A Brief History of the 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry

By Patrick McSherry




A view of the 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry in Camp. This is the street of the regiment's Company E

Click here for a letter from Co. G's  Lt. C. S. Meaker, written from Camp Thomas
Click here for a Photo of Clark Jillson of the 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry

General:

The First Vermont Volunteer Infantry served its term of service within the continental U.S. during the Spanish American War.

Unit History:

The First Vermont Volunteer Infantry was mustered into the federal service at Burlington, Vermont on May 16, 1898. At the time of mustering in, the regiment consisted of forty-eight officers and 980 enlisted men.  The regiment was commanded by Col. Osman O. Clark.

The regiment was soon ordered south. Six days after being mustered in, the 1st Vermont was ordered to report to Camp Thomas, located on the old Civil War battlefield at Chickamauga, Georgia, where it arrived on May 24. The regiment was assigned to the Third Brigade, First Division of the Third Army Corps. Col. Osman was placed in command of the Third Brigade.

The summer at Camp Thomas was far from pleasant. As the population of hard-drilling volunteers grew to the size of that of a city of thirty thousand men, conditions deteriorated. There were not adequate supplies for the number of men who arrived, and sanitation could also not keep up with the tremendous number of volunteers present. Deaths from disease began to rise alarmingly. By late summer, there was a large-scale effort to relocate the troops to other areas. On August 19, the First Vermont Volunteer Infantry packed its gear into twelve wagons and marched five miles to Roseville, where it boarded the trains to finally depart Camp Thomas. The regiment was ordered back to Fort Ethan Allen in its home state, arriving at its new post two days later.

Since the U.S. and Spain had reached an armistice ending the war’s fighting on August 13, the need for additional volunteer forces began to decrease. On September 4, the regiment was given a thirty day furlough. At the expiration of the furlough, the various companies of the regiment were mustered out of service between October 26 and November 7, 1898. At the time of mustering out, the regiment consisted of forty-nine officers and 925 enlisted men. The war would officially end on December 10, 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris between the U.S. and Spain. By this time, the men of the regiment had returned to their civilian lives.

During the regiment’s period of service, it lost one officer and twenty-six enlisted men who died of disease. In addition, two enlisted men deserted.

Members of the 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry, Co. E



Bibliography:

“Chickamauga Camp Notes,” Galveston Daily News. Galveston, Texas, August 16, 1898 (departure from camp Thomas)

Correspondence relating to the War with Spain And Conditions Growing Out of the Same Including the Insurrection in the Philippine Island and the China Relief Expedition. Vol. 1 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902) 530, 621.

“Dismissing the Troops,” North Adams Transcript. North Adams, Massachusetts, August 19, 1898, p. 1 (departure from Camp Thomas)

“Pouring Into Chattanooga,” Oakland Tribune. Oakland, California, May 24, 1898, p.3 (name of colonel, commanding)

Statistical Exhibit of Strength of Volunteer Forces Called into Service During the War with Spain; with Losses from All Causes. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899).

“Tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Webb,” New York Times. November 9, 1899, p. 7 (name of colonel, commanding)

Valentinetti, Richard - Images of the 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry, Co. E.


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