The State of DelawareIn The Spanish American War, February 15th, 1898, to July 4th, 1902
The following information is about the Volunteers and Government Officials of the State of Delaware during the Spanish American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and China Relief Expedition, February 15th, 1898, to July 4th, 1902. If you have any additional information, photographs, artifcats, etc., that you wish to contribute, feel free to submit the information to the Webmaster.
April 23rd, 1898: President William McKinley issues a call for 125,000 volunteers from across the United States to serve for two years unless sooner discharged, with each state and territory being assigned a quota that they were requested to fill. At the start of the War with Spain Delaware military forces were organized under the title of the “National Guard of Delaware” and was reported as having an authorized strength in April of 1898 at around 750 officers and men, in reality the number of men organized were only 521 officers and men, with another 28,080 liable for military duty. The National Guard was organized into one brigade. In April of 1898 they were organized as follows:
First Regiment of Infantry. Headquarters – Wilmington; Company A – Wilmington; Company B – Milford; Company C – Wilmington; Company E – Wyoming; Company F – Wilmington; Company G – Harrington; Company H – Newcastle; Company I – Laurel; Company K – Wilmington; Gun Detachment – Wilmington
April 26th, 1898: The members of the Delaware National Guard are ordered to mobilize at Camp Ebe W. Tunnell in Middletown, Delaware, per orders from the Governor through the Adjutant General of the State. The War Departments orders called for the mobilization to take place at Wilmington, however these were changed to match those of the Governor.
May 9th to 19th, 1898: The First (1st) Delaware Infantry Regiment, United States Volunteers, is mustered into United States service at Camp Ebe W. Tunnell with 47 officers and 969 enlisted men, under the command of Colonel Israel P. Wickersham.
November 16th, 1898: The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the First (1st) Delaware Infantry Regiment are mustered out of United States service at Wilmington, Delaware.
December 19th, 1898: The 3rd Battalion of the First (1st) Delaware Infantry Regiment is mustered out of United States service at Wilmington, Delaware.
During peace time and war the United States Military and State National Guard maintains forts, posts, depots, and other installations throughout the various states, and in times of war Camps are organized as rendezvous for the various volunteers joining. The following is a listing of those posts that were located and active in the State of Delaware from February 15th, 1898, to July 4th, 1902.
CAMP EBE W. TUNNELL, MIDDLETOWN, NEW CASTLE COUNTYThis camp was established in April of 1898, per orders of the Governor for the mobilization of Delaware Volunteers for service in the War with Spain, and was named in honor of the then Governor Ebe Walter Tunnell. The first volunteers arrived at the camp on April 26th, and continued to arrive throughout the next few weeks, during which time the 1st Delaware Infantry Regiment was mustered into the United States service. The camp was closed on August 20th, 1898, after the last volunteer left. Camp Tunnell was located on the east end of Middletown, and was situated southeast of the intersection of Main and Catherine Streets.
FORT DELAWARE, PEA PATCH ISLAND, NEW CASTLE COUNTYConstructed first began on Pea Patch Island in 1813 with work begin done on a seawall and dykes, with construction of a star fort type fortification beginning in December of 1817 and lasting until the mid 1820’s. In February of 1831 most of the fort was destroyed by a fire, which swept through the post, and in 1833 the remains of the post were torn down to make way for construction of a new fort on the same site. Construction of the new fort began in 1836, however was delayed in 1838 due to a legal battle over who was the proper owner of the island, and as a result work was not resumed until 1848. The fort was essentially completed in 1859, however the engineer in charge did not declare the work finished until 1868. During the American Civil War, 1861 to 1865, the fort was used to house Confederate prisoners of war, and outside of the walls barracks were constructed to house the prisoners, and by wars end was housing almost 33,000 men. Following the War the fort was reduced to a smaller garrison, the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment, and modifications continued to be made throughout the years. In October of 1878 a hurricane struck the island, and was followed in August of 1885 by a tornado, these two storms did an extensive amount of damage to the structures surrounding the post, including destroying the Chapel and Hospital. In 1893 a mine casemate was constructed north of the Fort for the purpose of controlling the use of mines in the Delaware River, which would be deployed against enemy ships trying to enter the river. From 1896 to 1901 construction was begun on a series of Endicott Batteries around the Fort, those constructed were Battery Dodd in 1899, and Batteries Torbert, Hentig, Alburtis, and Allen in 1901. Of these batteries Torbert was constructed within the Fort, replacing a set of officers quarters and soldiers barracks which were torn down for the purpose. During the Spanish American War the post was garrison by the men of the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment as well as Company I of the 14th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was assigned to the post for a short time. In March of 1919 the army began the process of standing down the post, and all unnecessary items were removed, and following the Second World War the fort was abandoned and declared as a ‘surplus site.’ In 1947 the State of Delaware acquired possession of the Island and Fort from the Government, and converted it into a State Park. Click Here for Information on the Fort Delaware SocietyFORT DU PONT, DELAWARE CITY, NEW CASTLE COUNTYThe fort was first established in 1861 as the camp at Battery Point along the Delaware River, and served to provide support to nearby Fort Delaware. In 1863 the post was redesignated as Camp Reynolds (in honor of Major General John Fulton Reynolds), and a ten-gun battery was constructed at the post from 1863 to 1864, which was later upgraded by the Army to the name of Fort Reynolds in 1871. From 1872 to 1876 the battery was rebuilt to house twenty instead of ten guns, and just prior to the Spanish American War was re-designated as Fort Du Pont (in honor of Admiral Samuel F. DuPont) on July 22nd, 1899. It was during this time that construction was begun upon the posts Endicott Batteries, Batteries Read and Gibson in 1899, and Batteries Rodney, Best, and Ritchie in 1900, as well as the posts mine control casement which had been started in 1892. Following the War with Spain the fort resumed its customary duties, and served as the headquarters of the Middle Atlantic Coast Artillery District. During World War I the fort was a training post for local troops and artillery units, and also as a training ground for the 7th Trench Mortar Battalion to October of 1918. In 1921 the guns were removed from the fort and it served as the headquarters, and post, of the 1st Engineer Battalion (later Regiment) from May of 1922 to 1941, and as the Harbor Defense Headquarters until 1942. During the Second World War the post served first as a training ground for the Army Reserve Units who were mobilizing, but in May of 1944 it was converted to serve as a prisoner of war camp for Germans and Italians who had been captured in North Africa, by wars end the post had housed nearly 3,000 prisoners. The Fort was decommissioned in December of 1945, and the property turned over to the care of the State of Delaware in 1946. In 1948 the state opened the Governor Bacon Health Center on the site, using the buildings remaining for their offices. In 1992 a large portion of the property was turned over to the Division of Parks and Recreation and re-opened to the public as the Fort Du Pont State Park.
Following the end of the conflicts the Veterans began forming themselves into various regimental and national organizations for the purpose of keeping in contact with old and new friends, as well as to perpetuate the memory of their fallen comrades, several organizations sprung up in the years immediately following the war, however aside from the Regimental Associations most of these eventually came together to form the "United Spanish War Veterans." The following is information regarding the Department of Delaware of the United Spanish War Veterans and the Auxiliary of the United Spanish War Veterans.
The following pages contain information on the burial locations of the Veterans of 1898 to 1902, as well as the monuments and memorials that were erected to the memory of the Veterans, Battles, and other events that took place during those years, within the State of Delaware.
Books & Published Material
- Pages 217 to 219 & 783, "The Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1898." D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1899.
- "Biennial Report of the Adjutant General of Delaware, 1896 to 1898." The Sussex Countlan, Laurel, Delaware, 1898.
- "Biennial Report of the Adjutant General of Delaware, 1900." The Sunday Star Print, Wilmington, Delaware, 1901.
- "Biennial Report of the Adjutant General of Delaware, 1902." The Chronicle Power Print, Milford, Delaware, 1903.
- "Camps of the United Spanish War Veterans. Local Lairs of the Military Order of the Serpent, 1904-1992.” George Kane.
- Page 345, 520, 523, 524, 525, & 586, "Correspondence relating to the War with Spain, and conditions growing out of the same, including the Insurrection in the Philippine Islands, and the China Relief Expedition, between the Adjutant-General of the Army and Military Commanders in the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico, China, and the Philippine Islands, from April 15, 1898, to July 30, 1902." Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1902.
- Volume I, "Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903." Francis B. Heitman, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1903.
- Pages 245 to 246, Volume I, “History of the State of Delaware." Henry C. Conrad, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908.
- "Officers of Volunteer Regiments Organized Under the Act of March 2, 1899." Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1899.
- Pages 44 to 48, "The Organized Militia of the United States." Government Printing Press, Washington, D.C., 1900.
- Pages 466 to 470, Volume I, “Report on the Origin and Spread of Typhoid Fever in U.S. Military Camps during the Spanish War of 1898.” Walter Reed, Victor C. Vaughan, Edward O. Shakespeare; Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1904.
- "Statistical Exhibit of Strength of Volunteer Forces Called Into Service During the War With Spain; with Losses From All Causes." Adjutant Generals Office, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1899.
Websites & Online Resources
- Delaware Military Heritage & Education Foundation.
- The Delaware National Guard in the Spanish American War.
- Spanish-American War Camps, 1898-1899 Period.