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Roster of the North Carolina
Volunteers in
The Spanish-American War

1898 - 1899

  
 

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Sketch of First Regiment.

When war was declared against the Kingdom of Spain, and a call for volunteers was made by the President, North Carolina was among the first to respond, and her first offering was the "First Regiment."

Colonel Joseph F. Armfield, of Statesville, N. C., who had commanded the Fourth Regiment of North Carolina State Guard for several years, was commissioned Colonel of the First Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers, and the men who had served under him in the State Guard for a number of years, nobly responded to the call and willingly linked their fate with his in the new "First."

The regiment went in camp at Raleigh, N. C., the camp being formally named "Camp Bryan Grimes," in honor of Col. Bryan Grimes, who commanded the Fourth North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War, and was mustered into the service of the United States on the 2nd day of May, 1898.

On May 18, 1898, telegraphic orders were received from the War Department to proceed to Tampa, Fla., and in compliance with these orders the regiment left Raleigh in three sections, over the Southern Railway, at noon, Sunday, May 22, 1898.  At Columbia, S. C. an order countermanding the previous one received at Raleigh, N. C., was received, and in compliance with this order, the regiment was diverted to Jacksonville, Fla.

About seven miles south of Savannah, Ga., at 5:45 o'clock on the morning of the 23rd of May, 1898, the third section of the train, in command of Maj. Geo. E. Butler, collided with a freight train, and the result was one killed and seven injured.  W. M. Barbee, of Company K, was crushed between the cars and instantly killed.  Of the seven men, only one was seriously injured.

Arriving at Jacksonville, Fla., on May 23rd, tents were pitched about two miles from the city.

This was the second regiment to encamp at Jacksonville, Fla.; the Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry having arrived one day earlier.

All the members of the regiment eager to prepare themselves for real service in the field against the enemy, devoted their whole time and attention to the daily drills and other instructions, and it is due the credit of Colonel Armfield and his staff of efficient officers that the regiment attained such a high standard of merit among the volunteer organizations of the United States.

In August, 1898, orders were received from the War Department for the regiment to hold itself in readiness to proceed to the Island of Porto Rico, under the command of Major-General Wade, but the peace negotiations which were going on at Washington between M. Cambon, French Ambassador to the United States, on behalf of Spain, and the Secretary of State, which resulted in the signing of the peace protocol, and a cessation of hostilities of the Army and Navy, caused the regiment to remain with the Seventh Army Corps.

Nothing of special mention occurred to the regiment as an organization until orders were received for the mustering out of the service of the regiment, which was early in September, 1898.

Preparations were made for muster out, and when everything was ready for the mustering officer, another order was received form the War Department, retaining the regiment in the service.

On October 24, 1898, the regiment broke camp and left Jacksonville, Fla., for their new camp, near Savannah, Ga., where they were encamped with the other regiments of the Seventh Army Corps, on Thunderbolt road, about one and a half miles from the city.

On the morning of December 7th, the regiment broke camp at Savannah and that morning boarded the transport Roumania and sailed next day for Havana, Cuba, arriving on evening of the 11th and went into Camp Columbia, at Buena Vista Station, on the Mariano Railroad, seven miles from Havana.

Being the first American soldiers to arrive at Havana, they received a welcome that will be ever remembered by those that witnessed it.  Pen can not describe the intense gladness, almost bordering frenzy, displayed by the Cuban people at the sight of their liberators.

During the stay of the regiment on Cuban soil the usual drills were continued and the same rigid discipline was enforced.  The conduct of the members was beyond reproach, and their gentlemanly deportment greatly impressed the natives, who had been so accustomed to cruelty and rowdyism.

Orders were given about the 18th of March to return to Savannah, Ga., where the regiment would be mustered out, and arrived there on the 28th of the same month, and were mustered out April 22, 1899.

 

 

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Kinyon Digital Library,
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