On the night of February 15, 1898, the U. S. Battleship "Maine" lay
peace-fully at anchor in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. Without warning and
with the suddenness of a lightning flash the majestic warrior of the seas
was destroyed, together with the lives of 266 of the American sailors on
Interested the country had been in the events preceding
this disaster, watch-ful and apprehensive, but the tragedy in the Havana
Harbor quickly kindled the fires of martial excitement and in Colorado, as
in the whole nation, the people prepared for war. President McKinley
appointed a commission to investigate the "Maine" explosion, and when this
committee made its formal report, which was sent to Congress by the
President, the warlike spirit of the country was expressed in the
determination to drive Spain out of the Western Hemisphere. Nothing more
remained but to declare war, which was done by Congress on April 25th. On
April 23d, President McKinley, as authorized by Congress, issued a
proclamation calling for 125,000 volunteers for two years' service or for
the duration of the war. Within an incredibly short time this number was
secured and on May 25th 75,000 more volunteers were called.
Colorado the quota fixed under the two calls of the President was: one
regiment of infantry, two troops of cavalry and one battery of artillery,
consisting in all of about sixteen hundred men. Military affairs in the
state had been at low ebb for several years prior to April, 1898, but when
the first rumors of friction between Spain and America became current,
recruiting was vastly stimulated. There were two partial regiments of
infantry, three small cavalry troops and the Chaffee Light Artillery in
Colorado and these forces quickly approached war strength in the few
months just before the declaration of war.
After hostilities were
in force Governor Adams issued a mobilization order to all the Colorado
troops and on April 29th they were assembled. Camp was made in Denver,
near the City Park, which site became known as Camp Adams, in honor of the
governor. Hardly a week passed before one full regiment of infantry, two
troops of cavalry and a battery of artillery, which filled the quota, were
ready for active service.
The First Regiment
The First Regiment of Colorado Infantry was mustered into the
service of the United States on the 1st of May, 1898. The field and staff
officers, appointed by Governor Adams, were:
Irving Hale, of
Henry B. McCoy, of Pueblo, lieutenant colonel.
Cassius M. Moses, of Pueblo, major.
Charles H. Anderson, of Denver,
Dr. Clayton Parkhill, of Denver, surgeon.
Dr. Louis H.
Kemble, of Denver, surgeon.
Dr. Charles E. Locke, of Denver, assistant
Alexander McD. Brooks, of Denver, adjutant.
Sawyer, of Denver, adjutant.
David L. Fleming, of Leadville, chaplain.
There were twelve companies in the First Regiment, each company
representing a group of towns or a city. Companies A and C were enlisted
mostly from Pueblo; Companies B, E, I and K from Denver; Companies F and L
from Lead-ville; Company G from Cripple Creek; Company H from Boulder; and
Company M from Colorado Springs. The company officers were:
Company A, John S. Stewart, captain; William F. Dortenbach, first
lieutenant; Samuel E. Thomas, second lieutenant.
Company B, Frank W.
Carroll, captain; Charles B. Lewis, first lieutenant; Charles E. Hooper,
Company C, Ewing E. Booth, captain; William H.
Sweeney, first lieutenant; Willard P. Bidwell, second lieutenant.
Company D, John A. Taylor, captain; George Borstadt, first lieutenant;
Albert J. Luther, second lieutenant.
Company E, Kyle Rucker, Captain;
Clarence W. Lothrop, first lieutenant; Rice W. Means, second lieutenant.
Company F, G. Ralph Cummings, captain; Charles S. Haughwout, first
lieutenant; Willard G. Riggs, second lieutenant.
Company G, David P.
Howard, captain; Thomas C. Brown, first lieutenant; Walter P. Burke,
Company H, Charles B. Eastman, captain; Charles H.
Wilcox, first lieutenant; Fred L. Perry, second lieutenant.
William R. Grove, captain; Charles H. Hilton, Jr., first lieutenant;
Charles O. Zollars, second lieutenant.
Company K, William A. Cornell,
captain; William J. Vannice, first lieutenant; Ralph B. Lister, second
Company L, David P. LaSalle, captain; Cornelius F.
O'Keefe, first lieutenant; Franklin Ballou, Jr., second lieutenant.
Company M, Clyde C. Spicer, captain; Charles H. Sleeper, first lieutenant;
James H. Gowdy, second lieutenant.
The First was a regiment of
picked men in every sense of the word. The number of applicants for
enlistment was far in excess of the number desired, consequently only
those best fitted and trained for military life were accepted. At first it
was thought that the regiment would be sent to Cuba and among the early
orders the First was included among the regiments ordered to Chickamauga
Park, Tennessee. However, the Philippines became the center of interest
before the regiment moved and on May 13th orders were received directing
the First to entrain for San Francisco, thence across the Pacific to
On the 14th the regiment marched proudly into Denver,
where a national flag was presented by the Sons of the Revolution. On the
next day a handsome regimental flag, the gift of Mrs. William Cooke
Daniels, was presented to the First with appropriate ceremony.
17th was the day of farewells to the regiment. The whole command,
consisting of 1,086 men, accompanied by the regimental band, marched
through the City of Denver, along streets black with cheering crowds, to
the Union Station. It is said that never before, nor since, has such a
patriotic celebration occurred in Denver. Four trains awaited with steam
up to carry the soldiers west-ward, while the men hurriedly said their
The First arrived at San Francisco on May 21st and
encamped at Camp Merritt, their section of which was called Camp Hale, in
honor of the colonel. While here, orders from the War Department directed
that each company be recruited to a strength of 104 men, and accordingly a
detachment of the First returned to Denver, obtaining 200 new men in quick
time. The new soldiers arrived at San Francisco June 24th one week after
the regiment had sailed for Manila; one half of the detachment followed on
August 1st, arriving at Manila September 1st, and the remainder started
August 21st, were delayed at Honolulu, and did not disembark at the
Philippine port until November 23d.
The main body of the First
were landed at Paranaque and pitched tents at Camp Dewey. After a week
spent here the active work of the campaign was begun. Regimental
activities for a time consisted mainly of reconnoitering, road making,
trench digging, guard duty, with a few skirmishes thrown in for
excitement. The First was ordered to participate in the attack upon the
City of Manila, which occurred August 13th, and in this engagement the
Colorado boys conducted themselves brilliantly. Late in the morning of
that day, after some artillery preparation, Colonel Hale was ordered to
lead his regiment against the Spanish fortifications and capture Fort San
Antonio. This was done in one charge, while the regimental band played "A
Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," and the flag raised over the fort by
Adjutant Brooks, Lieutenant Colonel McCoy and Lieutenant Lister was the
first to be flown over the Manila defenses. Shortly after, Color Serg.
Richard Holmes and the Color Guard raised the flag at Malate, a suburb of
Manila, which was the first national emblem within the city.
predominant part played by the First Colorado in the capture of the
Philippine city led to several promotions. Colonel Hale was promoted to
the rank of brigadier general by President McKinley and Governor Adams
advanced Lieut. Col. Henry B. McCoy to the command of the regiment, while
Maj. Cassius M. Moses became lieutenant colonel.
months afterward the duties of the First were not greatly hazardous,
consisting of guard and outpost work, part of the time at Bilibid Prison.
In February, 1899, the insurgents under Aguinaldo became
troublesome and the First became part of the force which captured
blockhouses 5 and 6, also participated in the recovery of the Manila
water-reservoir, and the pumping-station. Until late in March the regiment
then remained on guard at the pumping-station, with frequent small
engagements with the natives who were conducting a guerrilla warfare.
Companies A, M and a portion of E, under Lieutenant Colonel Moses,
engaged in the advance toward Malolos on March 25th and fought bitterly
with the insurgents during the entire day. On March 31st, Companies C, D,
E and G participated in a movement against Mariquina and San Mateo,
capturing the enemy entrenchments under extreme difficulties. During the
latter part of May and the forepart of June, Companies A, C, F, G. K and L
were in the advance upon Antipolo and Morong, under General Lawton. The
next expedition, also under the command of the brave Lawton, in which
Colorado troops engaged, was against a large force of Filipinos near
Paranaque and Las Pinas. The American force, consisting of about five
thousand men, was composed of regulars, with the exception of a troop of
Nevada cavalry and Companies B, D, E, F, I and M of the First Colorado
under Colonel McCoy. Several casualties were inflicted upon the First in
the capture of Las Pinas, but during the whole of the fighting the
Colorado soldiers bore a conspicuous part and received warm praise for
their gallantry. This was the last active field service in which the
Colorado men .participated. On June nth they went into camp at Manila,
were assigned to guard duty at the waterworks, where the greater portion
of the regiment remained until departure for the states.
for embarkation were received July 4th and on the next day camp at the
waterworks was "struck." On the 6th the regiment marched into the City of
Manila, boarded the transport Warren on the 15th, and sailed on the i8th,
just one year after the troops had arrived on Philippine soil. The
transport stopped at Nagasaki and Yokohama, Japan, on the return voyage
and arrived at San Francisco on August i6th, there to be met by Governor
Charles S. Thomas, Adj. Gen. J. C. Overmeyer and other Colorado men of
prominence. The regiment was mustered out at the Presidio on September 8th
and reached Denver on September 14th. In their home city the men were
accorded a gigantic welcome. A fund of $35,000 was raised by popular
subscription to provide for their transportation home, in order that they
might keep the funds which had been given for that purpose by the
Government; new colors were presented; addresses were made and a banquet
given; and, as a fitting reward, subscriptions were raised to provide for
a bronze medal for each soldier, commemorative of their heroic service
upon foreign soil.
Many changes occurred in the personnel of the
First Colorado during the period of service. Officers were changed
frequently and many men from the ranks received commissions. Fully 10 per
cent of the regiment had received discharges at Manila, preferring to
remain in the service. Most of these men enlisted in the Thirty-Sixth U.
S. Volunteer Regiment, being organized at the time the First sailed for
One of the features of the First Colorado's war service is the
fact that so few men died of disease, a fact which proves the excellent
physical character of the men, and the efficient sanitary methods of the
regiment. The list of those who died in the service, either from Spanish
bullets or sickness, follows:
Aldrich, Archie A., Company E, died
at Manila, April 18, 1899, of wounds.
Bell, William H., Company C,
died of smallpox, January 11, 1899.
Bowser, Clifford H., Company K,
died of wounds, June 9, 1899.
Bryant, R. M., Company K, died of
variola, February 25, 1899.
Bush, W. H., Company I, died of dysentery,
March 24, 1899.
Carlson, Charles, Company L, killed in action,
February 5, 1899.
Daniel, Elmer E., unassigned, septicemia, at San
Francisco, August 1, 1898.
Dawson, B. W., unassigned, died of
remittent malarial fever, at Honolulu, October 24, 1898.
J., Company F, variola, February 26, 1899.
Doran, Elmer F., Company I,
killed in action, February 5, 1899.
Downing, Walter, Company L, acute
dysentery, November 22, 1898.
Doxsee, Harry L., Company C, killed in
action. May 23, 1899.
Duval, Frank A., Company F, died of wounds, June
Falkenburg, Harry C, musician, died of smallpox, January 20,
Haviland, Albert, Company F, variola, February 24, 1899.
Hegewer, Bert C, unassigned, spinal meningitis, at San Francisco, August
Jefferson, W. S., Company G, typhoid fever, at San
Francisco, November 20, 1898.
Lillie, Charles, Company I, acute
diarrhea, February 10, 1899.
Lindsey, Frank B., Company L, died at sea
on homeward voyage, August 8, 1899.
Loosa, August H., unassigned,
septicemia, at San Francisco, August 5, 1898.
McDowell, Harry A.,
Company M, suicide, December 4, 1898.
McMurray, William S., Company C,
accidentally drowned, November 2, 1898.
Neptune, Frank D., Company H,
at San Francisco, August 22, 1899.
Phillippi, Leonard E., Company G,
died of wound, April i, 1899.
Phoenix, Charles, Company I, died of
wound, August 18, 1898.
Pynchon, Edward R., Company K, died of wound,
March 20, 1899.
Ramsay, Arthur, Company F, spinal meningitis, February
Reisig, Harry J., Company M, July 14, 1899.
Norbert, Company B, typhoid fever, October 4, 1898.
I., Company I, smallpox, December 20, 1898.
Scroggs, John A., Company
A, acute malaria, October 4, 1898.
Smith, Bernard J., Company B,
variola, March 18, 1899.
Springstead, F. E., Company K, killed m
action, August i, 1898.
Stewart, Capt. John S., Company A, killed in
action, March 25, 1899.
Sullivan, Niel C, Company H, spinal
meningitis, June 4, 1898.
Tinnerholm, Ivan, Company H, tuberculosis,
at sea on homeward voyage, August 2, 1899.
Warrington, George W.,
Company F, dysentery, July 8, 1899.
White, Cass, Company D, killed in
action, February 5, 1899.
Whiteside, Thomas F., Company M, at Manila,
March 23, 1899.
Wise, Walter W., spinal meningitis, at sea, July 5,
Service Of Other Colorado Troops
As stated before, the remainder of Colorado's troops in the
Spanish-American war consisted of two organizations of cavalry and one
battery of artillery. There were really three small cavalry troops in the
state, Troop A at Leadville, and Troops B and C at Denver but A and B
received precedence over C as ranking organizations. Troops A and B were
mustered into the United States service on May 6th, the official date
being given as May 1st, however. The officers of Troop A were: Charles A.
McNutt, captain; John Harvey, Jr., first lieutenant; and Frederick A.
Follett, second lieutenant. Troop B was officered by: William G. Wheeler,
captain; Arthur L. B. Davies, first lieutenant; Francis A. Perry, second
lieutenant. These two troops were assigned to the Second United States
Volunteer Cavalry, under command of Col. Jay L. Torrey. The Colorado
troopers left Denver May 30th for Fort D. A. Russell, near Cheyenne,
Wyoming, and became the ranking troops of "Torrey's Rough Riders." On June
22d the regiment left Fort D. A. Russell and proceeded to join the Seventh
Army Corps, under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, at Jacksonville, Florida. Arrival was
made June 28th and camp was pitched at Panama Park, near the city. The
regiment, with the Seventh Corps, was destined for active service in Cuba,
also attack upon Havana, but the early closing of the campaign in that
country prevented the Second Cavalry from leaving its native soil. The
regiment remained in camp at Jacksonville until October 24, 1898, when it
was mustered out of the service. Five men of the Colorado contingent died
while in camp; these were:
Johnson, Ralph S., Troop B, died of fever,
September 10, 1898.
Moss, Peter E., Troop B, died of fever, September
Nellis, George G., Troop B, died of fever, September 15,
O'Brien, William J., Troop B, died of fever, September 13, 1898.
Woodhall, Serg. Thomas A., serving on Colonel Torrey's staff, died of
fever, October 2, 1898.
The Colorado Battery, formed from the
Chaffee Light Artillery, was not mustered into the United States service
until July 1, 1898. The officers were: Harry J. Parks, captain; John G.
Locke, first lieutenant; and John C. Exline, second lieutenant. The
organization was assigned as Battery A, First Colorado Volunteer
Artillery, but was known as an independent battery during the term of
service. On July 2, 1898, the battery was taken to Fort Logan, near
Denver, and there remained until August 12th, when it was transferred to
Fort Hancock, New Jersey, arriving August i6th. Here the battery stayed
until mustered out of the service November 7, 1898. No deaths occurred in
Battery A during this period.
Two other young men of Denver who
met death in the service were Herbert A. Lafferty and Thomas R. Sullivan.
Lafferty, a graduate of West Point in February, 1898, became a second
lieutenant in the Seventh U. S. Infantry, served in Cuba, and died at
Montauk Point, New York, September 17, 1898 of wounds received at
Santiago, Cuba. Sullivan, formerly member of Troop B, Colorado National
Guard, was discharged March 9, 1898, and became first lieutenant in
Company I, First U. S. Volunteer Engineers, contracted fever in Porto Rico
and died in New York City November 3, 1898.
History of Colorado
Source: History of Colorado, Wilbur
Fisk Stone, Editor, Volume I, Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing
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