Spanish-American War News

July 5, 1899

FROM MISS DELLA WEEKS - Corregidor, P. L., July 5, 1899

To Mrs. L. S. Hutchison, Lake city, Iowa

My Dear Friend: The aprons you so kindly sent me have all been received. Accept my thanks. I appreciate them, coming as they do. I feel you are interested in me and my work. You ladies who contributed to the fund sent to San Francisco can feel that the money was used at at time when it was needed.

So far here our regiment has had less sickness than any on the island. It seems the good Lord has been watching over our brave boys, for so few have been wounded, so far, or killed in battle. Our boys, especially the First Battalion, have seen continual service on the firing line since February - have been in all the battles since that time. I was sent to San Fernando last Thursday. The boys are in native houses. Am glad for when they come in they can rest better in a house than a tent.

I am at Corregidor Convalescent hospital, 30 miles from Manila. At present have but one Co. A boy, Harry Arney. He is improving nicely. Please tell his mother he is doing well. Am in hopes he will be sent home but cannot tell yet. In this tropical climate when any one gets sick it takes months to fully regain strength. We are in hopes that our stay here will be short so we are anxious to send all home.

I must close, thanking you and all the kind people there who are interested in the 51st. While at present am not with the regiment as there is no place for me on the field, I do all I can for the boys here and visit all the sick when I go to Manila, so I am interested in them just as much as if I was with them. I hope to go home when they do.

Sincerely yours, Della Weeks

In a letter to Aunt Becky Young since the above was written Miss Weeks says: If the boys are not sent home soon there will not be many to come home. So many are sick. I have been at Manila with a permit to take all the 51st boys to my hospital at Corregidor. I saw so many poor sick boys; they were so glad to see me. I took ten, but sixteen were too sick to go so I promised to go for them as soon as they were well enough to be moved. I wish so many times the mothers could stand by their beds when they are so sick.

August 8, 1899


The people of Lake City are in deepest mourning, caused by the announcement of the death of W. E. Hutchison, the soldier son of Hon. and Mrs. S. T. Hutchison of this city.

On Tuesday morning the following cablegram was received:
Recd. 8:40a.m. Aug. 8, 1899.
Manila - Cable

Hutchison, Lake City, Iowa
Walter dead - acute dysentery-remains Sheridan- Kihlbom condolences - Hull.

He has given his service, his life for the stars and stripes. None more noble, more pure than he has given up home and life itself in teh service of his country.

The family have the deepest sympathy of all in their bereavement. Very comforting must be the assurances of tenderest sympathy tendered by friends at home and abroad. Such tributes, coupled with the assurance: "He doeth all things well," must be the stay in time of such a sorrow.

The ship Sheridan will leave the port of Minilla this week and with fair sailing should arrive at San Francisco about the 10th of next month.

August 9, 1899

L. W. Pangborn writes E. W. Townsend that he is in San Francisco and expects to be mustered out with his regiment, the 1st Nebraska, in about two weeks.

Fred Hibbs and Herbert Berry were still on the fighting line at San Fernando at last account, in reasonably good health and spirits. Their parents received letters from them yesterday morning dated July 2.

A letter from John L. Eakin was received yesterday morning by his relatives. He is in San Francisco, and is getting along well. He has relatives in the city who will afford him every comfort should he desire to live with them instead of in camp. He is well off where he is, and would not care to leave the coast just now, even if he could do so as well as not. He will remain in San Francisco and be mustered out with his regiment, the 51st Iowa, upon its arrival from the Phillippines.

Mr. and Mrs. R. Arney received a letter yesterday morning from their son Harry, in the Phillippines. Harry went into Manila hospital on the 28th of last April and after a few weeks was removed to the hospital thirty miles distant at the mouth of Manila bay, where he still remains. At the date of the letter he had lost 30 lbs in weight and is a mere skeleton of his former self. He expressed great hopes of being able to bear the strain of the return journey homeward this fall, but says that he has abandoned all hope of ever again being able to perform any manual labor. He expresses a hope of being able to fill an office position of some sort upon his recovery. We are glad to know that his chance of recovery is good, and hope to see him safe at home as soon as October or November next.

September 6, 1899

Manilla, Sept. 6. The Fifty-first Iowa, the last of the volunteers on duty in Luzon, has been withdrawn from Calulet barracks at Calucan, preparatory to starting home. The number who will sail is 806. Less than three hundred were on duty at the front when the order for relief came, 406 being on the sick list. The regiment has undergone hard outpost duty for three months, very much exposed to the rains. Seventy-five have re-enlisted. Although the Iowans took part in the fighting between Malolos and Fernando, not one was killed in battle. Thirty-nine were wounded and nine died of disease.

October 22, 1899

Letter From Fred V. Hibbs.
On Board the S. S. Senator
Mr. J. L. Hibbs

Dear Parents and Folks at home; As we expect to arrive in "Frisco Sunday, October 22, I will try and have a letter ready for you by the time we land. It has been so long since I last wrote that I hardly know where to commence. We were relieved from the firing line on September 6, our last advance being made on Angeles, and although we were in the thickest of the fight our loss was comparatively small, one man of our company receiving a slight wound below the knee.

We went into Manila, September 8 and were given Quartel Spanel, the best barracks in the city, which were formerly the barracks of the old 71st regiment of the Spanish army.

We were assigned to the Senator to sail the 22d of September. That morning we finished loading at 11:00 O'clock and went on board. We sailed at 4 that afternoon. The second day out, the sea was a little rough and we witnessed the same sea sickness that we did when we left San Francisco nearly a year before. Five days sailing brought us to Nagasaki. We reached the bay the evening of the 17th but did not pull into the harbor until the next morning.

They have no docks here but transport the people to the shore in what they call a sand pail, a flat shaped boat which they propel by one oar at the back. They have no horses but the men pull you around in their small carts called rikisha. Nagasaki is situated around a small bay which has an elevation in all directions, except towards the bay. The people are a much different class than any we have seen before, being very industrious and are turning their attention towards education. We sailed from Nagasaki October 1st for Yokohama by the way of the inlad sea.

We passed many islands of which nearly all were under cultivation, raising some fruit and rice but mostly vegetables. Both entrances to the inland sea are well fortified, their artillery being placed on the mountains on both sides, and as the entrance is very narrow, they could easily reach any boat that enters.

We reached Yokohama the evening of October 5th, and went ashore the next morning. We were well treated there by the American ladies.

In the afternoon we got on the train and went to Tokyo, a distance of about 18 miles. Here we got some rikishas and rode over quite a portion of the city. It being a city of nearly two million inhabitants, we could see comparatively little of it in so short a time. The buildings here (except those belonging to the Government) are usually small. The government and church buildings are immense.

We came back to Yokohama in the evening and went aboard our ship to sail for "home" but the next day was rainy and stormy and we did not leave until the morning of the 6th. The first day out the sea was very rough; that night we anchored for about 10 hours. Since then we have had pretty pleasant sea except the last two days but this time the wind and swells are with us and we are making good time.

I was detailed the first day on the ship to work in the hospital. We have had considerable sickness this trip. One man by the name of Kissick, who had a relapse of the typhoid fever died at Nagasaki. Private Read of our Co. was struck over the eye by a broken sail, causing a fracture of the skull, but at present is getting along nicely. Herbert Berry has been sick for four weeks but is up again now. Arney and myself are in the best of health.


We arrived here all O.K. this afternoon at one o'clock, and having heard of the report about our boat sinking I sent you a telegram at my earliest opportunity. There are several here from Des Moines. The Frisco people came out in launch boats to meet us. They are going to give us a grand reception. I do not know when we will be mustered out but understand it will be about the fourth of Nov. and as far as I know we will be taken to Council Bluffs.

It had been three months since we received any mail so you may know we were glad to get it. We will get off the boat tomorrow and will probably be taken to the same camping grounds that we left nearly a year ago. I will close hoping to be home soon.

Your So, Fred V. Hibbs

October 23, 1899

Warm Welcome Accorded The Fifty-First Iowa At San Francisco Monday

Will be Mustered Out and Start for Home in Two or Three Weeks.

San Francisco, Oct. 23. The transport Senator, which arrived here yesterday, with the Fifty-first Iowa, came to the dock today. The soldiers were landed and marched to the ferry depot, where an elaborate breakfast was served. Governor Shaw and may other prominent Iowans were present and speeches appropriate to the occasion were delivered. After breakfast the men lined up for the march to Presidio. The march through the streets of the city was accomplished under the same enthusiastic condition which greeted other returning regiments. The men were cheered all along the line. Each man was decorated with flowers and flags. The camping ground formerly occupied by the Montana regiment will shelter the Iowans until they are mustered out, probably in two or three weeks.

The Fifty-first regiment has lost forty-one men by death. Forty-one homes will not be gladdened when the regiment returns to Iowa. Some died in San Francisco, some in Manilla and some at sea. They were brave young Iowa boys, whose lives would have been of use for many years in many places. They chose to offer it to their country and their country took it. They will never be forgotten by the state in which they served. Those upon whom their loss falls heaviest have the one great consolation of knowing it was because of their patriotism and bravery they met their death.

October 28, 1899

Expect to Start Home Thursday and Reach Council Bluffs Monday.

Volunteer Camp, San Francisco, Cal., Oct. 28. - Special; There is very little beyond the ordianry taking place in the camp of the Fifty-First Iowa these days. The boys are absolutely unrestricted in their privileges and do not spend much of their time within the camp lines. A great many of them have furnished rooms down in the city and only come out to the Presidio when they are required to do so. It is just a good rest for all of them and they are not at all slow in taking advantage of it.

The preliminary examinations by the regular army surgeons were completed to-day, and they report the men in good condition, considering all that has fallen to their lot.

Lieutenant Reed, adjutant of the First battalion, who has been on detached duty in the general hospital here during the time we have been absent, was returned to duty with the regiment to-day.

The arrangements are all made for the journey home. It is now intended to leave here Thursday evening over the Southern Pacific, going to Ogden and thence to Salt Lake City and over the Rio Grande to Denver. It is expected that Denver will be reached early Sunday morning, where a stop of three or four hours will be made to let the boys rest up for the end of the journey. The arrival at Council bluffs will be early on the morning of the 6th. And then Iowa can do the rest. Adjutant General Byers is to accompany the train, and he and the colonel will undertake the management of the members of the Fifty-first. No hard task for them, either, for the boys all have confidence in their colonel and former major.

Some of the officers of the regiment, who have not had the interests of us all at heart, who have always bullied and tyrannied the boys, stooped to all manner of petty actions to make the existence of the enlistment harder, are making preparations to go home between two days, as their reception at the hands of the boys would not be very cordial if they lingered around very long after the muster-out.