Moses Koeningsberg.

Southern martyrs. A history of Alabama's white regiments during the Spanish-American war, touching incidentally on the experiences of the entire First division of the Seventh army corps online

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Online LibraryMoses KoeningsbergSouthern martyrs. A history of Alabama's white regiments during the Spanish-American war, touching incidentally on the experiences of the entire First division of the Seventh army corps → online text (page 1 of 15)
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Library of Congress.



'ViAR 1 6 J 914







3 Hi




"Before AXD After" the Troops Encamped There.











Co. E. 2nd Regt. Ala. Vol. Infy.


^^siy 19^3 '''^" " "i898.








ASTCn, LZ-'.C/. '\>)0


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1898, by


In the OiBce of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.


"Mors, te salutamus T' sboukl have been iDscribed over
the doors of the volunteer army recruitiDg stations. "Death,
we salute thee !" would have been a fitting legend to flutter
in funereal folds from every rendezvous where brave men
were enrolled on the long list of American victims of a
systemless system.

INIagnolia and fir trees guard the bones of Southerner and
Northerner who succumbed alike in wretched struggles
with the results of administrative and executive incompe-
tence. In the noisome camps that stretched at intervals
from Mobile to Miami were laid bloodless battlefields where
American patriotism contested with American error.

To the unfortunate dead of those unhappy contests, this
work is feelingly dedicated in the hope that the truths
these pages exploit will aid the erection of a memorial
monument on which the mourners' contrition will word it-
self thus :

"This Pile is to Commemorate the Etebnal Divorce
OF Politics from the Army."

Oct. 19, 1898. The Author.


pup. FV/-11-,.

rup. &5gM^^9g ^^ AUG. 1901


JT was originally intended by the author to print the
names of those Alabaraians who volunteered for service
and w^ere rejected in the physical examinations. The
men who were willing to forsake their civilian interests and
share the volunteer's lot are deserving of credit ; but letters
reaching the historian show that a large number of the re-
jected patriots are reluctant to have the fact of their inelig-
ibility published. Many appear to smart under the exam-
ining surgeons' distinctions. In deference to this spirit and
because the author's purpose was to honor rather than em-
barrass the physically ineligible volunteers, none of their
names is published. M. K.

Montgomery, Oct. 19, 1893.


^T may have been an accident that the six regiments se-
y{ lected to suffer at Miami came from Southern States.
The author is anxious that the title, "Soutlieru Martyrs,"
be understood as intending geographical designation rather
than sectional significance. There were among the two
Alabama regiments many noble Northerners whose eagerness
to fight for the Stars and Stripes was greater only than their
eagerness to go into battle under Southern officers with
Southern comrades.

While the historian does not attempt to fix specifically
the blame for the tortures and mortality thrust on the vol-
unteer troops by American mismanagement, it might be well
to explain what this narrative purposes to prove. The cul-
pable responsibility rests not only on the military unpre-
paredness in which the national solons permitted the coun-
try to remain for years, but weighs with equal burden in
North and South, East and West, wherever political influence
was exercised to gain the appointment of incompetent offi-

History ranks in the class of compensatory literature be-
cause truth is its essence. ''Southern Martyrs" is intended
as a truthful narrative. Imagery has been abandoned for
accuracy. Sach truths in these chapters as may pain indi-
vidually are calculated to benefit generally through the les-
sons they teach. And, therefore, though the few compari-
sons employed may be reckoned by some as odious, though
the descriptions given and the facts recited may earn the
resentment of some and the gratification of others, the author
will feel his object attained if the book succeeds in extend-
ing the agitation for a military regimen under which Amer-
ican patriots will cease to suffer such martyrdom as Miami.

8 Aegument.

To the surviving members of the First and Second Ala-
bama, "Southern Martyrs" may prove useful for souvenir
and record purposes. Great pain has been taken to chron-
icle in unbiased verbiage those incidents that really compose
regimental history. Necessarily, many episodes of interest
are omitted, because to print all would be practically im-
possible and to select only some would be as unsatisfactory
to the majority of the two regiments as it would be embar-
rassing to the author.

Unfortunately, some of the facts that the author is most
eager to exploit can be confirmed only by the testimony of
men yet in the service. To jeopardize the commissions of
some or to menace others with the embarrassments of courts-
martial is not the purpose of the author. Some of the pas-
sages, therefore, in "Southern Martyrs," are guardedly
written. None of the statements is exaggerated. At times,
where important assertions may lack detail, the absent defi-
niteness may be traced to official records which are as yet
guarded in the pigeon-holes of interested officers. Some
day, untrammeled by the obligations invested in them by
their commissions, a number of these officers will elaborate
the averments made in "Southern Martyrs."

Already, before his book has reached publication, skepti-
cal persons — men who wallowed io domestic comforts while
fellow-citizens were battling for the nation's welfare — have
approached the author with such questions : "But what
history can the Alabama regiments have ? They saw no
active service, and surely regiments in the Civil War suffered


It is in the selfish indifference of such supercilious ques-
tioners that the abuses and outrages of America's military
methods are fostered and nurtured. If these skeptics would
devote more time to a quest for information and less indus-
try in the pursuit of personal pleasures, they might be of
political assistance in righting the great wrongs that have
been and are being done.

Akgument. 9

To go barefoot, in tatters, huugrj and cold, to toil in the
burning sun with torn fingers and emaciated forms, to sleep
in the open with no counterpane but Heaven's canop}^ to
suffer and bleed and famish and endure the harrassings and
distresses of unpaid, unfed soldiers in a bloody service — all
this is terrible. Americans have experienced such suffer-
ings ; Heaven forefend that they shall be again called on to
do it. But speaking for the men of the First and Second
Alabama, writing for himself who was one of them, the
author solemnly declares that rather would they have gone
through all the wor^t struggles of Santiago than have
endured one month of Miami.

In "the fierce ecstasy that thrills through manhood's
heart of oak when trumpets blow for war" is recompense
enough to Americans for all the deprivations of an ordinary
campaign. Napoleon's grenadiers grumbled at the inactiv-
ity and hardships of Italy, but, once under his master leader-
ship, the horrors of the march to Moscow failed to wring
from their lips a single complaint. It is one thing to hear
the singing of shot and shell, to see the spattering blood, to
catch mind-pictures of ghastly, upturned faces, to quiver
and shake in the hellish throb of battle. It is one thing,
too, to swelter on long, strength-stealing tramps, to bolt un-
cooked food, to go, perhaps, half-clothed and worse housed.
And it is one thing, too, to know you are doing all this for
Old Glory,with true comrades beside you, under courageous
and capable leaders, for a grateful nation. The chill of the
yawning grave, the fearful whisperings of the fiying missiles,
the stench, the racking scenes, the sheol of it all becomes
one grand epoch of glory in which the proddings of peril,
the harassing of hunger and the worry of weariness are
merged into a tingle of gratifying excitement.

But, oh ! what a different thing it is to grovel in misery
at Miami— to toil beyond the limits of human endurance
because a blind or criminal officer has been led into a trap
and a querulous taskmaster forgets that soldiers are men;

10 Aegument.

to know that doctors are fighting to rescue you from a hell
hole of horrors while incompetent officers, superior in au-
thority, deny the presence of danger ; to drink disease
germs from day to day because those same incompetent
officers withhold you from pure water ; to stumble about^
bare-foot, in rags, because a prosperous people has failed
to appoint men who have energy enough to clothe you out
of plethoric coffers ; to stifle and swelter, thirsty and weak,
through unreasonable and unprofitable drills ; to spend the
nights battling with mosquitoes and the days contending
with insidious death agents ; to subsist on illy-cooked food
that would of itself have already sent less hardy men to
their graves ; to slave and have added to your slavery the
humiliation of knowing that the men who thrust this
martyrdom upon you are protected and favored by the
nation you volunteered to fight for.

It is one thing to knovv you are suffering in a good cause;
it is another matter to realize that you are being done to
death by incompetents placed above you.

There were, and are, in the First and Second Alabama,
as well as throughout the volunteer army, a number of effi-
cient and brilliant officers ; but, unfortunately, it was not
in their hands that the direction of affairs was vested.

Some scoffers make the puerile, nay childish, argument
that the volunteers of 1898 should not complain — that they
have no ground for grievance in view of the fact that Con-
federate and Union soldiers suffered more in the '60's than
have the men who served against Spain. How short-
sighted are these views! The men who bore the priva-
tions and hardships of the Civil War accepted them as a
matter of course. There was no overflowing commissary
from which the Confederate armies could draw ; and the
tremendous drain on the cofters of the Northern States had
taxed every resource of Lincoln's administration. And the
troops were performing the most active service, constantly

Argument. 11

subjected to the exigencies, losses and inconveniences of
interminable contact with hostile forces.

On the other hand, the men at Miami were so far re-
moved from the theater of active operations that they were
not even furnished with ball cartridges; they were always
in close touch with an undisturbed base of supplies ; the
energies and activities of a War Department, backed by in-
calculable means, were supposedly at hand to fill all requi-
sitions ; no danger from an armed foo threatened the camp
or menaced the commissary ; a plan of hardening the vol-*
unteers was purposed — and yet the First and Second Ala-
bama need not have suffered more had they participated in
the most unfortunate of McClelland's campaigns.

It is difficult then to picture what would have been their
fate under similar managament in the enemy's countr}',
isolated froQi their supply depots and dependent upon
their surroundings for their subsistence. If men should
be trained for war as slaves are led to the galleys ; if
health is enhanced by disease ; if strength comes from ex-
haustion ; if thirst and suffocation and sleeplessness lend
endurance ; if military morale is obtained through disgust,
then the author will become his own apologist and confess
that this history is futile and nugatory.

But this explanation could not close with justice unless
Mr. Flagler and his pretty coast town of Florida were
exonerated from the vituperative assaults of superficial ob-
servers. Mr. Flagler has done so much for Florida, he
has shown so much sympathy with the soldiers' suffer-
ings, he has given with such unstinted generosity to all
the Red Cross and auxiliary causes that one can scarcely
believe he countenanced Miami's misery. Miami itself
holds forth varied and extensive possibilities of pleasure
to the tourist. Superb scenery and magnificent situations
lend to the attractiveness of the place and it is easy to live
with more than ordinary comfort at the big on
Biscayne Bay. As to the responsibility for the mistakes

12 Argument.

of Miami, the author agrees in a measure with the editor
of the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, who wrote in a Septem-
ber issue of his paper :

"In two and a half years before the camp was established
at Miami there had been only one case of typhoid fever.
When the soldiers came they bathed in the reservoir and
dynamited fish, which rotted in the water supply. But
what did the authorities in charge of the troops do ? In-
stead of carting away the offal of the camp dail}^, it was de-
posited in sinks near the company wells. The troops were
allowed to wash themselves, tlieir clothing, and dishes upon
the ground at wells from which they drank water. -^^ ^ -;^ ^
Had the troops at Miami been commanded by a wise and
firm officer, with any ordinary knowledge of sanitation, there
would have been no reasonable complaint. But maledic-
tions were poured upon the Secretary of AVar for estab-
lishing the Miami camp."

That the official careers of the responsible officers are
fringed with the graves of Miami martyrs is certainly true.
But tliat the responsibility weighs heaviest with the men
who forced the selection of Miami as a camp-site in the face
of Gen. J. F. Wade's adverse report, is a fact which will be
fully recorded, if not in earthly tribunals, then at that bar
where plutocrat and patriot, murderer and murdered meet
for eternal judgment. That Gen. J. F. Wade reported
Miami, after careful inspection, as utterly unfit for camp
purposes is in itself a copious commentary on the subse-
quent sufferings of the First Division of the Seventh Army

Those Whom Death Has Already Taken. 13



Huorli Collins, sergeant, Company K, killed at Mobile,
Ala., May 3.

Robert J. McCnllongh, private. Company L, died in divi-
sion hospital, Mobile, May 27 ; fever.

Glen J. Olsen, private. Company I, died in division
hospital at Mobile, June 9 ; fever.

V. Walter Smith, sergeant. Company A, died in marine
hospital. Mobile, July 15; fever.

J. W. Hannah, private. Company C, died at his home in
Gadsden, June 23; fever.

Nicholas P, Gaines, private. Company I, died in marine
hospital. Mobile, June 27; fever.

Herman Brada, private. Company M, committed suicide,
Miami, July 12.

Charles Schitz, private. Company K, died in division
hospital, i»[iami, August 18 ; fever.

James M. Stewart, private. Company A, died in division
hospital, Miami, August 23 ; fever.

J. F. Horton, private. Company E, died in division hos-
pital, Miami, August 29 ; fever.

Philip Neeley Finch, sergeant. Company G, died in divi-
sion hospital, Jacksonville, August 29 ; fever.

Captain George F. Hart, commanding Company L, died
in St. Luke's hospital, Jacksonville, September 9 ; inflam-
mation of bowels.

William M. Pride, Jr., private, Company B, died in
Florence, Ala., September 20.

William Thompson, private. Company I, died at Ope-
lika, Ala., September 21 ; complication of ailments con-
tracted at Miami.

W. M. Franklin, private. Company M, died at Hillman
hosY-)ital, Birmingham, Ala., October 1 ; dysentery.

Fred Size more, private. Company K, died at Hillman
hospital in Birmingham, October 3 ; typhoid fever.

Fred Maloney, private. Company A, died at Birmingham,
October 6 ; apoplexy.

14 Those Whom Death Has Already Taken.


Kobert N. Alston, private, Company G, died at Miami,
July 23 ; fever.

L. P. Simmons, private, Company A, died at Miami,
xiugnst 14 ; dysentery.

Henry B. McCutchen, private. Company I, died at
Miami, August 17; typhoid fever.

W. E. Eollins, private. Company G, died at Jacksonville,
August 19 ; typhoid fever.

Solomon W. Gold, private, Company I, died at Larkins-
ville, Ala., while home on sick leave ; fever.

Anthony Samraereier, private, Company B, died at
Jacksonville, August 19 ; typhoid fever.

J. F. Black, private. Company F, died at Jacksonville,
August 24; typhoid fever.

E. E. James, private. Company B, died at Jacksonville,
August 26 ; typhoid fever.

Charles A. McHugh, private. Company C, drowned at
Jacksonville, September 'L.

Columbus M. Herriu, private. Company E, died in division
hospital, Jacksonville, from dysentery contracted at Miami,
September 7.

Harmon W. Cox, private, Company C, died in division
hospital, Jacksonville, September 10 ; concussion of the

J. M. P. Hicks, private, Company I, died in division hos-
pital, Jacksonville, September 19 ; typhoid fever.

Wallace Winborne, private, Company M, killed in railway
accident at Montgomery, Ala., September 23.

Robert Tipton, private. Company K, killed in railway
accident at Montgomery, Ala., September 23.

Alonzo E. Wells, private. Company B, died at City In-
firmary in Montgomery, Ala., October 6 ; typhoid fever.

Those "Whom Death Has Already Taken. 15

This death roll becomes more and more siguificant as it
is studied. Eighteen of the deaths are immediately at-
tributable to ailments contracted during the sojourn
of less than five weeks at Miami. This means that a
continued stay there would have developed a mortality
rate of at least nine in each regiment per month or 216 in
the two commands in a year. But surgeons declare that
when the order finally came directing a removal to Jack-
sonville, the "present for duty" men were in such a debili-
tated condition generally that disease would have found in
them a wonderfully rich field. The mortality would have
increased as the time passed — if the conditions remained
the same — the death rate would have become so appalling
as to call forth the indignation of the entire country.

The most sinister element of the situation is the fact that
the Moloch of Miami has not yet designated all his victims.
Surgeons, whose names are withheld because they are still
in the army, have assured the writer that months hence the
morbific waters drank in Miami will assert themselves in the
illness of numbers of men now apparently in good health.
Their theory is simple. It is contained in a diagnosis of
Capt. George F. Hart's fatal malady. Part of the water at
Miami not impregnated with typhoid germs was rendered
brackish by silicate substances that the men frequently dis-
cussed but continued to swallow. It is theorized that these
silicates accumulate in the abdominal canals and produce

Capt. George F. Hart's death was generally attributed to
ulceration of the bowels. "Miami water killed him," said a
surgeon at St. Luke's hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. "And
Miami water has not yet finished its work in the First Di-
vision of the Seventh Arm}^ Coips," said another surgeon
whose reputation goes beyond three states. "All its death
marks have not yet been tallied." And this prophetic
utterance was made September 15, 1898.


ELIJAH L. HIGDON, Colonel Commanding.
JOHN B. McDonald, lieutenant Colonel.


First Battalion,
Second Battalion,
Third Battalion,



First Lieutenant,

First Lieutenant,

First Lieutenant,




First Lieutenant,








First Lieutenant,

First Lieutenant,


(First Lieutenants.)



First Battalion,
Second Bat<^alion,
Third Battalion,



Sergeant Major,
Quartermaster Sergeant,

Hospital Stewards, DAVID W. GASS, ROBERT E. HOGAN,

CoMMDo. First I'.attaijox, First 11i:<;i.mi:nt Aka. Voi.f^





Birmiugiiain Rifles.

Charles L. Ledbetter, Captain.
Edward D. Johnston, 1st Lieut. Henry T. Dican. 2d Lieut.

Lieutenant Lucjen C. Brown. Transferred to Kegimental Adjutant.


Henry M. Dozier, First Sergeant. :0^WiU Nichols, Q'master Ser-
R. Emmett Craddock. Trans- ' geant.

f erred to Band Sergeant. Wm. M. Huey,

Walter M. Hagood, Chas. G. Gardner,

William S. Reynolds, Frank M. Barnett, Q'master Ser-

geant. Discharged.


Ben Catchings, Charles G. Reid,

John E. Ellis. Discharged. Reuben T. Johnston. Discharged

Tom Bowron, Frank L. Moses. Discharged.

D. 0. Robinson, Herbert E. Reynolds,

Willie C. Ball, Cook.

Charles F. Morgareidge, Musician. John Rensford, Musician.

Allen G. Brown, Wagoner. Discharged.

Chas. 0. Douthit, Wagoner.


Baker, Ernest A. Honorably Byers, Edgar B.,

discharged. Butler, Mike,

Ballard, Clarence, ' Cowan, A. Sid. Discharged.

Barks, Henry L., Campbell, Goodrich,

Ball, Willie C, Crowder, Geo. A.,

Brown, Reuben J., Connolly, Chas. E.,

Barnes, Walter, Cushen, John W.,

Brock, Ellis R., Clisby, Warner,

Brooks, Oliver T., Davis, Ed A.,

Burbridge, Samuel H . , Davis, William,

Butcher, Oscar, Dyer, Charles,


Men of the Tirst Alabama.

Endsley, Arthur B.,
Faunce, J. N.,
Francis, Sears,
Fields, Wade H.,
Fowler, Harry,
Fowler, Jack,
Fuller, Allen A.,
Germaine, Pete G.,
Hall, James W.,
Hall, John,
Hathaw^ay, H, Bert,
Havis, GlenW.,
Hicks, Will J ,
Hyche, William T ,
Huddleston, George,
Hutto, Walter B.,
Jones, Tom R.,
Joseph, Leon,
Keheley, Walter D.,
Kelly, JefiF,
Lamb, William B..
Latham, John D.,
Lawes, Leo V.,
Leonard, Ernest Eugene,
Lester, Robert E.,
Lockhart, David,
Long, James McK.,
Lytle, J. Fred,
McCaa, Waights,
McCaskey, John P.,
McDonald, Ellis P.,
McDonald, James,
McGrady, Walter,

McKendrick, Allen,

McNulty, John. Transferred to

Moore, John W.,
Moser, Gotlieb Aug.,
Napier, John F.,
Oglesby, William S.,
Parrish, Thad,
Patterson, W.,
Perkins, John R.,
Price, Cliff S.,
Raisler, Fred W.,
Randolph, Victor M.,
Ransom, Edgar F,,
Redmayne, Marmaduke,
Reid, Charles G. McD ,
Reed, Sam P.,
Ross, Walter M.,
Russell, Robert L.,
Roebuck, Hamilton D.,
Sizemore, Fred. Dead.
Smith, Fred,
Stewart, Malcohn M ,
Sparks, Fred Y.,
Sziepok, Joseph S.,
Taylor, George ,
Terry, Percy W.,
Tambling, Frank,
Webb, Alonzo W.,
Whelan, Patrick C,
Williams, John,
Zeigler, Thomas R.,
Schitz, Charles. Dead.

Few organizations in the country's national guard have
seen more service than Company K (Birmingham Rifles).
Its war record is part of Alabama's war record ; and its
militia history is intertwined in the history of Northern
Alabama. After the company's reorganization it was of val-
uable service in quelling a number of public disturbances.
Up to and including the Birmingham riot in 1894, the com-
pany manifested the most creditable promptness in respond-

Southern Martyrs. 19

ing to every call issued to it. Since then it was summoned
to Huntsville, in June, 1897, to save three colored prisoners
from mob violence. The company has for years been rec-
ognized as a crack military organization and, as a part of
Colonel Higdon's regiment, anticipated the call for volun-
teers in the Spanish- American war by assuring Governor
Johnston of a readiness to go to the front at any moment.
The oflficers claim that eighty per cent, of the old member-
ship reported for duty in Mobile in May, the company
reaching that rendezvous with ninety-seven men.

The Birmingham RiHes were mustered into the volunteer
service on May 9, 1898. Afterward, on June 13, First Lieu-
tenant Lucien Brown was transferred to the regimental
adjutantship to succeed Lieutenant Johnston in that office,
the latter being relieved at his own request. The company's
official personnel was then changed in the manner indicated
in the accompanying roster.

Company K gained the mournful prominence of having
the first funeral in the regiment. Sergeant Hugh Collins

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryMoses KoeningsbergSouthern martyrs. A history of Alabama's white regiments during the Spanish-American war, touching incidentally on the experiences of the entire First division of the Seventh army corps → online text (page 1 of 15)