PA Spanish-American War
Letter Home from Charles ??
The Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment Infantry was composed of volunteers from the counties of Beaver, Washington, Greene, Fayette, and Westmoreland in western Pennsylvania. They mustered-in by May 12, 1898 and embarked from San Francisco on the U.S. Transport "Zelandia" on June 14th and arrived in Manila Bay on July 17th, 1898. They saw action in and around Manila and were welcomed home in August, 1899 at a ceremony in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh
Charles (last name unknown) to his mother:
SENATE CHAMBER. Honolulu, H.I.
June 24, 1898
My Dear Dear Mother:
I am taking in the sights today and while being shown through the senate chambers I have an oportunity to write a few lines. I am highly pleased with Honolulu. The people here are very different from what I considered them to be. The Americans are an enlightened class of people and have made us welcome in every way possible. They handle us with kid gloves so to speak.
I am sitting on a nice big cushion chair at a writing desk used by one of the Senators just under Queen Lillís picture 12 feet high and 5 feet wide, life size. The palace where she lives is simply magnificent. Large palm trees all around it and a hundred other species of trees that I am not able to name just now. What I want to do is to bet you know how I am and how I am enjoying these grand sights that when I was a small boy going to public school studying in geography about the Sandwich Islands I thought I never would see in my life.
I shook hands with President Dole this morning and now we are awaiting dinner to be served our regiment in the plaza in front of this grand building. I only wish that you were by my side now to see these sights for I know you would almost think you were in the garden of eden. The people here are generally in favor of annexation and they are waiting daily to hear that our Congress has made them one of our beloved union. Our Colonel stood in front of Queen Lilís palace this morning and shook hands with a steady stream of people for 1 1/2 hours.
All that time I had to be with him else I could find more time to write. I met several native Pennsylvanians already and they say they all came here with nothing and now are generally wealthy people. I met one man by the name of Wagner from Beaver County. I never saw so much fruit as I have here at one time. Bananas, pine apples, figs, papas, water melons, lemons, pea nuts, cocoa nuts, and all manners of good things that you know I like. I have been cautious though not to eat too much for we are not used to it.
They say that we can easily stand the climate in Manila and as far as a battle goes there is no danger of us not getting accostumed to it and the stories that are affloat for there will be now and if there is we will take them at one sweep for the army there is made up of 16 year old boys and we are armed to the teeth ready for anything. The people here wonít take a cent for postage and send our letters home free. What more can we ask for.
Did you notice the Colonelís signature on my last letter to you? When we are in Manila that is the way our mail will go home. Our government means to see that every boy in itís army can write to his mother no matter whether he has any money or not. The Colonelís stamp is as good as the postage only it has to be paid at the place it is sent to. I am feeling first straight and never was in better health. On the ship I have the privilage to go where I please and I enjoy it very much so you see thus far it has been nothing but a pleasure trip instead of one of hardships. But, if hardships do come you know Mother that your son will not be the one to flinch from them I never was in favor of annexing the Hawaiian Islands, but I am now. I wrote to Jim and Joe yesterday on the ship and am sorry I have not the time to write and tell them of the sights I am seeing here.
I am proud of the day I joined the 10th Regiment now for we have the best regiment that ever left the state of Pennsylvania and we are taking a longer trip and seeing more sights than any regiment in the world ever has before. I am going to do my best to get my discharge in Manila if I get through the Campaign and go home through England so I will have traveled around the world. The stores and business houses are just like ours are at home and more of our Pennsylvania towns except Pittsburg and Allegheny can come up to it for business. I do not notice the heat here although the thermometer stands at 90 degrees.
I must close. I will write another letter home before we leave here. My love to Father and all the family
Your loving son Charles
Mother save all the letters I send home during the war for I want to keep them."
Source: Thrilling Stories of the War by Returned Heroes, Young, Hon. James Rankin, 1899
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