A Brief History of the 1st Wyoming Volunteer Infantry

By Patrick McSherry
General:

The First Wyoming Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service between May 7 and 10, 1898 at Cheyenne, Wyoming. At the time of mustering in, the unit consisted of fourteen officers and 324 enlisted men.

After mustering in to the service, the First Wyoming Volunteer Infantry proceeded to San Francisco. From there, it joined the Third Philippine Expedition which left for the Philippines between June 27 and 29, 1898. The 1st Wyoming would make the journey aboard the transports CITY OF PUEBLA and OHIO. Also part of this expedition were portions of the 18th U.S. Infantry, 23rd U.S. Infantry, four batteries of the 3rd U.S. Artillery, one company of the U.S. Engineers, the First Idaho Volunteer Infantry, the 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, the Astor Battery, and detachments of the Hospital and Signal Corps. After stopping at Hawaii enroute, the expedition arrived in Manila between July 25 and July 31, 1898.

On arrival in the Philippines, the unit was placed in General Arthur MacArthur's First Brigade, Second Division, of the Eighth Army Corps. The 1st Wyoming took part in the actions resulting in the fall of Manila on August 13, 1898, following the 18th U.S. Infantry into the city itself. Though fired upon, the 1st Wyoming never found itself in a position to adequately return fire or become actively engaged. This was probably good, since, by agreement, the city had already surrendered.

The Spanish American War ended on December 10, 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. However, on February 4, 1899, the Philippine American War broke out, which would continue until 1902.

The First Wyoming Volunteer Infantry left the Philippines on July 30, 1899 arriving back in the United States on August 29. The regiment was mustered out of service on September 23. At the time of mustering out, the regiment consisted of fourteen officers and 239 enlisted men. During its term of service had one man killed in action and two men who died as a result of wounds received in action. In addition, ten men died from disease, four men deserted, and nine were discharged on disability.

Report on the fall of Manila:

Below is the report of the commanding officer of the 1st Wyoming Volunteer Infantry concerning the unit's actions at the fall of Manila on August 13, 1898. The map referred to is included below, also.

MANILA, P. I., August 15, 1898.

Gen. ARTHUR McARTHUR,
Commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Eighth Army Corps.

SIR: In obedience to your request, I have the honor to submit herewith a report of the movements of my command on Saturday, August 13, 1898, as follows:

My command, according to orders, left Camp Dewey at 7.05 a. in. and marched as directed to the open field north of Camp Dewey and about 400 yards to the left and rear of the road leading to Pasai - location marked on the accompanying map (a). We arrived at this position at 8.05 a. m. and remained there until and during the bombardment by the fleet.  When this ceased, we were informed that the city had surrendered and were ordered to move on toward the city.

We followed the Idaho troops up the road, following the route marked out and indicated by the dotted line to the point marked  "B," where we were met by Lieutenant Clark, of General Anderson's staff, who gave us orders from the general to move forward, find the Eighteenth Infantry, and follow them into the city.

I pushed forward as rapidly as possible, passing the Idaho troops at the old house and embankments marked on the map (c).  Here we were informed that the Eighteenth had just passed, going straight down the road.  After going about 500 yards down this road we saw ahead of us, about 150 yards and to the right of the road, a body of our own troops behind a line of intrenchments.  On reaching the point marked (d) and at the time of the discovery of the body of troops above mentioned, we were fired upon by the enemy, as I judged, from some distance to the front and directly ahead.  The enemy were out of sight and I immediately moved the column off the road behind a line of entrenchments, sent forward a point and flankers to patrol ahead, and sent a messenger across the field to the troops on our right to discover if they were the Eighteenth and also find out what the situation was, as we had supposed that the city had surrendered and that the fighting was over.  The messenger returned, informing me that it was the Eighteenth, and that they were advancing as a line of skirmishers, and that Colonel Van Valzah, or the commanding officer, thought we had better hold our position for a few minutes until we saw his line advance, and then move forward up the road.  In a few minutes he began to advance and we moved forward up the road, there being at this time only an occasional shot in our vicinity, with some very lively skirmish firing to the right and forward.  We advanced to the point marked (e), where there was a sharp turn in the road to the left.  Here we met a detachment of the Eighteenth, which had become separated from the main body, and we directed them toward their command and followed immediately in their wake, turning to the right somewhat and passing through a swamp covered with canes and felled brush and trees, toward the line of entrenchments running to the east of the fort on the beach.  We came to the line of intrenchments, and crossing hem proceeded down the line westward to the stone bridge, marked (f), thence north up the street, endeavoring to overtake the Eighteenth, who were some short distance ahead of us.  There were so many detachments moving into this street from toward the beach that it was difficult to keep them in sight, but this we managed to do.

There was considerable firing still on our right, and upon reaching the point marked (g) we were again fired upon from the right, the line of fire being down a side street and from an invisible enemy.  I again moved my troops into position, facing the fire and partly covered, and prepared to move forward in their direction should occasion require, but knowing that there were some of our troops in that direction I held my command ready to reenforce, in case there was any force trying to drive back our advance, by making a counter attack.  The firing soon ceased and we continued to advance up the street in the same direction as before, turning to the eastward upon the street running along the moat and walled city to a point a short distance below the first bridge leading into the old town.  Here we halted and awaited orders, and we waited until 5 o'clock, when General Anderson ordered us to take possession of the barracks facing the above-mentioned bridge, which we did at 5.30 p.m., and raised our flag and arranged a guard for our own quarters and for General Anderson's headquarters, which was only a short distance down the street to the eastward. This closed the movements of the command for the day.

Very Respectively
 

Frank M. Foote
Major, commanding First Battalion, Wyoming First Volunteer Infantry



 Bibliography:

Clerk of Joint Committee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress. Vol 3 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899) 113, 122-123, 500.

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).


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