Thursday, November 21, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Spanish-American War Soldier's Memorial, ABT 1899

One of the items my maternal great-grandfather, Louis Henry Wolfe (1872-1929) left behind was this Spanish-American War "Soldier's Memorial" poster:

In the middle of the poster is a listing of the officers and privates of this unit, Company C of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Army. Look in the far lower right-hand corner, and you'll see the name of Private Louis Wolfe:

Over the years, it was folded and apparently not stored very well, as pieces of it are missing. Fortunately, I found that these posters were apparently mass-produced by publisher Fuller Bros., 618 F Street, Washington, DC, for various military units participating in the war, and there are a lot out there.  I found one web page ("22nd Infantry Soldiers Memorial Print") that explained a lot of the illustrations on the poster.

At the center top, the woman Columbia (also a popular term for the United States at the time) is above portraits of President William McKinley (left) and General of the Armies Nelson Miles (right).
Columbia is handing a laurel wreath of victory to a wounded soldier on the right.  She appears to be riding on the back of an eagle:

In the upper left corner, "American troops in full field gear march off from their encampment," with the US Navy offshore:

Pictured above is the upper right-hand corner, where United States "troops in parade dress stand in formation.  They wear the model 1895 forage cap, sometimes called the 'pillbox' cap."

There are some other interesting illustrations in the middle part of the poster, on either side of the listing of officers and privates.  This one at right, a sentimental "Off to the War" illustration, is to the left of that listing.

The next two, pictured below, are of cannon.  The first is on the left side of the poster, just below the "Off to the War" drawing,  The other is on the other side of the poster, to the right of the officers/privates listing.

On the bottom left hand corner of the poster is the "Roll of Honor," listing those in Company C who died in the war, and how.

At the bottom right hand corner is a list of the battles and engagements this unit participated in during the war.  These included the "storming and capture of Fort San Juan, near Santiago de Cuba, July 1st, 1898," the "occupation of trenches on San Juan Heights, July 1 to the 10th, 1898," and "supporting batteries during bombardment of Santiago, July 10th and 11th, and in siege until the surrender of the Spanish Forces, July 17, 1898."

At the very bottom of the poster, in the center, there is an illustration of  "US and Cuban troops attacking Spanish positions, flanked by portraits of General William Shafter (left) and Commodore George Dewey (right)."

The 6th Infantry Regiment even then had a long history, as the legend at the bottom of the poster says it was "Mustered Into the U. S. Service August 1, 1799."

My great-grandfather enlisted in the Army on May 4, 1898, in Tampa, Florida, at age 25.  I'm not sure what he was doing in Tampa at the time, as his hometown was Monongahela, Pennsylvania, but he was a bricklayer by trade, and his work later in life often had him traveling.  He died at age 57 in an auto accident near Devers, Texas, en route to or from a job, as his home was in Houston.

On August 18, 1898, about a month after the war ended, a monthly return for his regiment to the Adjutant General’s Office shows him to be sick in the hospital at Fort Thomas, Kentucky.  On January 20, 1899, he was discharged at Fort Sam Houston in Bexar County, Texas.  However, just two years later he re-enlisted for three years, but this time was assigned to Company I of the 6th Regiment, where he saw action in the Philippines.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

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