Pennsylvania Volunteers
in the Spanish-American War


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First Regiment PA History & Soldiers

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The First Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, was Mustered In to the service of the United States at Mt. Gretna, Pa., on May 10th and 11th, 1898. The Secretary of War advised the Governor of Pennsylvania that it was the wish of the President in recruiting the quota of volunteers assigned to Pennsylvania that the National Guard of the State should be drawn upon for the reason that they were armed, equipped and drilled.

The First Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, was made up largely from the First Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, On April 28, this regiment, in compliance with the orders of the Governor, reported with full ranks at Mt. Gretna, Lebanon county, Pa., which place had been fixed as the rendezvous for State troops. The regiment was composed of ten companies. On May 2, it was inspected by the Governor of Pennsylvania, after which the roll of the regiment was called and the officers and men in that manner indicating their intention as to volunteering in the United States Volunteer service. The regiment was Mustered In to the service of the United States with an enlisted strength of 754 men; commissioned offers, 40 men for a total of 794.

Colonel Wendell P. Bowman, who commanded the first Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania, and was commissioned as Colonel of the First Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, was seriously injured on May 2, 1898, at Mount Gretna, and was unable to be mustered. The regiment entered the service of the United States under the command of Lieutenant Colonel J. Lewis Good.

On Monday, May 16, in accordance with orders from the War Department, the regiment left Mt. Gretna, Pa., for Chickamauga Park, Ga. where it arrived on the 1st, and was assigned to the Third Brigade, Second, Division, First Army Corp, Department of the gulf. General Orders No. 61, Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant General's Office, dated June 1, 1898, directed the recruitment of the several companies of the regiment to 106 men each. Recruiting officers were detailed to proceed to Philadelphia for that purpose, and on June 30, 1898, the recruiting had been completed and the strength of the regiment had been increased to 1, 1 00 men.

On August 17, 1898, Lieutenant Colonel J. Lewis Good was Mustered in as Colonel, to date from May 12, 1898, vice Colonel Wendell P. Bowman who was mustered, and hose resignation was accepted as May 1, 1898.

On August 28, orders were issued for the regiment to move to Knoxville, Tenn., and on August 29, at 3 A. M., it marched to Rossville, eight miles distant from its former camp, there embarked on cars and proceeded to Camp John S. Poland, Knoxville, Tenn., where it arrived at 4 P. M. on August 29.

The regiment remained at this place until September 14, 1898, when it was ordered to proceed to Philadelphia to be mustered out of the service. It arrived in Philadelphia on the evening of the 16th, where it was received by the Veteran Corps of the First Regiment Infantry, National Guard of Pennsylvania, a detachment from the Nineteenth Regiment Infantry, National Guard of Pennsylvania, Geo G. Meade Post No. 1, of the Grand Army of the Republic, all forming an escort to the regiment. A banquet was tendered the regiment in the armory. On September 17, all enlisted men of the regiment were given a furlough for the 30 days prior to being mustered out of the service of the Untied States. On October 16 they reported for duty and the final muster out occurred on October 26, 1898. On October 27, 1898, the regiment as an organization participated in the Peace Jubilee celebration in Philadelphia.

During this service the First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, lost two commissioned officers and fifteen enlisted men by death. The Regimental Surgeon, Major Lawrence Savery Smith, was place on detached service with the Reserve Hospital First Army Corp at Porto RiCo. He contracted typhoid fever and died on the hospital ship "Relief" August 17, 1898, while en route from Porto Rico to New York.

Source: Record of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish-American War, 1898, Thomas J. Stewart, Adjutant General, 1900.

Spanish-American War Pension Records

Spanish American War Pension Records typically have birth dates, addresses of next of kin, medical information, proof of marriage, proof of children's births, a summary of military service, and death certificates. To learn how to send away for pension records, go to Pension Records.

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Disclaimer: Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information of the PA Spanish American War rosters, all transcriptions are subject to human error, and researchers should always check the original source.