign. But such was not Heaven’s decree. Capt. Shields never
entirely recovered from the terrible wounds received in the battle of Torrijos. His shattered
health continued to grow worse from the time of his return home to the hour when the
gallant soldier breathed his last. Great in heart as in brain Capt. Shields was broken in spirit
by the tragic death some years ago of his wife, Mrs. Julia Jenkins Shields, whose
unwavering affection had been his greatest incentive to worthy and sustained effort in every
task to which his duty called him. The marriage of Capt. Devereux Shields and Miss Julia
Dunbar Jenkins was one of those ideal unions which are, alas, too rare in this imperfect
world. Capt. Shields’ death was hastened by the loss of his wife. He never recovered from
the blow given him by the fatal termination of their happy wedded life; and the knowledge
that they were soon to be reunited robbed death of all its dread. ~~~~~~~~~~~~
A very large thank you to
Julia Mills, the
granddaughter of Captain
Shields for providing his
picture as wells as letters
that are used on this page.