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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  15 - Spanish-American War

by Marshall Cousins

Porto Rico

(-as transcribed from pages 241 - 259)

The island of Porto Rico was discovered in 1493 and from that day until 1898 was under Spanish rule.  It is one hundred and eight miles in length and about forty miles wide. It is a most healthful and delightful country, with mountain ranges and many streams.  In area it is about thirty-six hundred square miles and the population in 1898 was computed at 800,000.  It is fourth in rank, according to size, of the Greater Antilles group, but in prosperity and density of population it is first.  The white population was claimed to outnumber the black.  In few of the tropical islands was this the case.  The commercial capital and largest city is Ponce, situated three miles inland from the port of the same name on the southern coast.  The city rests on a rich plain, surrounded by gardens and plantations.  There are hot springs in the vicinity which are much frequented by invalids. At the port are extensive depots where products from the interior are stored for shipment.  There were no docks and ships were loaded and unloaded by means of lighters.  The last enumeration gave to Ponce the population of 37,545, while San Juan, the capital on the north coast, had a population of 23,414.  In Ponce are a number of fine buildings, among them being a town hall, theater, two churches, the Charity and the Women's Asylum, the barracks, the Cuban House and the market.  the road connecting the city and the port was a beautiful promenade.

Besides Ponce and San Juan, the largest towns were Arecibo, 30,000; Utuado, 31,000; Mayaguez, 28,000; San German, 20,000; Yauco, 25,000; Juana Diaz, 21,00; and there were reported to be ten other towns with population of 15,000 or over.  Nearly half the population lived in the larger towns, where there were many fine residences.

Porto Rico had been more lightly touched by Spanish rule than other provinces.  Internal improvements had been inaugurated.  There were nearly one hundred and fifty miles of railroad.  This was narrow gauge and skirted about the coast.  A system of particularly fine military roads connected Ponce and San Juan with some of the other larger cities.

In times of peace the island abounded in sugar, coffee, tobacco, honey, wax and fruits.  A large part of the trade had been with the United States.  The entire island is said to be rich in natural resources and very healthful.

The capital, San Juan, was the best fortified city of Porto Rico, occupying there the relative position that Havana occupied in Cuba.  When General Miles started on his expedition the expectation was it would effect a landing at Fajardo, on the northeastern coast.  After this ostensible purpose had been well published the convoys and transports changed their course, swung around the east of the island and suddenly arrived off the harbor of Guanica on the southwestern coast at daylight on the morning of July 25.

A small Spanish garrison in a blockhouse on the beach was utterly surprised when Commander Wainwright, of the Gloucester, ran into the beautiful little harbor and opened fire with small guns.  The Spaniards attempted to reply, but were soon driven off and a part of marines landed and hoisted the American flag over the blockhouse, the stars and stripes taking the place of the flag of Spain, which was first raised 405 years before.  No Americans were injured, but the Spanish lost several killed and wounded.  The 3,500 troops of this expedition were landed in the forenoon without difficulty.  The Guanica harbor is the best in the island.  East of Guanica are the towns Yauco and Ponce, the former not more than five miles distance and connected with Ponce by railroad.

Marching on Yauco on the 26th, there was a skirmish with the enemy in which the Americans had four men wounded and the Spaniards lost sixteen killed and wounded.  When general Miles' troops entered Yauco they were received with enthusiasm and joy, not unmixed, however, with some anxiety.  The Alcalde, or Mayor, Francisco Megia, had issued in advance of the troops, a proclamation which accepted annexation to the United States as an accomplished fact:

Citizens:  Today the citizens of Porto Rico assist in one of her most beautiful festivals.  The sun of America shines upon our mountains and valleys this day of July, 1898.  It is a day of glorious remembrance for each son of this beloved isle, because for the first time there waves over it the flag of the Stars, planted in the name of the government of the United States of America by the Major General of the American army, General Miles.

Porto Ricans, we are, by the miraculous intervention of the God of the just, given back to the bosom of our mother America, in whose waters nature placed us as people of America.  To her we are given back, in the name of her government, by General Miles, and we must send her our most expressive salutation of generous affection through our conduct toward the valiant troops represented by distinguished officers and commanded by the illustrious General Miles.

Citizens:  Long live the government of the United States of America!  Hail to their valiant troops!  Hail, Porto Rico, always American!

Yauco, Porto Rico, United States of America.

The 29th, 30th and 31st of July were passed quietly.  Men and officers alike, when opportunity offered, were looking about the historic old city and viewing with great interest the mountains in which lay the enemy.

Before daylight on the morning of August 1, E Company, which had been relieved from duty at the customs house by General Miles, went on outpost.  Adjutant Cousins this day made an arrest of a private of the 16th Pennsylvania Regiment, whom he found trying to pass a worthless Confederate due bill for $300.00 on a merchant.  The culprit was turned over to the Provost Marshal, who happened to be his own company commander.  The prisoner attempted to bribe the Adjutant by offering to give him the due bill.  This incident is mentioned, as later it became a matter of considerable official agitation.  The man came from a prominent family and was one of the leaders in Y. M. C. A. and Sunday school work when home.  His regimental commander, Colonel Hulings, of the 16th Pennsylvania, and even an officer superior in rank to him, at different interviews suggested Adjutant Cousins withdraw his charges against the prisoner.  This the Adjutant would not do, as the man, when first arrested, had claimed to be a Wisconsin man.

During the stay in the Ponce camp the old Springfield rifles with which the regiment were equipped at the time of their muster into the volunteer service, were replaced by the new Krag.  This was a magazine rifle and entirely unfamiliar to most of the men.  It is a far superior rifle to the old Springfield, being lighter, equipped with magazine, and more powerful.

Second Lieutenant John E. Barron was taken sick during the stay at Ponce and left in hospital when the command marched into the interior.  Later he came on to Coamo, but after a few days was sent with other sick soldiers back to Ponce, and did not again join the company until the return to Eau Claire.

On Sunday, August 7, at 7 a.m., the regiment marched towards the interior along the San Juan road.  This is a beautiful macadamized road.  There are several hundred miles of such roads on the island.  They are known as the military roads and were built and kept in repair by the Government.  The regiment passed trough the city of Juana Diaz about noon.  The Mayor met Colonel Moore outside the city, extending a welcome to the American troops and made the request the band play during the passage through the city.  An enthusiastic welcome was extended by the citizens.  At three o'clock the regiment went into camp, having marched about twelve miles.  This camp was about five miles from the enemy's lines.  On August 8, men were given an opportunity for a little practice with the new rifles.  At noon the regiment, in light marching order, advanced about three miles and again went into camp.  All extra baggage, together with the sick, were left behind, with the band as a guard.

Camp was made in front of Coama, within striking distance of the Spanish troops.  K Company, of Tomah, Captain Warren, was put on outpost to the front.

The main military road from Ponce to San Juan, along which the brigade had been advancing, becomes quite tortuous before reaching Coamo, but has a general northeasterly direction entering the town.  About two miles from Coamo it is joined by the road from Santa Isabel, an excellent macadamized highway.  Before its junction with the Santa Isabel road it crosses, by an arch of masonry, a deep gorge with very precipitous sides.

The town lies upon a plateau on the right bank of the Coamo river and well above its level, surrounded by high hills.  It is in the foothills of the main ridge of the island, and the surrounding country is rough.  According to the best information obtainable it was occupied by about 400 Spanish troops well intrenched, and resistance was expected.  A small blockhouse of corrugated iron on the Santa Isabel road was occupied by an infantry outpost, which had frequently fired upon our reconnoitering parties.  The exact location of the other defenses was not known.

A trail had been discovered practicably for infantry, by which a force leaving the main road well to the southwest of Coamo could, by a wide detour, reach the road again in rear of the town.

The main body of the brigade, consisting of the Third Wisconsin Infantry (Colonel Moore), the Second Wisconsin Infantry (Colonel Born), Battery F, Third United States Artillery (Captain Potts) and Battery B, Fourth United States Artillery (Captain Anderson), the two batteries being under the command of Major J. M. Lancaster, Fourth Artillery, was in camp about two miles nearer Coamo, to which camp it had advanced that day.

The division commander was present with the troops and directed their movements.  With a view to capturing the garrison, he directed that one regiment be sent by the mountain trail above mentioned to the rear of the town, and that the front attack be deferred until this regiment could reach its position.

The Sixteenth Pennsylvania Infantry was selected for the turning movement.  It left its camp, 650 strong, at 5:15 p.m. August 8, and under the guidance of Lieutenant Colonel Biddle, marched six miles and then went into bivouac.  At 6 a.m., August 9, the two other regiments of the brigade and four guns of Captain Anderson's battery left their camps to take position for the front advance upon the town.

The Third Wisconsin Infantry, 788 strong, was sent to the right, with orders to cross the Coamo river and advance on the Santa Isabel road until the latter should reach the river, then to leave the road and advance up the left bank of the river.  While it was moving to its position, fire was opened upon the blockhouse with the four guns of Captain Anderson's battery.

An advance on the city by any other route than the pikes is next to impossible.  Three roads lead into the city, one from the southwest, connecting with Ponce; one from the northeast, connecting with San Juan, and the Santa Isabel road from the south.  these were all military turnpikes, and streams were crossed by substantial iron and cement bridges, or, in case of smaller streams, reinforced cement bridges.

From the block house above mentioned the Spanish troops had a clear range of the valley leading towards the city.

K Company, Captain Warren, had been on outpost throughout the night.  K, together with G Company, Captain Abraham, was now posted on the high hills commanding the San Juan road and had a full view of the block house and the city.

At four o'clock in the morning a silent reveille was had.  The companies fell in and in light marching order, with only rifles and belts, haversacks with one day's rations, and ponchos, the regiment moved out to the position it was to occupy on the firing line.

As the regiment advance, Companies G and K were left behind on outpost duty.  A Company, Captain Hommel, was guarding the city of Juana Diaz and this left only nine companies in the field.  The Third Battalion, Major Richards, with his two remaining companies, D, Captain Turner, and F, Captain Lee, was assigned to lead the advance.  Following him came Major Kircheis, with three companies of the Second Battalion, B, Captain Schultz, M, Captain Peck, and L, Captain McCoy.  The advance began at 6:30 and at 7:05 the first shell from Lancaster's Battery was fired.  At the third shot the gunners had the range and the block house was set on fire.  With the advance began the opening fire by the enemy.  The deep tropical grass almost concealed the Americans from view.  The regiment followed closely the skirmish line.  The opening by the battery started a lively battle.  When the block house was fired by the shells the Spanish retreated along the road back into the city.  Major Richards advanced the skirmishers towards the east and reached the range of hills on which the Spanish outpost was stationed.  The Spaniards were firing thick and fast on the advancing men, but little could be done towards returning the fire with small arms on account of the long, heavy grass.  The troops were advancing all along the line and met with many natural obstacles, such as ravines, heavy growth of underbrush and other obstructions.  The cactus hedges caused more anxiety than the whistling Spanish bullets.  The line was still advancing when infantry fire from the north was heard, making known the Sixteenth Pennsylvania were engaged with the enemy north of Coamo.  Between the Third Wisconsin and the town was the Coamo river.  On the south side, where the regiment was deployed, the bank was almost perpendicular.  Colonel Moore directed Lieutenant Hollway and Lieutenant Cousins to make effort to find a place where the column could pass down in order to ford the river.  After considerable search these officers found a place where a path or opening down the bluff had been made.  This could only be used by lowering one's self by clinging to grape vines.  The signal was passed back to the regiment and the men came down the grape vine ladder one at a time.  Lieutenants Holway and Cousins had moved on, forded the river and struck a trail leading toward the military road.  Soon after fording the stream a barb wire barrier obstructed the trail.  While engaged in cutting through this barrier, Lieutenant Cousins was wounded.  Colonel Moore had just come up and ordered him carried to the rear.  An emergency dressing was applied by Sergeant Major Grout, and he proceeded with the column.  While the wound was painful it was not serious.

The column, after fording the river, followed the trail until the military road was reached and then marched into the city.  Before reaching the city, natives came out to meet them and it was learned the Spanish troops had passed through the town and been engaged by the Pennsylvania men on the outskirts north of the city.  The troops were given an enthusiastic and frantic welcome by the excited natives, and the Third Infantry flag was soon flying over the city hall.  The Spaniards had made entrenchments in many of the streets by ditching and sand bags.  In some cases iron water and sewer pipes had been used.

The citizens had been on short rations for some days.  The Spaniards had swept the whole country for food stuff and those from the rural districts had been afraid to bring provisions into the town for over a week.  Stores were closed and many of the merchants and business men, with their families, had fled the town.

When the Spanish troops were driven from their blockhouse and entrenchments by the Wisconsin men, they retreated through the city and out onto the turnpike leading towards San Juan.  Here they walked into the range of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania and a sharp, decisive battle occurred.  The Spanish commander, Major Martinez, made a brave effort to hold his position.  He recklessly dashed up and down the Spanish lines, and finally fell, shot several times.  As far as can be learned the Spanish loss was six killed, twelve wounded and one hundred and fifty prisoners.  Some one hundred and thirty-five Spanish escaped to the hills, but later some of them were captured.

After a short rest in the city the regiment marched about a mile on the San Juan road and there went into camp.  It was necessary to hold a large bridge four miles further up the road.  Major Kircheis, with Companies D, Captain Turner, F, Captain Lee, L, Captain McCoy, and M, Captain Peck, was detailed for this outpost duty and at once marched to his position.  An outpost was established at a point south of Aibonito Pass.  The pass is where the military road goes over the Sierra Del Sur Mountains.  On three hills, commanding the military road, the Spanish troops were thoroughly entrenched.  Major Kircheis placed outposts in the hills covering the Spanish positions.

August 12 Lancaster's Battery was ordered to the front to shell the enemy's works.  The infantry could not have taken the works by assault, owing to the deep ravines and steep hills.  In order to get a position for firing, the artillery was compelled to come out into full view of the Spanish works on the crest of the mountains.  The Spanish artillery fired on the battery as it was advanced up the road, but with little effect.  Later the Spanish gunners directed their fire towards the Wisconsin troops.  One shell burst in the midst of L Company, killing Corporal Oscar R. Swanson and Private Fred Vought, and wounding Corporal Yanke and Private Buntz.

A few moments later the Spanish again opened on Lancaster's men and held them under a heavy fire.  Owing to their better position the Spaniards could fire upon the Wisconsin line with small arms, but the elevation made the small arms fire of the Americans ineffective.  The fire of Lancaster's guns was well directed and Spanish infantry could be seen leaving their positions and retiring to stronger works in the rear.

At length the Spanish guns became silent and the battery moved further up the road with F Company as support.  They had advanced but a short way when they encountered a storm of rifle bullets from the infantry and shells from the big guns, and were compelled to fall back.  The Spanish Infantry had left their entrenchment and concealed themselves in a banana field where it was almost impossible to discern them.  This ended the direct attack on Aibonito Pass.

It had been disclosed the Spanish position was such it could not be carried by a direct attack, and General James H. Wilson, commanding the division, directed an attack be made by going through the mountains.  A mule pack train was assigned to the Third for carrying ammunition and rations and the command was ordered to prepare to take a trail up through the mountains, drive the enemy out of Aibonito and capture the pass and the city.

On the evening of August 12, Colonel Moore called his officers together and informed them of the work laid out for them on the next day.  All appreciated the movement would be a hard one and probably result in considerable loss.  Colonel Moore spoke of the honor conferred upon the regiment by General Wilson in designating it to lead the advance.  To Major George and his battalion he assigned the honor of opening the way.  Captain Ballard, E, and Captain Kinney, of C Company, were designated by Major George to lead the advance, with Companies I and H in support and reserve.  Just before the officers' meeting was dismissed Colonel Moore suggested all write letters home.  Saturday, August 13, everything was made ready for the advance on Aibonito.  The regiment was in column of fours on the road and was waiting only for the pack train to form.  Officers in charge of the train reported they would be in position within five minutes, but before the five minutes had passed, a staff officer from headquarters directed Colonel Moore to withhold the march until further orders.  The regiment was held in readiness to move at any moment.  At about 2:30 came information of the signing of the protocol and that further movement was suspended for the time being.

Officers and men alike were much disappointed.  They had made ready again for a movement which was cancelled.  Later in the afternoon, to give the men something to do, Colonel Moore marched up the road some half a mile and established a new camp, where the regiment remained for several weeks.

The signing of the protocol on August 13, instead of a week later, prevented an interesting bit of history being made.

On August 31, Wednesday, occurred the death of George Edwards, Quartermaster Sergeant of H Company, Menomonie.  Sergeant Edwards had formerly been a member of E Company and had many friends among the Eau Claire boys.

The month of September was spent in the camp just north of Coamo.  There was little happening of a nature to stimulate activity and much sickness developed.  Colonel Moore and the medical department made every effort to keep the camp sanitary and officers looked closely after the habits of their men with a view to preventing illness.  The lack of something to do induced homesickness and the malaria and typhoid quickly followed.  The following table is taken from Captain Emanuel Rossiter's story of I Company.   The figures, while not official, were gathered from reliable sources and are approximately correct:

126 men sick in hospital
200 men sick in quarters
128 men sick in other places

138 men sick in hospital
413 men sick in quarters
148 men sick in other places
18 men left this day
12 men died in Porto Rico

Officers and men were afflicted alike.  For several weeks the number of officers available for duty was reduced to such a point that Lieutenant Cousins, acting regimental adjutant, and Lieutenant Cousins, acting regimental adjutant, and Lieutenant Smith, of I Company, who had been place in command of F Company, alternated on serving as officer of the day.  This detail was in addition to their other duties and there was no officer of the guard.  Colonel Moore wished to help out by taking his regular turn as officer of the day, but this the two Lieutenants would not permit and they were tough enough to handle the situation between them.

On September 3, Father Sherman, a Jesuit priest, a son of General William T. Sherman, paid the regiment a visit and was entertained at the officer's mess.  He was an old friend of the Third, having visited at the Camp Douglas Reservation.

On September 9 a second member of E Company passed to the great beyond.  Corporal Sumner P. Bartlett died in the hospital at one o'clock in the morning.  he had been taken to the hospital several days before.  Corporal Bartlett had been a member of the company when it was first organized, but had been out of the service for several years when President McKinley sounded the call to the colors.  He was a good soldier and popular with his officers and comrades.  At four o'clock in the afternoon of the day of his death his remains were conveyed to the government cemetery, where they were deposited with military honors.  In addition to members of his own company several men of other companies attended the services, showing his cheerful disposition and natural had made for him friends among the men from other towns.

Sergeant Major McCall was discharged by order of the War Department on September 10, and Colonel Moore at once appointed Samuel E. Grout of Eau Claire to that position.  He had been Battalion Sergeant Major of Major George's battalion and in addition to that duty had acted as Commissary Sergeant a large part of the time.  The appointment of Sergeant Grout was a most deserving recognition of his able and conscientious services.  When the call came for troops in April he was attending the medical department of the University of Minnesota and came on to Camp Harvey from there.  He lacked but a year of completing his course but was informed by the faculty leave would be granted him and every opportunity given on his return to complete his studies.  Sergeant Grout was of great assistance to the surgeons in their work and his spare time was put in at the hospital or among the sick in quarters.  His appointment as Sergeant Major was a popular one with the men, who had for him love, admiration and respect.  He is at present practicing his profession in Alabama and has built up a fine practice and reputation.

On Sunday, September 11, just after noonday mess, came a telegram from General Brooke at a point on the northern coast, advising a terrible hurricane was coming towards  Coamo.  This news broke the monotony of life the regiment was leading.  All hands turned their eyes in the direction of the north and waited with calmness the possible destruction.  If the hurricane was coming they would have to take it on open ground, as the camp was not provided with cyclone cellars.  Nothing, however, occurred, further than a brisk wind and heavy shower.

September 12, General Ernst, brigade commander, issued an order fixing the price of provisions as follows:

  • Eggs, each - 4¢
  • Milk, per quart - 8¢
  • Chickens, according to size - 10 to 20¢
  • Melons - 15¢
  • Bananas, small, ¼ ¢ - ½ ¢
  • Oranges, per hundred - 30¢

On the 13th, guard details were reduced to 22 non-commissioned officers and 69 privates.  For some days 24 non-commissioned officers and 93 privates had been required.  Twenty-seven men were detailed for duty at hospitals to assist the regular hospital corps of men in caring for the sick.

September 19, the regiment received pay and Major M. R. Doyan had a long and busy day.  His money, mostly in crisp new bills, was carried in three iron chests.  The amount he carried was one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars.

Tuesday, September 20, notice was received of the third death in E Company, that of Private Dwight C. Brace, which occurred in the hospital at Ponce on September 17.  Private Brace was highly esteemed by his officers and comrades.  Frequently he had attended to paper work in the company.  He possessed considerable talent as a caricaturist, handling the pencil or crayon with much skill.

Adjutant Cousins, in response to a request from the Secretary of War, cabled the strength of the regiment for duty on this day was 617.  In this list B and A Companies rank first, with 68 and 67 men, respectively, and F and L Companies last with 36 and 37, respectively.

September 23 a detail of ten men from E Company was sent to Barranquitas, a small town about nine miles as the crow files from Coamo.  By road it is a little longer.  This detachment was there until October 17, and had an interesting tour of duty.  Corporal Atkinson recalls many pleasant hours spent in the company of an old school master from whom he heard many interesting stories and traditions of the island.

On the 27th came orders to march on San Juan on the 29th.  This news worked a miracle with those who were on the sick report.  Many men suffering from malaria and who could scarcely more than walk pulled themselves together and reported to their company commanders they were again fit for service.  Later in the day came the disappointing news the order had been rescinded, but on September 30 orders were again issued to prepare for the march.  Adjutant Cousins cabled the War Department the strength of the regiment was 534 on this date.

Sunday morning, October 2, the regiment was on military road, advancing on San Juan.  About ten-thirty the column passed through Aibonito Pass.  This was where the Spaniards had expected to make their stand and it was at this point the regiment lost men in August.  The sick of the regiment were left behind at Coamo with Major George in command.  He was also placed in command of the sick of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania and of the battery.

The animals of the command were spared as much as possible owing to the lack of proper forage.  No oats had been issued for some days and no hay.  Horses and mules alike had to feed on corn and freshly cut grass.  This forage was much too heating for the labors they had to perform.  Many of the mounted officers walked a good part of the distance to save their horses.  Thirty bull teams had been issued to the regiment on September 29 and these were used to help out the mules.  The march was along the finely constructed military road and beautiful scenery was disclosed as the column wound in and about the mountain side.

October 3 the regiment was again on the march.  The health and spirits of the men were revived by the movement and the scheduled day's march was covered before noon.  The men requested their captains to ask Colonel Moore to continue the march and this request was granted.  the regiment covered two days' scheduled march in one.  About seven-thirty in the morning the column crossed over the divide.  The camp was made a mile and one-half north of Cayey in a field coveed with a beautiful turf, but soft and wet owing to the severe rains.

October 4 and 5 was spent in the camp at Cayey.  On the 5th the regiment was paid off by Major J. C. Muhlenberg.

October 6, very much to the disgust of the command, orders came directing the regiment to turn back and march to Ponce.  Over one-half of the distance from ponce to San Juan had been covered and the road to San Juan was down grade.  Reveille was sounded at four o'clock and in a heavy rain the camp was broken and march begun.  Nearly all the way to Aibonito the rain came down.  Canvas was in such condition it could not be used.  Adjutant Cousins took possession of the old barracks, a large wooden building, and under this covering the regiment passed the night.

On the 7th the march was continued to Coamo and buildings were again used here.  October 8, marched from Coamo to Juan Diaz.  Anthe 9th, Sunday, the regiment reached Ponce.  For the first time in many days there was no rain.  Four rivers were forded with difficulty owing to flooded condition.  the regiment moved into the already made camp of the Nineteenth Regular Infantry.  They had been withdrawn to the barracks.  The canvas was new and tents provided with floors.  The camp was beautifully located on the bank of the river about two miles from Ponce.

General Guy V. Henry was in command at Ponce and on the 11th paid the regiment a visit.  He came entirely alone, not even an orderly accompanying him, and insisted on holding his own horse while at regimental headquarters.  He impressed the Wisconsin officers most favorably.  He showed great interest in the welfare and comfort of the regiment.  General Henry had a high reputation as a soldier and his face bore the scars of Indian campaigning.

October 12, Surgeon Major John B. Edwards was taken to the officer's hospital in Ponce from a severe attack of typhoid.  He had a long siege of the fever and the regiment came home without him.  It was many days after the regiment had sailed before the nurses dared to tell him he had been left behind.

October 16, Senator Thomas B. Mills, of Superior, Wis., made the camp happy by his arrival.  He had many personal friends in the Eau Claire Company, who joined with the men from Superior in extending to him a welcome.

October 17 the steamship Manitoba was assigned to the regiment for the trip home.

On the 20th the order was revoked and the Chester assigned.  The Chester was a better boat for officers, but not as well equipped for carrying the men. Colonel Moore registered a vigorous protest with General Henry, which resulted in the order being rescinded and the Manitoba again assigned.

Tuesday, October 18, was "Occupation Day," and the citizens of the city held a grand celebration.  Frank Dana's Third Infantry band, together with three other military bands and the troops quartered in the city, joined in the festivities.

During the night of October 18-19, there occurred an exciting and later amusing event.  Some days before this the 47th New York had disembarked and were held at the port for several days before going into camp on ground to the west of the camp occupied by the Third Wisconsin.  It developed afterwards the men of the regiment, of the 19th infantry and of the regular artillery had devoted their attention to filling the New Yorkers with all kinds of tales of dangers.  The New Yorkers had been led to believe they were in constant danger of being sprung upon from ambush and cut to pieces. In the early hours of the night a dummy figure had been set outside the 47th guard line.  It had been so arranged long cords would make movements of the legs and arms.  Between three and four o'clock a sentry got sight of this figure and challenged, and, receiving no reply, he fired.  The sentry on adjoining post came up, challenged and fired.  Then came the Corporal, who challenged and fired; following him was the relief and at length the entire guard.  The firing awoke Colonel Moore and Adjutant Cousins.  Supposing something was wrong in the camp of the 47th, either an attack by guerrillas or a mutiny, Jack Hood, of the band, was directed to sound the long roll, and no man living could sound it better than Jack.

In the darkness the men sprang into the ranks in all stages of dress and undress.  Notwithstanding their haste, none forgot their rifles, belts and shoes.  Some men were even thoughtful enough to strap on their wire cutters, thinking barb wire barriers might be encountered.  The Adjutant, in the meantime, was trying to get in connection with the 47th camp and about time firing died down there got the Adjutant of the 47th on the wire and offered Colonel Moore's assistance.  This was respectfully but emphatically declined and no explanation given of the firing.  After a reasonable interval the men were sent back to their tents.  It was well along in the day before the cause of the disturbance was learned.  It was not a safe subject to discuss with the 47th New York officers or men.

Friday, October 21, the command was up and astir at four a.m., packing and making ready to take the transport.  In good order transportation and regiment passed through the city and arrived at the port in ample season.  By five p.m. all were on board.  The wagon transportation was left behind by direction of the quartermaster's department.  The horses traveled with the regiment and the last of them were loaded about midnight.  The boat, however, did not steam out until the next morning, Saturday, it being contrary to the sailors' habit to sail on a Friday.  At nine o'clock on Wednesday, the 26th, the Manitoba arrived off quarantine New York harbor and anchored for the night.  Early the next morning Colonel Moore directed Lieutenants Holway, Williams and Cousins to go ashore and report the regiment at the army headquarters.  These officers arranged for the drawing of the warm clothing and the traveling rations for the trip from New York to Wisconsin.

Later in the day of the 27th the Manitoba, having been passed by the quarantine offices and given a clean bill, steamed up to the docks at Weehawken.  The boat was still in motion when Governor Scofield came down the dock, accompanied by Edward Mullen, and extended an official welcome.  The Governor was heartily cheered by officers and men.

On the 28th, in three special trains, the regiment started for Wisconsin over the West Shore railway.  Two sections of this train were pulled into Milwaukee, where the citizens of that city, on October 30, tendered all officers and men a banquet.  The other section, carrying the companies from Eau Claire, Neillsville, Menomonie, Hudson and Superior, pulled through from Chicago, and by night of October 31 all the companies were in their home towns.

A delegation from Eau Claire met the troop train before daylight.  Among them were Captain Henry, Hon. William P. Bartlett and William K. Atkinson,  Eau Claire was reached about 9:30, and again at the Omaha station the men received an ovation from the people of Eau Claire.

On November 1 a furlough was granted to all men of the regiment and leave of absence to officers.  During this furlough Dr. McDonald, army surgeon, visited  the home station of all companies to ascertain the health of the command.  Dr. McDonald was a favorite with officers and men.  He had accompanied the regiment in its march up the mountains, returned with the command to Ponce, and accompanied the regiment to Wisconsin.

Until January it was not know what the Governor would decide to do with the regiment.  There were reports it might be sent to Philippines and other reports it might be put into some of the Western forts.  In the meantime Captain Ballard was busily engaged in preparing the company for muster out or return into active service.  In late December the order came for mustering out and on January 6, 1899, Captain E. P. Andrus, of the army, arrived in Eau Claire and by midnight of that day E Company had been discharged from the volunteer service.

During the service losses occurred and some men had been transferred to other organizations.

Three had been lost by death:
  •  Private Charles Eck at Camp Thomas, May 22, 1898.
  •  Corporal Sumner P. Bartlett at Coamo, September 9, 1898.
  •  Private Dwight C. Brace at Ponce, September 17,1898.

By honorable discharge one man had been taken from the rolls:
  •  Private Leonard Loken, September 15, 1898.

Four were transferred to the Hospital Corps, namely:

  •  Malcolm J. Cernahan.
  •  Alexander S. Morgan.
  •  William H. Bruce.
  •  Charles E. Day.

All others of the rolls were mustered out January 6, 1899, as above stated.

All through the winter of 1898-1899 many of the men suffered from the effects of the campaign.  Some of those who had malaria in their systems still feel the effects of it at times.

On January 14, 1899, the officers of the field and staff and non-commissioned staff were mustered out at Camp Douglas by Colonel Andrus.

The State of Wisconsin at once set about the re-organization of the National Guard and companies in the volunteer service were given an opportunity to re-enter the guard.  E Company, of the Third, was the only company in the State which failed to re-organize.  Captain Ballard gave the company two opportunities, and on the second failure referred the matter to the Adjutant General, with the result that B Company, of the Fifth Infantry, was transferred to the Third Infantry as E Company.  Captain Otto H. Kitzman commanded this company and extended an invitation to all the volunteers to enlist, and several of them did so.  On the organization of the regiment, June 10, 1899, Captain Ballard was commissioned as Major and assigned to the Second Battalion, consisting of Companies C, E, H and I.  Marshall Cousins was appointed Regimental Adjutant with rank of Captain, and Percy C. Atkinson was appointed Battalion Sergeant Major.  On the creation of the office of battalion quartermaster and commissary, he was promoted to that position with rank of Second Lieutenant, and at a little later date was again promoted to Battalion Adjutant, with rank of First Lieutenant.

Marshall Cousins was promoted to grade of Major, December 14, 1913, and was succeeded by Percy C. Atkinson as Regimental Adjutant on the same date.

Major Ballard continued in the service until April 22, 1908, when he was discharged on account of ill health.  The Major died October 15, 1909, and was interred with military honors in Forest Hill cemetery, Eau Claire.  A number of the officers of the regiment from adjoining stations were present at the service.  Following his retirement from active service a regimental order was issued making the announcement.  This order is reproduced, as it gives a biographical sketch of the Major.

                                                                                                                                             General Orders
                                                                                                                                             No. 18
                                                                                                                                HEADQUARTERS THIRD INFANTRY

                                                                                                                                   Wisconsin National Guard
                                                                                                                                    La Crosse, May 11, 1908

Announcement is hereby made of the retirement, after twenty years of continuous service, of Major Joseph M. Ballard, on April 22, 1908.  For some weeks prior to this time his health had rapidly failed, to the sincere regret of his comrades and friends.  Major Ballard's service in the military establishments of the State had been long and honorable, and gained for him a place of distinction and high regard in the hearts of all with whom he had come in contact.

Previous to his coming to Wisconsin he served in the "Worcester Continentals" C Company, Second Infantry, Volunteer Militia of Massachusetts.  He became corporal in this company in this company May 7, 1880, and Sergeant December 27, of the same year.  A few years later he came to Wisconsin and when the suggestion was made to organize a military company in his home city of Eau Claire, Joe Ballard was one of the first to respond to the call and became the president of the civil organization formed to finance the new company.  He was active in perfecting the organization.  The company was organized int he summer of 1887 as an independent company, known as the "Griffin Rifles."  He was commissioned First Lieutenant of the company November 14, 1887, having previous to that time served as First Sergeant.  On April 20, 1888, the company was mustered into service of the State as E Company, and he was re-commissioned as First Lieutenant in the Wisconsin National Guard.  He was promoted to Captain April 15, 1890, and as such entered the volunteer service of the United states May 11, 1898.  He served throughout the Porto Rican campaign with credit and honor to his country, his regiment, his company and himself.  E company, under his command, was the first to land at the Port of Ponce July 28, 1898, the day of the surrender of that city by the Spaniards.  By direct verbal command of Lieutenant General Miles, Captain Ballard took possession of Government Buildings and threw a guard and patrol about the port.  On August 9 he took part in the battle of Coamo.

He was mustered out with the regiment of January 6, 1899, and on the re-organization of the regiment he was commissioned Major, with rank from June 11, 1899, and commanded the Second Battalion from that date until his retirement, April 22, 1908.

He was always ready and always willing to do promptly and do well every task assigned to him.  His cheerful disposition was contagious, and made many a march and bivouac more endurable.

A faithful friend, patriotic soldier, efficient officer, and brave man; to this, we, his comrades, bear testimony at the hour of his retirement.  May his future path be a pleasant one.

                                                By order of Colonel Holway.
                                                                                        Marshall Cousins.
                                                                                Captain Third Infantry, Adjutant.

Major Ballard was born February 18, 1853, at Gardner, Me.  His father was Augustus Ballard, a prominent and successful shipbuilder on the Kennebec river.  for seven years he resided in Worcester, Mass., following his profession, that of druggist, and then removed to Chicago.  November 19, 1883, he came to Eau Claire, buying a drug store from E. H. Playter.  He was married April 25, 1883, to Miss Emily A. Browne, of Boston, who survived him and still resides in Eau Claire.

This sketch would not be complete without a reference to the Regimental and Battalion Commanders.  Colonel Martin T. Moore commanded the regiment.  He was born at Wauwatosa, Wis., August 9, 1847, and when scarcely fifteen years of age enlisted in E Company, 24th Infantry, Wisconsin Volunteers, August 5, 1862.  On account of wounds received May 18, 1864, he was, in August of that year, assigned to duty with the Fifth United States Veteran Corps of Infantry.  He was discharged as a Sergeant June 5, 1865.  Colonel Moore's service in the National Guard of Wisconsin began August 14, 1878, as First Lieutenant of the La Crosse Light Guards.  He became Captain August 22, 1879.  Aided in the organization of the Third Battalion, W. N. G., of which he was the first and only Lieutenant Colonel, from organization, May 19, 1881, until disbandment early in 1883.  On the organization of of the Third Infantry he was commissioned its first Colonel, June 11, 1883, and remained such until mustered out of service, January 14, 1899.  Colonel Moore died in La Crosse March 24, 1903.

The First Battalion, composed of Companies E of Eau Claire, H of Menomonie, C of Hudson and I of Superior, was commanded by another veteran of the Civil War, Major Thomas Jefferson George, who was born in Ohio, November 18, 1842, first enlisted May 8, 1861, and was discharged on account of sickness, by order of General Benjamin F. Butler, April 11, 1862.  He served as First Lieutenant Wisconsin State Militia during the Indian disturbances, September, 1862, and was in the United States police service from 1863 to 1865.  From January 11, 1877, to June 11, 1883, he was Captain of the Guard Company of Menomonie.  On the latter date he was commissioned Major in the Third Infantry and remained as such until the final muster out of the regiment, January 14, 1899.  Major George is living at Menomonie in good health and respected and loved by all.  For Major George officers and men of Wisconsin National Guard entertain a warm and kindly sentiment.

Another officer, while not a member of the regiment, richly deserves mention in this sketch.  Captain William A. Bethel, of the army, was Assistant Adjutant General on the staff of the brigade commander.  He performed the trying duties of his position with intelligence, energy and tact and a mutual feeling of admiration soon sprang up between him and the Third Infantry.  Officers and men alike felt free to go to Captain Bethel for information and instruction.  Following the war he was transferred to the Judge Advocate General's Department and served a detail as instructor in military law at West Point.  He now holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

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