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RINGGOLD COUNTY, IOWA and
THE SPANISH-AMERICAN & PHILIPPINE WARS

From The Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in Miscellaneous Organizations

On April 23, 1898, President William McKINLEY declared war against Spain and called for 125,000 volunteers for the purpose of prosecuting for what would become the Spanish-American War. The Governor of Iowa was advised via telegram from the Secretary of War on April 25, 1898, that Iowa's quota would consist of four infantry regiments of the National Guard. Consequently, the commanding officers were instructed to report immediately with their regiments to Camp McKinley, located on the State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, Iowa. The assembled regiments were under the direction of Captain J. A. OLMSTED of the 9th Regiment of the U. S. Cavalry, then on duty with the Iowa National Guard and detailed by the War Department as the Mustering Officer for the State of Iowa. The 1st Regiment of the Iowa National Guard became the 49th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were changed respectively to the 50th, 51st, and 52nd Regiments of Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Iowa was also called upon to furnish two Batteries of Light Artillery, one company for the U. S. Signal Corps, and one company of Colored Regiment.

51st REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY

The 51st Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry was organized from the 3rd Regiment Iowa National Guard, and ordered into quarters at Camp McKinley on April 25, 1898. Colonel LOPER was assigned to the Philippine expeditionary force on June 2, 1898, directing him to proceed with the regiment to San Francisco, California. The Regiment was mustered into service with sixty-five men to each company and left Des Moines on June 5th, taking three separte trains to San Francisco. They arrived on June 10th and were quartered at Camp Merritt. The location of the camp was subsequently chanaged to the Presidio, a more sheltered and comfortable place as compared to the ocean front exposure to fog and cold wind at Camp Merritt.

A series of unavoidable delays stalled the regiment's embarkment to te Philippine Islands. On November 3, 1898, the 51st embarked on the transport "Pennsylvania." The "Pennsylvania" reached Honolulu on November 11th, remaining there for four days. Upon reaching Manila Bay December 7, 1898, the regiment was assigned to duty with the 1st Separate Brigade, 8th Army Corps of the Department of the Pacific under the command of General M. P. MILLER.

After living ninety-four days aboard the "Pennsylvania," the 51st landed at Cavite on January 31, 1899. Here, the 51st performed outpost duty in the vicinity of San Roque. The regiment was frequently exposed to fire from the enemy. Finally, the insurgents made an advance on Febuary 15 but they were quickly driven back. On February 18th a batallion from the 51st was ordered to Manila. Major DUGGAN and the 1st Battalion landed on the Luneta and reported to General ANDERSON on the south line located approximately 5 miles south of Manila.

Outpost duty was perilous, under consistant harassing fire from enemy sharpshooters concealed in bamboo and jungle growth. During a scouting expedition, Private Fred BORDUWINE from Company H was wounded in the leg on March 28th and taken captive. Captain WORTHINGTON immediately took a party of eighteen volunteers from Company H and six volunteers from Company A, beginning a diligent search for Private BORDUWINE. The search party met with the enemy and during the ensuing conflict several of the enemy was either killed or wounded. The Americans retreated without loss, however, Private BORDUWINE remained missing. It was later learned that he was taken to Milibay, presumed to have died at the hands of his captors. He was never heard of by the Americans again.

The 51st played in important role in the successful campaign which captured Quingua under the command of Lieutenant Colonel MILLER. By this time, Colonel LOPER was ill and unable to assume his duties as commander.

On April 25th, the 51st, with no support and without any aid outside of a single rapid-fire gun, capture San Fernando. Here, the 51st remained for several weeks, enjoying a well-earned rest. With the onset of the rainy season, many of the men became ill.

The Americans were engaged in conflicts with the enemy on May 25th, 26th, and 31st. On June 16 of 1899, the enemy launched an attack upon the Americans at San Fernando with the 51st bearing its full part in defense. During this engagement, five men from the regiment were wounded. Throughout the remainder of June, the Americans bore night attacks upon the outposts which wounded serveral more men of the regiment.

Lieutenant Guy E. LOGAN commanded a scouting partin on June 21, 1899, seeking out enemy outposts. Ten parties of the regiment marched against the enemy at Calulut on August 9, 1899, meeting with considerable resistance. By this time the regiment had suffered greatly, reduced in number from disease and wounds. The Americans took Calulut on August 11th.

The 51st was relieved by a battalion of the 22nd Infantry on September 4, 1899. Upon the regiment's departure from San Fernando, General McARTHUR addressed the men, saying, "God bless the Iowa boys; mayyou have a safe voyage home. We will endeavor to complete the work which you have so well begun."

The 51st embarked on the transport "Senator" on September 22, 1899, arriving in San Francisco on October 22, 1899. The regiment was mustered out of service at the Presidio on November 2, 1899. Colonel LOPER concluded his official report by stating, "They were gentlement as well as soldiers, and they did not fail to uphold the honor of the regiment and the dignity of the State from which they were sent."

SOLDIER'S NAME RESIDENCE ** NATIVITY ENLISTMENT DATE & COMMENTS
LOPER, John C.
age 47
Colonel
Des Moines IA Ohio 28 Apr 1898
MILLER,
Marcellus M.
age 45
Lieutenant Colonel
Bedford IA Virginia 28 Apr 1898
DUGGAN, William J.
age 26
Major
Creston IA Iowa 28 Apr 1898
wounded
24 Apr 1899
Pulilan P.I.
HUME, John T.
age 34
Major
Des Moines IA Canada 26 Apr 1898
MOORE, Sterling P.
age 32
Major
Villisca IA Iowa 26 Apr 1898
DAVIDSON,
Joseph T.
age 47
Reg. Adjutant
Muscatine IA Ohio 26 Apr 1898
discharged
19 Aug 1899
for promotion
11th U.S. Cavalry
REED, George A.
age 30
Bat. Adjutant
Des Moines IA Iowa 26 Apr 1898
COMPTON,
Frank M.
age 30
Bat. Adjutant
Council Bluffs IA Illinois 26 Apr 1898
LANE, Herbert C.
age 29
Bat. Adjutant
Red Oak IA Ohio 26 Apr 1898
CADY, John D.
age 31
Quartermaster
Des Moines IA Iowa 24 Apr 1898
MATTHEWS,
Willard S. H.
age 38
Surgeon
Des Moines IA Iowa 24 Apr 1898
FAIRCHILD,
Davis S. Jr.
age 27
Asst. Surgeon
Clinton IA Minnesota 06 May 1898
MACRAE, Donald Jr.
age 28
Asst. Surgeon
Council Bluffs IA Iowa 06 May 1898
WILLIAMS,
Hermon P.
age 26
Chaplain
Ames IA Iowa 30 May 1898
BEDIER, Victor L.
age 21
Private
Company I
Ringgold Co. IA Iowa 11 May 1898
transferred 25 Jun 1898
U.S. Hospital Corps
51st Vol. Inf.
BLAKELEY,
Robert C.
age 28
Private
Company K
Redding IA Iowa 10 May 1898
M.I.A. 28 Mar 1899
BORDUWIN,
Alfred J.
age 21
Private
Company H
Des Moines IA Iowa 26 Apr 1898
M.I.A. 28 Mar 1899
GANDER, Gilbert M.
age 25
Private
Company F
Mount Ayr IA Iowa 19 May 1898
promoted Cpl
22 Oct 1899
GRIFFITH, Harry M.
age 25
Private
Company M
Mount Ayr IA Illinois 14 Jun 1898
JACKSON, William
age 21
Private
Company K
Kellerton IA Iowa 14 Jun 1898
JENNINGS,
Sheridan C.
age 33
Private
Company E
Ringgold Co. IA Ohio 23 May 1898
KIRKENDALL, James W.
age 18
Private
Company G
Afton IA Iowa 13 Jun 1898
GRIFFITH, Harry M.
age 25
Private
Company M
Mount Ayr IA Illinois 14 Jun 1898
LAIRD, Homer
age 23
Private
Company K
Kellerton IA Illinois 14 Jun 1898
discharged
25 Jan 1899
San Francisco CA
LUCAS, William E.
age 20
Private
Company G
Shannon City IA Iowa 13 Jun 1898
MERRILL, Wilbert
age 25
Private
Company G
Ringgold Co. IA Iowa 26 Apr 1898
MATHANEY, Samuel D.
age 30
Private
Company I
Leon IA Ohio 30 May 1898
discharged 01 Aug 1899
San Fernando P.I.
transferred to
11th U.S. Vol. Cav.
TIDRICK, Ralph W.
age 23
Private
Company M
Mount Ayr IA Iowa 13 Jun 1898

  Other Ringgold County Soldiers during the Spanish-American War include:

  • BIRTWELL, Thomas, born 1868; died 10 Mar 1935, interment Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr IA
  • BROWN, C. Leon, died 22 Aug 1898, interment Tingley Cemetery, Ringgold Co. IA
  • GROSE, George L., 1787-1936, interment Tingley Cemetery, Ringgold Co. IA
  • NICHOLS, Francis Marion, born 28 Sep 1868, died 29 Mar 1932, interment Graceland Cemetery, Creston IA
  •   SOURCE:  General Assembly under direction of Brig Gen. Guy E. LOGAN, Adjutant General of Iowa. "Early Military History of Iowa." Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in Miscellaneous Organizations of the Mexican War, Indian Campaigns, War of the Rebellion, and the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organizations. Vol VI, "Miscellaneous". Pp. 277-8, 507-527. ENGLISH, Emory H., State Printer; CHASSELL, E. D., State Binder. Des Moines. 1911.

    Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2009


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