A Brief history of the 2nd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry

by  Patrick McSherry  
The 2nd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry mustered into service between May 14 and may 25 after President McKinley's April 23, 1898  proclamation calling for 125,000 volunteers for service in the war against Spain. The unit rendezvoused at Fort Logan H. Roots in Arkansas. At its mustering in, the unit consisted of forty-five officers and 968 enlisted men.

Eventunally, it would serve as part of the second brigade (under the command of Col. Milton Moore) of the first division of the Third Army Corps. "The operations of this corps during its two and a half months' service in Chickamauga Park [Camp Thomas was on the old Civil War Chickamauga battlefield in Georgia, which was owned by the Federal Government and had the space readily available for a large encampment] were limited to completing its equipment, instruction, drill, and training necessary to prepare it for the more serious work of actual campaign...The daily routine consisted of schools for officers and noncommissioned officers, elementary drill, target practice and battle exercises. In these the troops acquired a proficiency which justified the utmost confidence in their efficiency and effectiveness in actual operations of war."

The camp at Chickmauga was becoming unhealthy, so on August 28, 1898, the Third Corps was ordered to Camp Shipp at Anniston, Alabama. There had been 1,818 cases of illness in the 3rd Corps, 1st Division, of which 32 had resulted in death. This was eight times the number of deaths suffered by the U.S. forces in the taking of Puerto Rico. The actual movement to Anniston began on September 1, 1898. The unit was still in Anniston as of October 13, 1898.

The fighting had ended on August 12 by armistice, though the war would officially continue until December 10, when the Treaty of Paris was signed officially terminating hostilities. The 2nd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry was mustered out of service on February 25, 1899 at Anniston. At the time of its mustering out, the unit consisted of forty-six officers and 822 enlisted men.

The Second Arkansas did not have to leave the country to suffer casualties from the ravages of disease. During its term of service, the unit had one officer and twenty-seven enlisted men die from disease and sixty enlisted men discharged for reasons of disability. In addition, two enlisted men were court-martialed, and forty-three men deserted.



Bibliography:

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Clerk of Joint Comittee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899). Vol. 1, pp. 607, Vol 3, pp. 224-225, 489, 494.

Cosmas, Graham A., An Army for Empire : The United States Army in the Spanish American War. (Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Co., 1993)..  275

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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