History of Westmoreland County
Volume 1
Chapter 34

The Spanish-American War

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But two regiments from Pennsylvania, viz.: the Tenth and the Sixteenth, saw service in the Spanish-American War, for they were the only ones from our state which succeeded in getting out of the United States. In these regiments Westmoreland county had three companies, viz.: Companies I and E, of the Tenth, and Company M of the Sixteenth Regiment.

The Tenth Regiment of Infantry belonged to the National Guard of Pennsylvania, and was composed of companies from Beaver, Washington, Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland counties, and was commanded by Colonel Alexander L. Hawkins. The regiment was called out and reported at Mt. Gretna on April 28, 1898. The two companies, I and E, from Westmoreland county, Company I from Greensburg and Company E from Mt. Pleasant, were in this regiment. Company I was commanded by Captain James M. Laird; and Company E by Captain James A. Loar. The regiment was paraded for inspection and muster, and both the officers and men had the privilege of entering the United States service or refusing to do so, for, by our law, the National Guard of Pennsylvania could not be taken outside of the state to do military service. Be it said to their honor that almost every one of them entered the United States service. The few who did not had reasons for not doing so which were exceptionally good. Immediately thereafter and prior to the mustering of the regiment, the companies were increased to seventy-five enlisted men each, and they were mustered into the service of the United States on May 12th, 1898. They remained in camp at Mt. Gretna, and on May 17 were ordered through the War Department to move to Chickamauga Park, Georgia. While preparations for this movement were being made, the order was countermanded and another was issued the day following, which directed the Tenth Regiment to proceed to the Philippine Islands as part of the command of General Wesley Merritt. This order was hailed with great joy by the officers and soldiers of the regiment, and in compliance with the order they left Mt. Gretna about nine o'clock p. m. on May 18, passing through Greensburg about half past eight the next morning, on their road to California and thence to the Philippines. A stop of a half hour only was allowed at Greensburg. The citizens from the town and many hundreds from the surrounding country had assembled to bid them good-bye, make them presents, and give to them a last word of good cheer before they left on their long journey to the Orient. The trip of the regiment across the continent was by way of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad to Chicago, thence to Omaha, thence to Ogden, and thence by the Southern Pacific Railroad to San Francisco. It was almost a continuous ovation from Harrisburg to the Pacific coast. Their reception at San Francisco, magnificent in every particular, was the crowning event of all. They reached that city on the Morning of May 25, and almost immediately went into camp at Camp Merritt, near the Presidio. On the morning of June 14 they embarked on the United States transport "Zealandia," and in a few hours were under way across the Pacific ocean, as a part of the expedition to the Philippine Islands under the command of Brigadier General Francis V. Greene, U. S. V. The regiment arrived in Manila Bay on July 17, 1898, and on July 21 disembarked and went into camp at Camp Dewey, six miles south of the city of Manila. They immediately began to build earthworks, and by July 31, with the aid of the Tenth Regiment, entrenchments sufficiently strong to afford excellent protection to the troops were constructed. On the morning of the 31st, the Tenth Regiment had been detailed for outpost duty, the term being twenty-four hours. Nothing unusual occurred that day.

Company I, among other companies of the regiment, occupied the most northern entrenchments of the United States army, and were on July 31st about four miles south of the city of Manila. The entrenchment line extended from the Manila Bay east two hundred and fifty yards, terminating at the road leading to Cavite and Manila; the entire day being without firing from either side, the United States troops were busily engaged in strengthening their position. About 11 o'clock P. M. the enemy opened fire from four pieces of artillery at Fort Malate. This was kept up for a half an hour or more without any material damage to the United States works. They then advanced in a heavy line of infantry, firing occasionally, until they were within about four hundred yards of the United States troops. They were halted and began firing rapid volleys from their entire line, which they kept up for three hours. This having but little effect, they again opened fire from two pieces of artillery, after withdrawing part of their advanced line. The two pieces of artillery were loaded with shell and shrapnel. During all of this time there were but four of the United States troops wounded and one killed. In the meantime the enemy made several movements to turn the flank of the United States troops at the eastern extremity, but were held in check by our troops, and at no time came nearer than two hundred yards from the end of our line of entrenchments. The battle terminated with the retirement of the enemy at about 3 o'clock A. M. It was estimated by Colonel Hawkins that no less than one hundred thousand rounds of ammunition were expended by the enemy, and perhaps sixty thousand by the United States troops, the Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment alone having used thirty-nine thousand rounds. Those behind the entrenchments were comparatively safe, there being but few casualties, but among the exposed troops, when they went forth to check the flanking movements of the enemy, one soldier in four was either killed or wounded, as is shown by the report of the battle made by Colonel Hawkins. A furious typhoon, with constant downpour of rain, lasted during the entire night, and the soldiers long before morning were literally covered with mud and drenched with rain. Most of the troops, and, indeed, all of the Westmoreland soldiers, were under fire for the first time in this battle, yet it was the testimony of the experienced officers, including General Greene and Colonel Hawkins, that they stood like veterans, never for a single moment yielding an inch from their position. The companies most dangerously exposed and in an unprotected position were Companies D, E and K. All of the soldiers held their ground bravely, and when relieved brought their dead and wounded to places of safety. This battle, known in history as the battle of Malate, was the only engagement between the land forces of the two countries that took place during the Spanish-American war in the Philippine Islands.

From August 1st until the morning of the 13th, the Tenth Regiment performed fully its share of outpost duty. On the 13th they received two days cooked rations and two hundred rounds of ammunition per man, and were ordered to take the position at the crossing of the Manila and Pasia roads, with the understanding that the army was to advance on the city of Manila. At 9:30 A. M. the bombardment of the fortifications of Manila was begun by the United States fleet, and at 10:30 the reserves started for the front, but, when the Tenth Regiment had advanced but a short distance beyond their entrenchments, a white flag was seen floating over Manila, and, following the beach, they entered the city via Malata and Ermita, with but little resistance.

When the command reached San Francisco it was decided that each company should be increased in numbers so as to make up the quota of one hundred and six men to a company, as required by the new army regulations. Colonel James E. Barnett and Adjutant Charles C. Crowell and one enlisted man from each company were sent back to Pennsylvania to enlist these additional troops. The required number for the Tenth Regiment was two hundred and forty-eight, and they were very readily found. But by the time they reached San Francisco the main body of the Tenth had sailed for Manila. The recruits were taken from San Francisco to Honolulu on the "Arizona," sailing on August 20, and reaching Honolulu August 27th. There they were in Camp Otis, and were drilled till November 10, when they again sailed on the "Arizona," and reached Manila Bay on November 25th. On December 2 they joined the regiment, and all were united under one name.

The regiment did guard and patrol duty in the city of Manila from the 14th of August until the 4th of February. On February 5, the Tenth Regiment was ordered to advance and capture a Chinese hospital, and after a stubborn contest the enemy was driven away and the hospital captured. In the afternoon the advance was continued and enemy driven from De la Loma Church and blockhouse. There entrenchments were built and this position was occupied until March 25th. They then began to advance north, the Tenth Regiment being on the extreme left of the Second Brigade. On March 31, after one or two engagements, they reached Malolos, where they remained until April 14, when they were ordered to Manila and thence to Cavite. On June 29 and 30 they embarked on the transport "Senator" to be mustered out of service at San Francisco, and sailed on July 1st. They came home through Japan, stopping at Nagasaki and Yokohama. Colonel A. L. Hawkins, who had greatly endeared himself to all the soldiers and to the people of Pennsylvania generally by almost a lifetime of military service, died on board the "Senator" at sea, on July 18th. His remains were brought home and interred at his home in Washington, Pennsylvania. A monument has since been erected to his memory in Schenley Park, Pittsburg. The transport "Senator" reached San Francisco Bay on August 1, and the regiment was mustered out of service at San Francisco, on August 22, 1899, after a service of sixteen months. The soldiers, on their return to Pennsylvania, were greeted with splendid receptions, not only in Pittsburgh, but in all the towns from which the members of the several companies hailed, the President of the United States, the Governor of Pennsylvania, General Merritt, General Greene and many other notables being present to welcome them when they reached Pittsburgh.

The soldiers of this regiment who hailed from our county and who were killed in battle were as follows: William E. Bunton, Company E, killed July 31, 1898; Jacob Hull, Jr., Company E, killed July 31, 1898; Jesse Noss, Company E, killed July 31, 1898; Alexander Newill, Company E, killed March 25, 1899; William H. Stillwagon, Company E, killed July 31, 1898; Lee Snyder, Company E, wounded July 31, 1898, died August 3, 1898; John Brady, Company I, killed July 31, 1898; Bert Armbrust, Company I, killed March 30, 1899; Daniel W. Stephens, Company I, killed March 29, 1899.

Those who were wounded were as follows: Company I-Richard D. Laird, Augustus C. Remaley, Archibald W. Powell, Morrison Barclay, Joseph C. Mickey, William H. Stouffer. Company E-Captain James A. Loar, John G. Thompson, Nathaniel J. Hurst, Richard G. Baer, Sylvester B. Bobbs, Charles H. Eminhizer, John A. Hennesey, Roy J. D. Knox, Howard Miner, John A. McVay, Frank J. Schachte, Christopher Siebert, George Washabaugh, William H. West. Sylvester B. Bobbs died at sea, July 22, 1899.

Company M of the Sixteenth Regiment was recruited at Jeannette, in Westmoreland county, and was the third and last company from our county which was engaged in the Spanish-American war. It was commanded by Captain James M. Laird, of Greensburg. He had become captain of Company I of Greensburg in 1878, and was connected with it and with the Tenth Regiment as captain or major during all the years between 1878 and 1898, but, when Company I was to be mustered into the United States service, Major Laird was rejected because he had passed the age limit, much to the regret of the soldiers, his friends at home and to himself. Lieutenant W. S. Finney was elected in his stead. In July following Governor Hastings, regardless of the age limit, commissioned him as captain of Company M, which in the summer of 1898 had been recruited at Jeannette. Company M was attached to the Sixteenth Regiment, and was part of the Third Battalion. Because of the lateness of their enlistment they did not sail with the Sixteenth Regiment from Charleston, South Carolina, but were encamped first at Chickamauga and then at Newport News. They finally sailed from the port of New York on the "Obdam," on September 14, and landed at Ponce on September 22. They were equipped with Krag-Jorgenson rifles. After much moving they were encamped at San Juan, and on October 11 sailed for the United States, landing at New York on October 17. The regiment was furloughed for sixty days awaiting orders, and it was then supposed that they would soon be ordered to Manila, for the troubles, though practically over in the Porto Rican section, were still bubbling up in the Philippine Islands. On December 28, however, the regiment was mustered out of service.

Source: Pages 473-477, History of Westmoreland County, Volume 1, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher, New York, the Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2000 by Devorah Ann Klingenberger-Fosbrink for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed by Devorah Ann Klinkenberger-Fosbrink for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)

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