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This regiment was composed of the twelve companies which formerly constituted the First Regiment Iowa National Guard. It was mustered into the service of the United States at Camp McKinley, Des Moines, Iowa, by Captain J. A. Olmsted, of the Regular Army, June 2, 1898. It left the State on June 11, 1898, and was conveyed by rail to Jacksonville, Fla., and, upon its arrival there, was assigned to the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps. It moved from Jacksonville to Savannah, Ga., on October 25, 1898, and from thence to Havana, Cuba, December 19, 1898. The following account of its movements and operations, during its term of service, is condensed from the official report of its commander, Colonel William G. Dows.
Upon the arrival of the regiment at Jacksonville, June 14, 1898, Colonel Dows reported in person to Major General Fitz Hugh Lee for orders, and was assigned to the Third Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Henry C. Hasbrouck, of the Regular Army. The location of the first camp proved to be a mistake, for, as soon as the rains began, the ground was flooded, and it was found necessary to move to higher ground, which was done, and the new camp, near Panama Park, about three miles from Jacksonville, was found to be a great improvement; but the long, hot summer which followed proved a severe test to the health and strength of the men, who had been brought up in a more temperate climate. During its stay at this camp the regiment was recruited to the maximum strength. and was brought to a high standard of drill and discipline. On October 25, 1898, Colonel Dows received orders to proceed with his regiment to Savannah, Ga. The camp at Savannah was pleasantly located, and the officers and men of the regiment greatly enjoyed their stay there. On December 19, 1998, the regiment was ordered to embark on transport, and was conveyed to Havana, Cuba, where it arrived December 21, 1898. Two days later the regiment marched through the city of Havana, and thence to a small station called Quemadas - a part of the town of Marianoo - eight miles from Havana. The subsequent service of the regiment, while it remained on the island of Cuba, was of a more or less arduous character. Companies were detailed for the purpose of guarding the water supply for the city of Havana, performing provost guard duty, and taking charge of some of the forts and public property that had been surrendered by the Spanish Government. During this period the regiment enjoyed a brief relaxation from the monotony of camp and garrison life. With its brigade and division it was ordered on a march, through a part of the island, which occupied several days.
On January 1, 1899, the regiment participated in the parade of troops, and the formal ceremonies attending the lowering of the Spanish flag and the raising of the flag of the United States, in the city of Havana. The regiment remained on the Island of Cuba until April 4, 1899, upon which date it received orders to return to Savannah, Ga., at which place it was mustered out of the service of the United States, on May 13, 1899.
In concluding his official report, Colonel Dows commends in the highest terms the conduct of the officers and men of his regiment, and calls attention to the fact that the Regular Army officers, under whom it served, had given the regiment many compliments in their reports to the War Department, for its efficiency in drill and discipline. It will thus be seen that the Forty-ninth Regiment made the most effectual use of its limited opportunities. It maintained the high record established by Iowa soldiers in the Civil War, and, had the opportunity come to it, would no doubt have won distinction on the field of battle. It is, therefore, fully entitled to an honored place in the history of those Iowa regiments which performed such service as was required of them, in connection with the Spanish-American War.