The 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry in Camp

Contributed by Jeff Berry
General:

The following accounts of the 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry in Camp Poland, Tennessee during the Spanish American War appeared in the Kmoxville Journal and Tribune.

The Articles:

August 27, 1898:

."..Brigadier-General Charles F.Roe, commanding the First brigade of General McKee’s division, has tendered his resignation to take effect as soon as possible.

 The rumors to this effect prevailed yesterday, but were not confirmed until last night. General McKee was seen, and was asked if it was true that General Roe contemplated resigning or if he had resigned. In reply, General McKee stated that the resignation of the commander of the First brigade had been presented, and would go through the proper channels to the war department, where action would be taken. He stated that General Roe had assigned his reason for resigning, but when asked to state them he declined, saying that such information should be given the public from General Roe himself. It was understood, however, from General McKee’s comment that the resignation had been tendered for reasons that have possessed many other officials who have resigned within the past two weeks. That of seeing no further use for their services, in view of the fact that peace has been declared.

 It is a fact that General Roe has extensive business interests in the state of New York, and it is believed that his reasons for resigning are on account of his desire to return home, now that hostilities have ceased, and resume his business relations. General Roe was seen yesterday afternoon, and was given an opportunity to make a statement concerning the report. He stated, however. That he had nothing to say at the present time.

 Brigadier General Roe was one of the civilian appointees named at the beginning of the hostilities with Spain. He had a previous military record, upon which his appointment was based. He is a graduate of West Point, and, after leaving the military academy, served several years in the United States army. He was later detailed as superintendent of West Point, which position he held for several years. It has already been mentioned that General Roe was at West Point the same time Colonel LeRoy Brown was a cadet. He was, however in an advanced class.

 General Roe is at present a citizen of New York, He has large business interests in different portions of the state. He is nearly sixty years of age. The fact that he has previously been connected with the regular army, and retired, leads to the conclusion that he had no desire to remain, now that peace exists between the two nations that were a month ago at war.

 As a brigade commander, General Roe had been a success and he has many friends among the officers and men of his command. He has been stationed as brigadier-general commanding the First brigade, Second Division, First Army Corps. His brigade is at present composed of the First Georgia and Thirty-first Michigan regiments. The Fifth Illinois was in his command before being taken to Newport News, Va.

 It is believed in the military circles here that Colonel LeRoy Brown’s Fourth Tennessee regiment will be attached to General Roe’s brigade at an early date."

August 27, 1898:

A report was sent out by a correspondent of an out of town paper that Col. Gardener had received orders from Washington that his command was to be mustered out immediately. Inquiry yesterday developed the fact that Col. Gardener had received no such orders.

 Many of the Michigan boys, as well as a large percentage in other regiments want to go home rather than do garrison duty in Cuba. They seem to have the idea that Cuba is a fever infested county and they have already had enough of fever. Many of them say, however, that they would like very much to go to Porto Rico for garrison duty, and but very few would object to the Philippines as that would give them a splendid chance to “see the world.”

 There is considerable friendly discussion between the boys of the First Georgia and of the Thirty-first Michigan as to which has the best camping ground. The soldiers of these two regiments wouldn’t think for a moment of such a thing as quarrelling over the question, as they are too friendly to each other for that, but they both claim to have the best camp. And to a disinterested party it is difficulty to say which is correct.


October 2, 1898:

The number of patients in the regimental hospital remains about the same thee being twenty in the different wards. None of the cases are of a severe nature, and the prospects are bright for a continuance of the improvement which has been noticeable in the health of the regiment for some time.

Yesterday was a quiet, lazy day with the Michiganders. There was not much if anything, to break the monotony of camp life at the camp itself. A large number of the soldiers however went to see the ball game at Baldwin park in the afternoon, between the Thirty-first Michigan and the Sixth Ohio.



October 2, 1898:

Now that it has been ordered from Washington that the regimental hospital shall be re-established , in connection with the division hospital, and that each regiment shall have the services of at least two surgeons, one of them being of the rank of major, much speculation is being indulged in as to where the extra surgeons shall come from. As is well known none of the regiments in Camp Poland, with the exception of the colored regiments, have the required number of surgeons. Seven surgeons of this division were sent to Cuba and Porto Rico, while the troops were at Chickamauga, and a number have been made brigade surgeons, or detailed to the division hospital. The Second Ohio, for instance, has at present none of its surgeons with the regiment, Captain McDonald, of the Fourth Tennessee, having been detailed as its regimental surgeon, while at the same time acting as brigade surgeon. The Thirty-First Michigan is in much the same fix as the Second Ohio, having none of its regular surgeons with it, a contract surgeon, Dr. Haze, acting in the capacity of regimental surgeon. It is very probable that when surgeons are assigned to the regiments so that the recent order may be out in force, or in other words, so that each regiment shall have at least two surgeons, a number of contract surgeons will be among the numbers.

It will be remembered, that when Secretary Alger was here he stated that no more surgeons could be commissioned without the consent of congress, but that if more surgeons were needed he would see to it that a sufficient number of contract surgeons would be furnished. From this it is believed that in a short time Camp Poland will have a number of contract surgeons assisting in caring for the sick.



October 2, 1898:

On Wednesday evening, October 12, the non commissioned officers’ club of company L, Thirty-first Michigan will give an informal hop at Corona hall to their friends and members of the regiment. This club was originally organized by company F, Detroit Light Guards, M.N.G., which is the oldest military organization in the state of Michigan.


October 3, 1898:

Nothing Definite Known as to the Time of Gen. Chaffee’s Arrival---Force of Six Hundred Soldiers Busy Laying Water Piper at the New Camp of the Second Ohio—Two Deaths in Division Hospital

The usual Sunday crowds were in evidence again yesterday at Camp Poland, The Middlebrook electric line carried thousands during the afternoon, running three cars together every fifteen minutes. The washout just beyond the Belt Line railroad has been repaired and the cars are running to the new camp of the Second Ohio. This camp entertained many visitors during the afternoon, which was something unusual, as the old camp was so far removed from the street car lines that but very few visitors from the city ever found their way there.

At Lincoln Park the crowds were not as large as on the Sunday previous, but there were enough visitors in the camps of the Sixth Ohio and the First West Virginia to keep the soldiers busy showing them about and otherwise entertaining them. The balloon ascension did not take place as billed, and the visitors were somewhat disappointed on that account as the thrilling feat of the soldier aeronaut was a great attraction on the Sunday before.
The crowds no doubt would have been larger at all of the camps but for the fact that something was wrong with the electric current of the street ca system, causing much delay in handling the passengers

It is surprising to note what a large number of soldiers attend the various churches in the city. Officers and men alike avail themselves of the opportunity offered to attend church of their choice, and as a result the city churches have largely increased congregations.

At the camps the regular Sunday services were held by the various chaplains, or in some instances by city pastors, with the exception of the Second Ohio, which was undergoing the hardship of getting settled properly in its new camps.

At division headquarters yesterday there was unusual quiet, the place being almost deserted. The officers who make this their headquarters were all in the city, attending church or visiting friends.

There seems to be no definite information obtainable at Camp Poland as to when Maj.-Gen A.R. Chaffee, who has been ordered to Knoxville to take command of the Second division, will put in his appearance. It is understood that he is ill, and it may be at least several weeks before he will have recovered sufficiently to assume the cares and responsibilities incident to commanding a division of infantry.

Much satisfaction is expressed among the officers of the various regiment that General Chaffee has been assigned to this command. He is known as a most “excellent officer, and these officers who know of his former record feel confident that he will see to it that the troops under his command receive the best of care and consideration.

There are persistent rumors of additional regiments being ordered to Knoxville to fill the vacancies in the different brigades. These rumors, though persistent, refuse to be traced to an authoritative source of information.



October 3, 1898:

Sunday, as is usual at this camp, was a great day for visitors, and the soldiers enjoyed themselves entertaining lady friends with whom they have become acquainted during their stay here.  Wonder what some Michigan girls would say if they knew how popular the boys of this regiment are in Knoxville?

As Chaplain White preached in the city yesterday morning the usual Sunday morning services at the Y.M.C.A. tent were dispensed with.
Today the special court-martial which is sitting on the case of Captain Bell, of company C, Second Ohio will resume the hearing of the case.



October 5, 1898:

MOST RIGID AND THOROUGH INSPECTION

Will be made of All Camp Poland Regiments Previous to the Arrival of Major General Chaffee—Military Board Appointed  to Examine Officers of the Sixth Virginia—Change Made in the Daily Routine Now in Force.

No word has as yet been received at division headquarters as to when Major  General Chaffee is to arrive to assume command of Camp Poland troops. However, preparations are being made to receive him and an inspection of all the troops is to be commenced as soon as the weather will permit. As was stated in yesterday’s Journal and Tribune, this inspection by officers of General McKee’s staff and by military boards appointed by General McKee, was to have commenced yesterday, but it has been postponed until the weather becomes more pleasant. This inspection will be a most thorough and rigid one.

Probably the first definite step taken in this direction was the appointment by General McKee of a military board to  examine several officers of the Sixth Virginia regiment, colored, as to their efficient as military officers. The names of these officers are not known but it is understood that those who will be examined rank from second lieutenant to major.

The board which will conduct this investigation consists of the following officers: Colonel George Leroy Brown, of the Fourth Tennessee; Lieutenant Colonel Bryant, of  Second Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel S.L. Taylor, of the Third North Carolina; Major Henry L. Hunt, of the Thirty-first Michigan, and Major W.C.Tatom, of the Fourth Tennessee.

This board was appointed in compliance with an order from the war department at Washington.

Rain had a quieting effect on the troops in Camp Poland yesterday. The steady all day downpour kept the men and officers in their quarters to a great extent.

The soldiers of the Second division, who have been enjoying a rest from drill since they came here from Chickamauga park, will not have such as easy time of it from now on. The soldiers have been congratulating themselves since their arrival here on the fact that drills have been almost entirely suspended. An order had been made by General McKee which will restore the daily routine which was in force at Camp Thomas. The program of daily routine which has been sent out from division headquarters to the various regimental commanders plays reveille a half hour later in the morning than it has heretofore been, and taps will sound at a correspondingly earlier hour at night.



October 5, 1898:

The First Brigade court martial continued its sessions in the Y.M.C.A. tent yesterday. A number of minor cases were heard, but any decisions reached have not yet been made public.

Major Hunt has been appointed on the military board of inquiry which will examine several officers of the Sixth Virginia as to their efficiency.
A shadow of gloom was cast over the regiment yesterday by the announcement of the death at the division hospital of Private Ernest E. Waylett.
The sick in the regimental hospital are all reported doing nicely, and the number of patients decreases daily.

Colonel Gardner and Lieutenant-Colonel Schubel are pleased with the way in which some of the enlisted men have started to give social hops for their friends, and they both think that such affairs will tend to make the boys more at home here. They also said that there would be no objections to the men obtaining special passes to attend the informal hop to be given by the non-commissioned officers’ club of company L, at Corona hall Wednesday night, October 12.



October 5, 1898:

The record yesterday was:--Received 12, discharged 12, remaining 296; died, Ernest Waylett, Thirty-first Michigan, aged 25; James A.G. Reed, company E, First West Virginia, aged 22, home at Huntington. The remains of both men will be shipped home for burial.


October 6, 1898:

The handling in of the resignations of nine of the officers of the Sixth Virginia yesterday morning caused quite a stir in camp. The officers, whose names are in the following order, are all colored.

They give no reasons for their act. The order is as follows:

Special Order No. 12

Under the provisions of section 14 under the act of congress, approved April second, a military board to consist of Col. George LeRoy Brown, Fourth Tennessee; Lieutenant-Colonel Edward S. Bryant, Second Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel S.L.A. Taylor, Sixth Virginia; Major Henry L. Hunt, Thirty-first Michigan, and Major Wm. C. Tatom, Fourth Tennessee, is appointed to meet at the headquarters of the Sixth Virginia volunteer infantry, at ten o’clock a.m., on Monday, October third, or as soon thereafter as possible, and examine into the capacity, qualifications, conduct and efficiency of the following named officers, viz.:

Major W.H. Johnson, Sixth Virginia; Captain Chas B. Nicholas, Sixth Virginia; Captain James C. Hill, Sixth Virginia,  Captain J. A. C. Stephens, Sixth Virginia,; Captain Edward W. Gould,  Sixth Virginia; Capt. Peter Shepard, Jr., Sixth Virginia; first Lieutenant Samuel B. Randolph, Sixth Virginia; first Lieutenant Geo. T. Wright, Sixth Virginia; Second Lieutenant David Wardell, Sixth Virginia.

This board did not meet Monday, but did yesterday morning and while in session, the officers above named, all of the Sixth Virginia, handed in their resignations. Their resignations had not been asked for by the board, as the examination of the officers had not been made. All of the officers who sent in the resignations are colored, none of the white officers being included in the list. They will retain their commissions until their resignations are accepted.

The vacancies caused will be filled by promotion of other officers of the regiment. The above mentioned board will remain in power until dissolved by the department. It is not known whether any more cases for investigation will come up.



October 6, 1898:

The men of the Thirty-first do not take very kindly to the new order of daily routine, as they think it is too much work and should not be expected of them. One of the companies refused to go out to drill yesterday, but after a while order prevailed.

The drills they have to go through with and the time consumed by these drills are as follows:--Setting up exercises, fifteen minutes; squad drill, thirty minutes; company drill, forty-five minutes; battalion drill, one hour and a half; guard mount, forty-five minutes; and dress parade, forty-five minutes, making a total of four and one half hours’ drill.

Lieutenant Belser, company A, is confined to his quarters, being slightly ill. He will be out again in a few days.

Private Bury is one of the members of company A, who is in the division hospital. He has malarial fever but is improving daily.

The skirmish drill by the different battalions yesterday afternoon was very interesting indeed and the men executed the maneuvers with great credit.



October 7, 1898:

Orders wee issued yesterday from division headquarters relative to the different regiments taking practice marches.
The order is as follows:--

The following regulations for the conduct of practice marches are published for the information and guidance of all concerned:--Once each week or on days to be indicated by brigade commanders, each regiment of the division will make a practice march from its camp of not less than ten miles, remaining out one night and returning the following day.

The men will be equipped with shelter tents, ponchos, blankets and haversacks. There will be carried in wagons one days; rations, full, and necessary tentage for officers, Until further orders, the First brigade will operate south of the river, the second to the north, between the river and Second creek, and the Third to the southwest, between Second creek and the lower river. Marches will be made with proper tactical disposition of advance and rear guards, and in execution of an assumed and definite problem, involving the country traversed; the problem to be prescribed by the brigade commander, who may use all the regiments of his brigade in combination, if he so desires.

Itineraries will be kept and maps made in accordance with article X: “troops in campaign,” and reports made to this office.

One company in each regiment will be left in charge of the regimental camp and property and the camp will not be broken.

By order of BRIGADIER GERNERAL McKEE. LOUIS V. CAZIARC, Asst. Adj.-Gen.



October 7, 1898:

The regiment did not have all the drills yesterday. The regimental drills have been postponed, but battalion drill will be held ever alternate day until further orders. The men who, at first, objected so strenuously to the extra drills imposed upon them are now better satisfied. Last evening, at dress parade, Col. Gardener delivered a talk to the whole regiment, explaining several things that were not understood. His talk made all the men feel better satisfied.

The officers of the camp are working hard on their books preparatory to the inspection which will occur next week. Officers have been appointed to see that the work was properly done.

The remains of Private Norman E. Weldon, company L, who died in the city yesterday, were sent to his home in Detroit last night. His death was indeed sad and is felt by the whole regiment. His father and mother were with him at the time of his death.

Corporal James W. McEwan, company I, who has been on a furlough of ten days, has received an honorable discharge and will not return to the regiment.

A gasoline explosion in one of the cook tents caused quite a lot of excitement yesterday. No damage was done, however.

A number of the officers of the regiment are at his time enjoying the presence of their wives. Among these in the city are: Mesdames Captain Holloway, company B; Captain Griffin, company F, Captain McKeand, company G, and Lieut. Smith, company M.

A telephone has been put in at the officers’ club, “to talk to the pretty girls,” as one of the married officers remarked.

Guard mount was witnessed by a number of visitors yesterday afternoon and the boys showed uo will . the band was up to its usual standard, too.



October 7, 1898:

Norman Eddy Weldon, aged twenty-two, a member of company L, Thirty-first Michigan regiment, died at the boarding house of Mrs. Jones on Locust Street yesterday morning. He was a victim of the fever and had been sick about a month. The home of the deceased was at South Bend, Indiana. His father reached here on Monday, and left last night with his son’s remains for South Bend.



October 8, 1898:

GENERAL ARMY ORDER ISSUED

A general order was issued today organizing new army corps and designating various points where the troops shall be stationed. The Third, Fifth, and Sixth corps are discontinued; the First, Second, and Fourth corps reorganized. They are to be commanded respectively by Major-Generals Breckinridge, Graham, and Wheeler. The headquarters of each corps will be: First corps, Macon, Ga.; Second corps, Augusta, Ga., Fourth corps, Huntsville, Ala. The full text of the order is as follows:

FIRST ARMY CORPS
Major-general J.C. Breckinridge, U.S.V., commanding headquarters at Macon, Ga.

First division, headquarters at Macon, Ga.:--
First brigade-Atlanta, Ga. Thirty-first Michigan, Fourth Tennessee and Sixth Ohio
Second brigade- Macon, Ga. Third U.S.V. engineers, Second Ohio and Sixth Virginia
Third brigade- Macon, Ga. Tenth U.S.V., infantry and Seventh U.S.V. infantry



October 8, 1898:

Inspection of the camp was the chief event at the Thirty-first yesterday and the first sergeants were all busy as bees getting their books in shape for the general inspection to be held next week.

The following, concerning one of the officers of the Thirty-first, taken from the Jackson Morning Patriot will be of interest to the many friends of the gentleman spoken of: The marriage of Capt. Benj. O. Newell and Miss Fanny Rose Cobb, which was solemnized yesterday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the residence of the latter’s sister, Mrs. F.C. Mead, was a happy event. Rev. R.B. Balcom officiated in the presence of some fifty relatives and the warmest congratulations greeted the bridal couple at the conclusion of the ceremony. The floral decorations in red, white and blue were especially fitting on this occasion and were effectively arranged. Last evening Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Bloomfield gave a delightful reception in their honor, when the high esteem on which both Captain Newell and Mrs. Newell are held was made evident by the many good wishes extended. The bridal couple went on a short trip but will return to Jackson before proceeding to Knoxville to join Captain Newell’s regiment.

Charles Boys, clarionet player in the band received his honorable discharge yesterday and left last night for his home. He will enter Albion College where he graduates this year.  His many friends wish him success in his college work.

Private Holcomb, company H, has also received his discharge and has gone to his home in Jackson.

Lieut. F.A. Baker and Sergeant Baker, company E. left for their home in Lansing last night, where they were called on account of the serious illness of their father.

Private Edwin Road, company I, who has been sick in the city for some time has been given his discharge and gone to his home in Detroit.
Lieutenant Ismond, company D, left last night, on leave of absence, for his home in Jackson.

Private Gardner, company D, has received his discharge and gone home to his home in Jackson. E.C. Grey, company I, has gone to his home in Detroit on furlough.



October 8, 1898:

31st Mich. Vs 4th Tenn
At three o’clock this afternoon the regimental ball teams of the Thirty-first Michigan and the Fourth Tennessee will line up at Baldwin park. The game promises to be fast and interesting in every way. Ladies will be admitted free of charge. Following is the line-up of the two teams:

31st Michigan vs 4thTennessee
Wahn -- p-- Cunningham
Gill -- c -- Grim
Charter -- 1b -- Wilson
Rathborne -- 2b -- Lynch
Hewitt -- 3b -- Baird
Monroe -- ss -- Farris
Dunn --  lf -- Whitehead
McMillan -- cf -- Murrey
Plunkett -- rf -- McKenny



October 9, 1898:

The regular Saturday inspection of guns was postponed from yesterday morning until the afternoon on account of the rain. Both men and equipments showed up well.

The Thirty-first, not to be outdone in matters pertaining to athletics, will come out in a few days with a foot ball team and it is certain to be a “corker”, as the men are all foot ball players, most of them being college men. The team has not yet been selected, but a large number of men are trying for places on it.

The team has in prospect a trip to Michigan on October twenty-sixth. Permission has been granted them by Colonel Gardner and the expense money can be secured, so nothing now seems in the way of their going. They will play against the University of Michigan team and probably other teams before they return.

It is understood that before very long a number of men of the regiment will be given their discharges and new ones recruited. The recruiting offices will be opened in Detroit and members of the First Georgia, which has been mustered out will be given a chance to join the regiment.

The following order was received in camp yesterday:
 

Headquarters First Army Corps, Camp Poland, Knoxville, Tenn.    Special Order No. 263:
Corporal R.B. Huntley and Privates Shields and Hanaford of troop I, Second United States Cavalry, are temporarily attached to the Thirty-first Michigan volunteer infantry for rations and quarters. By command of Brig-Gen. Randall
LOUIS V. VAZIARC
Major, Assistant Adjutant-General


Privates Shields and Hanaford are to go to company L, and Corporal Huntley to company A.

A new frame guardhouse for the prisoners has been built, and they will be more comfortable during the cool nights.

Privates Atlas and Kellar, Fourth Tennessee, the men accused of the murder of Private Shoopman, still remain prisoners in the guard house of the Thirty-first and nothing as yet has been done with them.

It was rumored throughout camp yesterday that the paymaster had arrived, but the report was found to be false.

The following promotions have taken place in company A: Corporal Frank Tice to Sergeant; Corporal Edward O. Schairer to sergeant; Private Frank A. Wagner, to corporal; Private F.W. Dodsley to corporal. The last named is at present on a twenty day sick leave.



October 9, 1898:

MICHIGAN TEAM WON

Defeated the Fourth Tennessee Boys by a Score of 12 to 4

The team from the Thirty-first Michigan regiment won the base ball game at Baldwin park yesterday afternoon, the opposing team being the Fourth Tennessee. The score was twelve to four. The contest was a very pretty one throughout and was marked by some excellent work in the part of some of the individual members of the Michigan aggregation.

The feature of the game, without a doubt, was the playing of Second Baseman Rathborne, of the Michigan team. He played an errorless game, accepting fourteen chances at the bag mentioned. Some of them were exceedingly difficult ones. With a little improvement in his stick work he will be one of the big leaguers within one or two seasons.

Next Saturday the Sixth Ohio and Thirty-first Michigan teams will cross bats at the park.


October 10, 1898:

At the camp of the Thirty-first Michigan yesterday, guard mount and dress parade were the features of the day and a large crowd was present to witness these events. At dress parade a crowd of about 1,000 or 2,000 was present and the regiment showed up in its usual good form. The regiment was under command of Major Harry L. Hunt, who is acting commander during the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel Shubel, who had gone to Lansing, on a twenty days’ leave of absence.

One feature of the dress parade was the fact that the band played, as marches, some well known hymns, which were very appropriate.
The health of the regiment is rapidly improving and now from a health standpoint the regiment is in first class condition. Thirty-seven men belonging to the regiment were discharged from the division hospital yesterday and reported for duty.

A number of men in the Thirty-first have received their honorable discharges and more are expecting them. Yesterday the following men received discharges from Washington: corporal Sevion, Musician Kyer and Private Kennedy, of company A. they will leave in a few days for their homes.
Some excitement was caused early Sunday morning by a number of shots being fired near the camp, but upon investigation nothing wrong could be found.

The band of the Thirty-first continues to improve and although a number of the members are at present away on furloughs, it shows up in good shape, and puts up first class music. It has been engaged to play in the city during carnival week.

Private Carlton F. Gardner, company D, has received his honorable discharge and has gone to his home in Jackson.

A game of football between the team of the Thirty-first and the team of the Sixth Ohio has been arranged for Wednesday afternoon. This game will be full of interest as both teams are composed of old football players.

First Sergeant Cooper, company A, who has been confined to his quarters for some time is improving rapidly and will be out in a few days.



October 10, 1898:

Nearly a month ago, Ed Rood, of company L, Thirty-first Michigan, took the fever and was bad when F. E. McArthur, who knew Rood’s parents, took him to his home. Ben Bostic, a trained negro nurse was secured and everything possible for the comfort and welfare of Rood has been done. He is able to sit up some and will be out in a few days.


October 11, 1898:

The camp of the Thirty-first yesterday looked as if it was undergoing a spring cleaning at the hands of a thousand or more thrifty housewives. The streets were covered with blankets, clothing, straw and numerous other things, all getting a complete airing. The state of affairs was caused by the report that a general inspection would be held this week, and when it comes the boys will be ready for it, with weapons, equippage and everything in tip top shape.

Private O.B. Clark, company B, has just been informed of the death of his half brother, Sergeant Butler, company E, Third United States infantry. Sergeant Butler was killed in the recent fight with the Indians in Minnesota. He passed through the rough experience and dangers of the campaign in Santiago, only to meet his death at the hands of the redskins.

Surgeon Frank K. Owen has gone to Sweetwater, Tenn., at attend the wedding of his cousin, Miss Katherine Owen, at that place.

Corporal Ed Dryden, company B, has received his honorable discharge. He has been very ill with typhoid at his home for several weeks and was there when he received his discharge. He was well liked in his company and his many friends wish him a speedy recovery.

Corporal Walter Marshall, company B, and Corporal Driggs, company C, have also received honorable discharges and will leave in a few days for their homes.

Sergeant Shultz, of company M, has gone to his home in Monroe, Mich., on a twenty day sick leave.

The men who are trying for places on the football team are working hard and within the next few days the team will be selected. A practice game with the University of Tennessee boys has been scheduled for one day this week and will be full of interest. Notice of the date of this game will be published later.



October 12, 1898:

Aside from the arrival of the paymaster and the payment of the men, the foot ball team that is being organized in the regiment is attracting great attention. Every officer and man in the Thirty-first is interested in it. The men who are trying for places on the team are working hard every day and are rapidly getting in form. Among the candidates trying for places and from whom the team will be selected are the following: four ends, Church, Bach, Banfield, Wistrand and Ward. For tackles, Myers, Wood and Juttner. For guards, Hoeize and Baker. For center rush, House and Zeigler. For quarter back, Lavier, Anderson and Henderson. For half backs, Dibble, May. Sloan and Stark. For full back, May and Lombard. Corporal Juttner is the captain of the  team and is at present acting as coach. The line of the team will average 180 pounds, and the average back of the line will be 145 pounds, making an exceptionally strong team. As has been stated, a trip will be taken to Michigan by the team, but before going, several games will be played here.

The game scheduled with the University of Tennessee team has been called off.

Mr. Jake Ebbert, a prominent citizen of Brooklyn, Michigan, is visiting his son Henry, of company D, who is in the hospital.

The band of the Thirty-first is now in fighting as well as playing trim. They were yesterday issued revolvers. These weapons are the Colt’s 45 calibre. The same as are used by the officers and are beauties, being made of the best blue steel and having all the latest improvements.

Private Maurice M. Butzel, company L, has received an honorable discharge from the army and will leave in a few days.

Private Morris Haggetry, company L, who is at present on sick leave has also received his discharge. He too, is in Detroit, his home.

W.C. Heyser and Eugene Converse, two prominent citizens of Jackson, Mich., were the guests of the officers in camp yesterday. Mr. Heyser is ex-mayor of Jackson and was at one time a resident of Knoxville, having large lumber interests in this vicinity.

Indoor base ball is now being indulged in by the boys in several of the companies. They, however, have to play out of doors, as there is no room “in doors.”



October 13, 1898:

The “promenade dance” to be given in honor of the officers of Camp Poland by the members of the “Women’s Building Board,” will be postponed till Monday night. The ladies of the board will receive and be assisted in entertaining by some of Knoxville’s fairest daughters. The introduction committee will consist of some of the younger married couples. It is the special request of the officers that this will not be a strictly military affair-so it is hoped the young gentlemen of the city will participate. Cards of admission can be obtained from Col. Gardner, Thirty-First Michigan; Capt. White, First West Virginia; Capt. Collier, Second Ohio; Lieut. Fisk, Sixth Ohio; Lieut McAllister, Fourth Tennessee; Lieut Walker, First West Virginia; Mr. Tom Calloway, McCormick Clothing Co., or at Woman’s Building at 8:30 Monday night.



October 13, 1898:

Sergeant Wm. Osborne, Co. C, accompanied by a private left last night for Macon, Ga., to bring back to camp Private Howard Frink, Co. F, who is a deserter. Frink is at present in the hands of the civil authorities at Macon and will be held until the arrival of Sergeant Osborne.

The ball game to be played Saturday by the teams from the Thirty-first and the Sixth Ohio will be of great interest as a purse of $50 will be contended for. The Michigan boys are working hard to secure the prize and will make a strong fight for it.

Private Earl Chase, Co. C, has been detailed as regimental mail carrier in the absence of Private Willis G. Johnson, vice temporary mail carrier L.A. Krauss, Co A, who has returned to his company.

The dance at Corona hall last night given by the non-commissioned officers club, was thoroughly enjoyable affair and was attended by large number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, besides a number of friends from the city.

Private Martin Whelan, Co L, is in Detroit on a furlough of ten days.

Miss Welliver is a visitor in camp, who is very popular. She is visiting her brother, Private Welliver, Co. B.

Mr. and Mrs. Judson of Adrian, Mich., are visitors in camp at the present time, being guests of their son, Glen B. Judson, Co. B.



October 13, 1898:

Non-commissioned Officers’ Club of 31st Michigan Entertains.

Last night the non-commissioned officers’ club of company I, Thirty-first Michigan regiment, tendered an informal ball at Corona hall. A number of the representative society young ladies of the city were present, and the best of music was had. The non-coms, of the regiment were out in full force, as was also Col. Gardener, their popular commander. The colonel expressed himself as being pleased with the social stand taken by his men in this city, and he assured the Michigan boys having in charge last night’s event that it was a success in every particular. If it be the privilege of the Michigan regiment to remain in Knoxville, the city it now terms its home, the club proposes giving a social function of this nature at least once each month.



December 4, 1898:

MONDAY IS PAY DAY ---With the Two Regiments in Camp Poland—Gen Wilson is Expected to Arrive Tomorrow—Rigid Inspection the Object of His Visit-All Officers to be Examined Physically

The routine of camp life in the Sixth Ohio and Thirty-first Michigan regiments is being kept up with military precision. But little drilling is done in a regimental way, but all minor exercises are daily indulged in. There is no definite information as to when these regiments will get away for Cuba. It will not be, however, until transports are ready to move the men safely and quickly.
Majors H.H. Twombley and James B. Kenner, who will pay the regiments here, remain in the city. They will commence paying the men Monday morning at eight o’clock and it is expected that by noon or soon after each soldier will have his money. The sum to be distributed will be about $40,000.

Information reached the city last night that General Wilson, in command of the corps embracing the troops of Camp Poland, will reach here in a private car tomorrow at noon. He comes here with a view of inspecting the camps, quarters, arm etc., of the regiments, and when his work is finished he will go to Anniston.



December 4, 1898:

No complaints were heard yesterday because the paymasters did not reach camp and all content to wait until tomorrow.

Colonel Gardener yesterday reported a most important order that will be of general interest. He stated that one had been issued for the three leading surgical officers of this brigade to form a board for the purpose of examining officers in a physical way, to ascertain their fitness for service in a tropical climate. This board will, of course, be selected from the regiments here as the Fourth Tennessee has just reached Cuba. The surgeons composing the board have not been announced, but they will no doubt be Messrs. Myers, Howell and Colby. The first meeting of the board will be held on Monday morning in this camp and it will require several days to complete its work. There are nearly one hundred commissioned officers in the two regiments.

Two neat and good rifle ranges will be put up early this week for the use of the men. This will provide practice that will be appreciated.

Chaplain White will conduct hospital services this morning at 8:45 o’clock preach in the Y.M.C.A. tent at 9:45, at the Central Presbyterian church at eleven and again in the Y.M.C.A. tent at 6:30 p.m. His report for November work is in substance as follows: Attendance at Y.M.C.A. tent 12, 195. Attendance at religious meetings and Bible classes, 679. Religious papers distributed, 400. Entertainments, 1. Letter written, 8,860. Sheets of paper used 14,850. Envelopes used, 8000. Stamps purchased 10,000. Visits to sick, 190 Sick aided, 78. Collected form companies for expenses, $ 64.30.



December 4, 1898:

MICHIGAN SERGEANTS MEET

A meeting of the sergeants of the Thirty-First Michigan regiment was held yesterday at the colonel’s headquarters for the purpose of taking action toward the collection of a find from the regiment to assist in the maintenance of a bed in the new city hospital. Organization wa perfect by the election of the following officers:

President-Sergeant Barger, company I
Secretary- Sergeant Hasse, company E.
Treasurer- Sergeant Muldary, company B.

A committee was appointed consisting of the first sergeants of all the companies of the regiment to collect the funds and transfer the same to the proper authorities.



Bibliography:

TheThe Journal and Tribune (Knoxville, TN), August 27, 1898; October 2, 1898; October 3, 1898; October 5, 1898; October 6, 1898; October 7, 1898; October 8, 1898; October 9, 1898; October 12, 1898; October 13, 1898; November 24, 1898; December 4, 1898 - Contributed by Jeff Berry


Support this Site by Visiting the Website Store! (help us defray costs!)
We are providing the following service for our readers. If you are interested in books, videos, CD's etc. related to the Spanish American War, simply type in "Spanish American War" as the keyword and click on "go" to get a list of titles available through Amazon.com.

Search:
Keywords: 
In Association with Amazon.com

Visit Main Page for copyright data

 
Return to First Person Accounts/Action Reports

Return to Main Page