Pennsylvania Volunteers
in the Spanish-American War


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Spanish-American War
Westmoreland County Pennsylvania, 1898

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 succede 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, boy 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 18th, passing through Greensburg about half past eight the next morning, on their road to California and thence to the Philippines. A stop of half hours 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 earth works, and by July 31, with the aid of the 10th regiment 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 positions

Source: Boucher, John N.. History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. New York: Lewis Pub. Co., 1906. Databases

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