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

1898 - 1899

  
 

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Sketch of Second Regiment.

Though most of the officers and men were young, there were quite a number who had been trained in war in that greatest school of modern times, the Army of Northern Virginia, and Colonel Burgwyn, Majors Dixon and Cotton, Chaplain Osborne and Captains Davis, Bell, Jones, Smith and Cobb had followed Lee and Jackson, Longstreet, Hoke and Ransom during the years 1861-1865.

Chaplain Osborne, as Colonel of the Fourth North Carolina Regiment, Anderson's Brigade, was one of the most gallant officers of the Lost Cause, bearing on his person the scars of many wounds; and Quartermaster Davis, as Captain of a battery of artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia, fired his guns from sunrise to sunset at the battle of Sailor's Creek, whose echoes were the last to be heard in the tragedy at Appomattox.

There were also several State Guard companies, and their commanders, Captains Huske, Gray, Smith, Cobb and MacRae were experienced in the modern drill regulations, and Colonel Burgwyn had commanded the Fifth Maryland Regiment, of Baltimore, during his residence in that city, since the war; Major Wilder was a graduate of West Point of fifteen years' service, and Major Cotten had seen twenty-three years' service in the State Guard, during seven of which he filled the highest position, that of Brigadier-General.

Seven companies were enlisted west of Charlotte, and the other 5 east of Raleigh.  The men were of exceptionally good height and uniform size, and the officers were a fine, soldierly-looking body of men.

So soon as the regiment was mustered in, it entered upon a rigid system of drill and discipline, which rapidly brought it up to a high state of efficiency.

Setting-up exercises, squad, company and battalion drills were daily gone through with, and the dress parades, with the fine regimental band, were witnessed by crowds of visitors from Raleigh and other cities of the State.

Separation of the Regiment.

After six weeks of camp instruction, six companies were detached for duty along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.  Two (Companies A and E) were sent to Tybee Island, Ga., under command of Major Wilder;  two (Companies D and G) to Land's End, S. C., under command of Major Dixon;  and two (Companies (C and I) to St. Augustine, Fla., under command of Major Cotten.  Two companies (F and M) were also temporarily sent to Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Ga., for garrison duty at that point.  Headquarters and the remaining companies were sent to St. Simon's Island, Ga., one of the best locations for a camp in the South.  At all these stations the conduct of the men was such as to merit the approval of their officers and the commendation of the public, and when the several detachments were ordered back to Raleigh preparatory to muster out of the service, there was but one expression by those with whom they had been associated, and that was regret at the departure and encomiums on their good conduct.

The citizens of the neighboring city of Brunswick gave the camp at St. Simon's Island a grand barbeque in recognition of the good conduct of those stationed at the post; and the papers of St. Augustine were marked in their praise of the efficiency and good behavior of the two copanies stationed in that ancient city.

The detachments at Tybee and Land's End were subjected to one of the severest storms known on the coast;  and though their tents were blown away and much personal property lost and the camps submerged under water, there were no lives lost.

Health of the Men.

Soon after muster in, as a matter of precaution, the entire regiment was vaccinated.  It was estimated that at one time over a thousand men were affected.  So successful was the operation that not one case resulted fatally.

While in camp at Raleigh a mild type of measles broke out, and there were a number of typhoid and malarial fever cases, and more or less dysentery and diarrhoea, but the mortality was small, there being but four deaths from typhoid fever while at Raleigh, and only eight from the same disease in all.

Sanitary Condition of the Camp.

On moving to Camp Dan Russell---at the Fair Grounds, Raleigh, N. C.---the wells were all cleaned out and deepened, and the water was regarded as exceptionally pure, but it was subsequently ascertained from an analysis that the water from some of the wells was not suitable for drinking, and these were disused.  At St. Simon's Island the drinking water came from an artesian well.  At this station the health of the men was excellent.  Sea bathing, fishing and boating were the recreations when not on duty.

When the regiment was ordered to reassemble at Raleigh preparatory to muster out, the health of the men was exceptionally good, and the few who were too sick at the time to return with their companies soon followed.

 The Muster Out.

Under the orders, as first issued, the men were given a thirty-days' furlough to return at its expiration to Raleigh, where the final proceedings of muster out were to take place.  Had the orders not have been changed the regiment would have been in camp at Raleigh during the State Fair, and thus the men from the western part of the State would have been given the chance of visiting it, and the opportunity of seeing the people and products of other sections.

These original orders were subsequently revoked, and the companies were ordered to be mustered out at different points in the State most accessible to the places where the companies were organized.

Should there be occasion for further hostilities with Spain, it will be regretted that so fine a body of soldiers, remarkable for uniformity of size and regularity of height, well-drilled and disciplined, should have been disbanded.  That they were not given the opportunity of fighting at Santiago or charging over the San Juan hill, was no fault of theirs---for no one who knows the personnel of the officers or men doubts in the least, that all that was wanting to make the record of the regiment a source of pride to the State, and an honor to the command, was the opportunity.

 

 

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