On 22nd February of 1899 ( George Washington’s 167th birthday) American artist, writer and publisher Elbert HUBBARD wrote a short essay which later came to be known as ‘’ A MESSAGE TO GARCIA’’. Hubbard and his young son Bert were discussing the war, local insurgents of Cuba were fighting against Spanish army on that island. The United States faced a war with Spain. Then US President McKinley was anxious for information. He realized that success meant that the soldiers of the republic must cooperate with the insurgent forces of Cuba. He understood that it was essential to know how many Spanish troops there were on the island, their quality and condition, their morale, the character of their officers, especially those of the high command; the state of the roads in all seasons; the sanitary situation in both the Spanish and insurgent armies and the country in general; how well both sides were armed and what the Cuban forces would need in order to harass the enemy while American battalions were being mobilized; the topography of the country and many other important facts.
"Where," asked President McKinley of Colonel Arthur Wagner, head of the Bureau of Military Intelligence, "where can I find a man who will carry a message to Garcia?"
The reply was prompt. "There is a young officer here in Washington; a lieutenant named Rowan, who will carry it for you!"
"Send him!" was the President's order.
To make a very long story short, Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan, graduate of the elite West Point military academy did not ask a single question! He delivered the message to Garcia in Cuba during fierce fighting! He had no idea where Calixco y Inigues Garcia was, what dangers lay hidden, but he delivered the message!
These are the words Elbert Hubbard wrote:
"A Message to Garcia." I thought so little of it that we ran it in the Magazine without a heading. The edition went out, and soon orders began to come for extra copies of the March "Philistine," a dozen, fifty, a hundred; and when the American News Company ordered a thousand, I asked one of my helpers which article it was that had stirred up the cosmic dust."It's the stuff about Garcia," he said. The next day a telegram came from George H. Daniels, of the New York Central Railroad, thus: "GIVE PRICE ON ONE HUNDERED THOUSAND ROWAN ARTICLE IN PAMPHLET FORM – EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS ADVERTISEMENT ON BACK—ALSO HOW SOON CAN SHIP’’ . I replied giving price, and stated we could supply the pamphlets in two years. Our facilities were small and a hundred thousand booklets looked like an awful undertaking. The result was that I gave Mr. Daniels permission to reprint the article in his own way. He issued it in booklet form in editions of half a million. Two or three of these half-million lots were sent out by Mr. Daniels, and in addition the article was reprinted in over two hundred magazines and newspapers. It has been translated into all written languages. At the time Mr. Daniels was distributing the "Message to Garcia," Prince Hilak off, Director of Russian Railways, was in this country. He was the guest of the New York Central, and made a tour of the country under the personal direction of Mr. Daniels. The Prince saw the little book and was interested in it, more because Mr. Daniels was putting it out in such big numbers, probably, than otherwise. In any event, when he got home he had the matter translated into Russian, and a copy of the booklet given to every railroad employee in Russia. Other countries then took it up, and from Russia it passed into Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, Hindustan and China. During the war between Russia and Japan, every Russian soldier who went to the front was given a copy of the "Message to Garcia."The Japanese, finding the booklets in possession of the Russian prisoners, concluded that it must be a good thing, and accordingly translated it into Japanese. And on an order of the Mikado, a copy was given to every man in the employ of the Japanese Government, soldier or civilian. Over forty million copies of "A Message to Garcia" have been printed. This is said to be a larger circulation than any other literary venture has ever attained during the lifetime of the author, in all history--