A. G. (Arthur G.) Baker.

The Colorado volunteers online

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University of California Berkeley




Co. H, ist C. V. I.



This little book is not designed to cover all the
details of the capture of Manila, nor is it ex-
pected that it is, in all matters, perfectly accurate.
It is the design of the work to straighten out
some of the wrong impressions that have been
received through newspaper accounts and to give
a connected idea of what has been accomplished
by the Colorado Volunteers. It is also interest-
ing to all American people to know what sort of
a territory in the east the United States has
added to its possessions through this war with

There are probably errors in the style and get-
up of the work. There is no doubt it could be
roundly criticised by the readers of the day, but
as it is not published for glory or fame, but more
for the purpose of replenishing a long felt want
in the pocketbook of the writer, it will pay the
critics to save their breath for more aspiring

Very Respectfully,




In answer to the government's call for volun-
teer troops, Company H of Boulder, Colorado, of
which I am a member, left that city on the morn-
ing of April 28, 1898, in accordance with Ad-
jutant-General Moses' orders to report at Camp
Adams, located near the metropolis of the ''Cen-
tennial State." The "boys" took with them the
best wishes of the citizens of Boulder, as was
demonstrated at the depot by the presence of
thousands of her people who had gathered there
that morn to bid us a fond farewell. We had
scarcely swallowed the lumps in our throats
which the sorrow of the parting had left there
when the special car bearing us went rolling into
Denver. The morning was all that could be de-
sired. The sun shone warm and bright upon


the heads of Company H as the line formed,
the car furnishing a background for the pictures
which appeared next day in the enterprising
press of the city. The command, "Right for-
ward, fours right, March!" in the full, rich,
round tones of Captain Eastman set the company
in motion. At the armory the further equip-
ment with tin plates, cups, knapsacks and
blankets was attended to and in heavy marching
order we proceeded to Camp Adams, where tents
were quickly pitched and dinner served.

Camp Adams was, upon our arrival, in its in-
fancy. A few of the companies had arrived and
' 'staked their claims," but many were yet to
come. At six o'clock that evening the first
guard was mounted and all night long the still-
ness was only broken by the rolling call of the
sentries as the announcement of the hour went
around the camp on the crisp, cold air: "Twelve
o'clock and a a all's well." All through the
night, troops continued to arrive, pitch tents and
settle down, and when the morning of the
twenty-ninth broke, bright and clear, Camp
Adams was a reality.

Then came the regular daily routine of camp


life. Guard mount, squad drill and Company
drill in the forenoon made mess call welcome to
the tired and hungry soldiers, while in the after-
noon we were engaged in Batallion drill, Regi-
mental drill, dress parade and an occasional re-
view by the genial Governor of Colorado, on the
cactus beds which surrounded the camp. Dur-
ing this time the officers were engaged in the
not altogether pleasant task of merging two
Regiments into one. In order to accomplish this
many officers had to be dispensed with and in
most cases it was a case of survival of the fittest,
which resulted in the formation of a single Regi-
ment with such officers and instructors as would
make the Colorado Volunteers equal to any in
the service.

On Sunday, May 8, 1898, the newly formed
Regiment was mustered into the service of the
United States. Sunday was what might be
called ''visitor's day" at Camp Adams. The
grounds on that day were crowded with friends
and relatives of the soldiers and this day was no
exception to the rule. Mothers, fathers, wives
and sweethearts were there. The day was fair
and peaceful and the Companies were marched


out one at a time and took the solemn oath
which bound them to their country's service
while many hearts beat hard and fast in sym-
pathy for them. Hope and fear were plainly
written on the many faces that surrounded us,
but only smiles covered the countenances of the
Volunteers. As the sun was sinking behind the
western hills, Company H, the last of the Regi-
ment, appeared betore Colonel Hale' s tent. The
rain beat gently down on their uncovered heads,
"in baptism," as Harry McCauley said in the
Denver Republican, while the oath was solemnly
administered, and tears from the eyes of the
spectators were mingled with the rain as they
pictured their own dear loved ones in a far away
foreign land fighting for their country.



On the 1 4th day of May the State of Colorado
settled with her soldiers on her own terms. She
did not consult their wishes or desires, but mag-
nanimously opened the cover to her heart and
kindly paid to each and every man who had re-
sponded to her call four bright silver dollars
fresh from the mint. How happy we were! How
we blessed the kind Providence which had made
each of us the proud possessor of four silver dol-
lars. True it was, some greedy ones thought
they should have received state pay for all the
time they served under the state and that Gov.
Adams should have exercised his principles of
economy where less people and larger salaries
were concerned, but each one of us had received
tour dollars, and they were bran new, too, which


ouglit to be worth something. A great deal of
praise went forth from the soldiers for the Gov-
ernor, who so highly appreciated his soldiers who
went forth to fight for their country in the name
of his state.

On May 15, the day following, the "boys in
blue' ' left for San Francisco, where they arrived
safely after four days of travel. About eight
o'clock in the morning our trains, four in num-
ber, anchored on sidetracks at Oakland, and
there remained until nearly noon. Then we
pulled up to the ferry, marched on board and were
conveyed to the opposite shore, landing at the
new Union depot in the city of San Francisco.
We were hungry and tired, and had no thought
of getting dinner until we had covered the four
miles which lay between us and Camp Merritt,
but our coming had been anticipated by the
noble ladies of the Red Cross Society of Cali-
fornia, who had provided an excellent dinner for
us. A large room had been fitted up by the
ladies for the purpose of serving meals and
lunches to all soldiers upon their arrival in San
Francisco. The room was decorated with flags
and patriotic colors. In the center of the


room was an immense lunch counter laden with
everything a hungry soldier could desire.
Bright and cultured ladies, whose only reward
was the consciousness of the good they were
doing, served rich brown coffee, dainty sand-
wiches, cold meats of all kinds, cakes, cookies,
pies and other deserts. Then apples, oranges,
bananas, peaches and grapes, products of our
modest sister state, were passed around. Dinner
over, a rousing cheer was the only response we
could offer those noble w T omen for the kind and
entirely unexpected reception tendered us, but
every soldier heart was bubbling over with grati-
tude, and as we tramped away in the direction of
our future home, Camp Merritt, our burdens
were lightened by the knowledge that, though
hundreds of miles away from our own homes, w r e
had realized a demonstration akin to paternal
love, which makes the human race one grand

With eager, cheering crowds lining the way
we passed up the hilly streets of 'Frisco. When
we reached our destination the day was well ad-
vanced. The camp, already occupied by several
other regiments, was located between Geary and


McAllister streets, near Colden Gate Park.
Each Regiment was assigned to a city square,
each square being enclosed by a low white fence.
The ground was loose and sandy. City water
had been piped into each square for the use of
the soldiers. Our large round comfortable tents
soon arrived on the huge truck wagons of Uncle
Sam. It was dark before we had them pitched.
Then we spread our blankets on the sand be-
neath, took a late repast and dropped asleep to
dream of battle and glorious victory.



The metropolis of the western coast had been
our residence for several weeks and we were
happy there. Day after day the camp was
visited by thousands of people, some of them
curiosity seekers perhaps, but more came to ren-
der assistance in many little ways ; to bring us
fruit and dainty dishes to soften the coarse army
fare ; to give us cheering words and little home
comforts and relieve the monotony of every day
camp life by the sunshine of their presence,
Formality was discarded, but not respect. Little
necessities, such as needle and thread, buttons,
pins, and shoe laces which man, with all his
forethought, neglected to take with him, were fur-
nished by the kind-hearted ladies of San Fran-
cisco, without formality and without reserve.


One gentleman, Mr. Thomas Cleary, who took
an active interest in the Colorado boys, on two
occasions furnished a whole Ccmpany with the
typical sea coast dish of clam chowder, not only
sending out all the ingredients necessary, but
himself came out to camp and prepared it. He
also sent us vegetables of various kinds, which
formed a diversion from our regular bill of fare.
In the days which followed, when we were far
away from 'Frisco we often thought of Cleary
and his clam chowder.

Every day we had our regular drill, usually
conducted by Colonel Hale. Presidio hill, about
a mile from camp, was the scene of disturbances.
At the foot of the hill we would form a skirmish
line, advance carefully, fire from all manner of
pOvSitions, and finally charge on an imaginary foe
yelling like a lot of schoolboys and completely
routing the enemy every time. Then we would
re-form, count up the dead, wounded and miss-
ing, march down the hill and charge back up.
After repeating the operation about three times
we would retreat to camp and eat dinner. These
drills were not altogether pleasant and were
sometimes grumbled at, but to them is due the


credit for many complimentary remarks for
the Colorado Volunteers from high army officers
both for gallant conduct on the field and as a
well drilled Regiment.

But sorrow, which conies to all, visited us in
the death of Sergeant Neil C. Sullivan, of Com-
pany H. He was confined to his bed but a short
time, and his pleasant voice and laughing eye
was hardly from our midst when we heard, with
much sorrow, the news of his untimely death.
Sergeant Sullivan had been lieutenant of the
lyOngmont Company which disbanded in Denver
and he immediately joined Company H. Soon
after he w r as appointed Sergeant by Captain
Eastman. He was loved and respected by all
who knew him.

After many days of patient waiting the time
came at last for our departure. It was the i4th
of June. We were up early, breakfasting at five
o'clock. At seven, at a bugle signal, all tents
came down together. In an instant that city
of tents was but a patch of sand enclosed by a
low white fence. Baggage wagons were loading
cooking utensils and private baggage. The
Companies, in heavy marching order were


standing at "order arms." Field officers and
orderlies were scampering around in military
fashion. Captains and Lieutenants, awaiting
orders from their superiors, thoughlessly pierced
with their swords the loose sand, or gathered
in little groups to discuss the future. One
hour later the Colorado boys were marching
through the streets of 'Frisco bound for the
the steamer China, which lay at the mail dock
awaiting them. The streets were crowded with
people once more to show us their good will and
to cheer us on our way. Bands of music enliv-
ened the parting scene. At the dock we halted
and fell out. Then the great Red Cross of Cali-
fornia once more came to the rescue. In the ex-
citement of the occasion the preparation for the
midday meal had been overlooked by us, but not
so by the ladies. Wagons laden with good
things to eat now drove up. We recognized in
them the Red Cross and cheered as lustily as our
parched tongues and empty stomachs would per-
mit. In ten minutes a thousand hungry men
were busily employed in doing away with the
fine dinner which had been supplied. Shortly
after, we marched on board and were assigned to


our quarters, soon after which we pulled out in
the stream and anchored for the night, the calm
and placid waters of the bay reflecting the lights
of the city as the curtain of night fell.

At one o'clock on the day following amid
cheers and shouts from thousands of spectators
upon the docks, with hundreds of smaller boats
loaded down with people gliding about us, with
flags waving around us and over us, smiles and
tears on every side, the firing of artillery, the
blowing of whistles and the ringing of bells, the
China, in all her majesty, passed out of the
* Golden Gate," bathed in all the glory of the
setting sun and the love of the people of 'Frisco.



How little we know of the future, and how
little we appreciate the present. Only a few
hours ago we are happy in the love of our
friends. Now we were out on the broad bosom
of the Pacific, leaning reverently over the rail of
the ship giving, without, reserve what there is
in our stomachs to the myriads of fishes in the
water below. It was a sorry looking Regi-
ment. Shoulder straps were not proof against
it. How dreadfully unhappy we were. Our
pale faces and sad, troubled demeanor told of the
terrible struggle within. Some tried to hide be-
hind the dignity of their calling, but all to no
purpose. The old rule of "what goes up must


come down' ' was reversed ; what was down had
to come up, and the officer, in the bitterness and
anguish of his misery, stood shoulder to shoulder
with the suffering, groaning private, totally un-
mindful of the fact that his blouse was unbut-
toned, while the burden on his stomach rolled
into the deep, blue sea. A person must be sea-
sick once in order to thoroughly appreciate its
charms. It is not exactly pleasant, but it is
stylish on sea voyages, The captain and his
rugged seamen walked calmly about with sneering
smiles and independent attitudes, as though they
never had had it, but they had. Rich and
poor, high and low, beautiful and ugly are all
subject to it. But end it must, as everything
must, in time. A few days of the fearful strug-
gle and then nothing remained to indicate that it
had ever taken place. Setting up exercises and
guard duty soon blotted out its memory.

Our fleet consisted of the China (General
Greene's flagship), the Colon, Zelandia and Sen-
ator, conveying about 3,500 soldiers. On board
the China, in addition to the Colorado Volun-
teers, were two Companies of United States Reg-
ulars, part of the Utah Battery, with their field


pieces, a detachment of the Engineer Corps, some
of the Signal Corps, and a few sailors, who were
on their way to join Dewey, nearly 1,500 pas-
sengers all told. On June 23, after an unevent-
ful voyage of six days, the China sailed into the
harbor of Honolulu. It was at break of day.
The sun was just coming up behind the dark
hills and surrounding us with crimson light.
Small native crafts were lounging lazily in the
calm and placid waters as we passed up through
the pleasant and secure harbor toward the city.
The China had left the balance of the fleet the
previous morning and run ahead at the top of
her speed, and therefore arrived alone. About
eight o'clock a. m. we were taken in tow by a
tug and conveyed to a dock crowded with people.
The Honolulu band was playing their national
air as we came up. The American training boat,
"Mohigan," lay at anchor near by with colors
flying. Strong looking native boys of all ages
swam in the water about the ship, eagerly diving
for the nickels, dimes and quarters thrown into
the water by the men on board. Soon the Com-
panies were assembled and marched on shore.
The Regiment then formed and passed up the


street bound for a sea bathing place about four
miles distant. The sun was burning hot, but the
beauty of the gigantic palms, cocoanut and
banana trees lining the wayside revived our
spirits, and we forgot our discomforts in noting
the luxuriance of this tropical clime where the
beautiful shrubbery and the green grass looked
more fresh than usual. The lawn of the neat
homes so nicely kept, half hidden in the sur-
rounding foliage gave the impression that this
was a paradise on earth. After a refreshing
bath we returned to the city, and under the
shade of wide .spreading palms on the grounds
in front of the capitol building, and attended by
the belles of Honolulu, we ate a dinner such as
man is seldom privileged to enjoy. In addition
to the dinner were the fruits of the tropics, fresh
from the trees. Nearly fifteen hundred guests
sat down at the tablfc together. An orchestra
discoursed soft, sweet music during the re-
past. Beautiful brunettes attended our wants.
After dinner was over we went on board the
China, procured our arms, and re-appeared at the
Capitol grounds, and were reviewed by Governor
Dole, of the Hawaiian Republic.


As twilight drew down her golden shade,
shutting out the rays of the sun, we once more
sought the China, and there seated on the deck,
viewed the land so full of sunshine. As dark-
ness fell we watched the changing scene so
sweet, so calm, so fair to look upon. When the
stars began to peek through the azure sky
crowds of natives and American residents came
and stood on the shore. Then in full, round,
rich tones, the quartette of Company H sang of
their ' 'Colorado homesteads far away," while
cheers and applause broke from the crowds be-
low. But while we were so happy Time marched
steadily on, and only a memory now is left to
mark the place.



A person can hardly realize what an immense
distance it is across the Pacific from looking at a
map. Morning after morning we awoke only to
see the broad expanse of blue waves and sky.
It was not until June 17 that the China again
dropped anchor, and then it was in the harbor
of Cavite. A slight breeze was stirring and the
air was not so extremely warm as we had been
led to expect. Soon native crafts began to
swarm about the China. Their boats were con-
structed of an extremely hard black wood, with
awkward looking sails of palm leaves ingeniously
patched together. Their shape was somewhat
similar to the Indian canoe. They were laden
with bananas, oranges and mangles, which were
offered for sale. This was the harbor and city


captured by Admiral Dewey. It is a beautiful
harbor, but the dismantled shore batteries,
plainly visible from the China, and the ghastly
remains of the Spanish fleet told its own story of
war and destruction. Huge ironclads, half visi-
ible above the water 'sedge, their sides punctured
by shells from Admiral Dewey 's guns, told of
Spam's blasted hopes. Admiral Dewey 's fleet
was anchored near, carefully guarding the en-
trance to the harbor. Back half a mile lay Ger-
man, English, Japanese, and French warships,
apparently watching each other and awaiting
further developments. Great precautions were
taken, no lights being allowed at night on ac-
count of the danger of surprises.

Hospitals had been established in Cavite by
the officers of the first expedition and to them
were conveyed the sick on board the China.
Several days later the balance of the Regiment
was landed about three miles from Manila, where
they established Camp Dewey. Great flat bot-
tom lighters, about forty feet in length, con-
structed of an extremely hard, dark-colored
wood peculiar to the tropics, and manned by na-
tives, conveyed the soldiers from the China to


the shore. About fifty yards from the shore
they would strike bottom, and from that point,
carrying our rifles at arms' length above our
heads to keep them dry, we waded through the
breakers to land.

When we went into camp in the Philippines
the large, round comfortable Sibley tents which
had served us both at Camp Adams and Camp
Merrit, were discarded and little shelter tents or
"dog tents," as they are sometimes called, took
their places. Each company had two of the Sib-
ley tents, one for their officers and another for
the commissary supplies and cooks' quarters.
For the balance of the company, shelter tents
were stretched over bamboo foundations raised
about eighteen inches from the ground, two
men occupying a tent. They furnished little pro-
tection from the violent rain and wind storms of
the tropics, and nearly every night many were
blown away by the fury of the storm.

There are two seasons in the Philippines, the
wet and the dry. During the wet season it rains
nearly every night, and sometimes for several
days without cessation. Wind usually accom*
panics these storms and assists the rain in its


destructive work. I think the boys who put in
the rainy season in the Philippines will agree
with me when I say that Colorado has never
been able to show their equal.

The fare at this time was not first-class. It
consisted chiefly of poorly made biscuits and salt
meat. Each company had its own mess and
cooks and some were very efficient. Poor cook-
ing spoiled some food, and the shortage of vege-
tables, caused by tons decaying before they
arrived at the islands, made the bill of fare
rather slim. L,ater, when we were comfortably
quartered in the city of Manila, potatoes and
other vegetables, as well as fresh beef, were re-
ceived from Hong Kong and Australian ports
which were first-class in every particular.

Camp Dewey grew in population until on Au-
gust 12, the day before the battle, about twelve
thousand soldiers were quartered there. The
Insurgents occupied trenches between our camp
and the Spanish works, which were just outside
of Manila. The Spanish and Insurgents were
fighting insignificant battles nearly every night.
As soon as Camp Dewey was inaugurated it was
necessary to establish an outpost for defensive


purposes. Therefore, trenches were dug and
breastworks thrown up near the Insurgents'
lines, and reliefs were formed to occupy them.
It is stated that the Colorado Regiment not only
dug the trenches, but were the first to occupy
them. The ground where the trenches were
dug was very springy and the trenches immedi-
ately filled with water. The road from Camp
Dewey to the outpost was so muddy that it was
xtremely difficult to travel.

Field hospitals were established by each Regi-
ment in camp and a general hospital was also es-
tablished. On account of exposure these were
fast filling with patients. A number of dead
and wounded were brought in nearly every
morning from the trenches. The location of the
general hospital was not the best, I thought, that
could have been selected. The hospital tents
were pitched on a low, marshy place about a
quarter of a mile from the bay. The violence of
the storms at night sometimes blew down the
tents, exposing the patients to the beating rain,
and the following morning the nurses would be
obliged to wade ankle-deep in mud and water.
As the day advanced the scorching sun looked


down and dried the water up leaving the stench
and filth to breed malaria and fever. It seemed
to he a spot particularly unsanitary, although it
may have been the best that could be provided.



Our trenches were hardly finished before they
were full of water, and in this water the soldiers
were obliged to lie often for forty-eight hours at
a time, while Spanish bullets whistled around
and bombs exploded above and behind them.

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Online LibraryA. G. (Arthur G.) BakerThe Colorado volunteers → online text (page 1 of 3)