The Third Nebraska Volunteer Infantry served as part of the occupation force in Cuba following the Spanish American War.
The 3rd Nebraska originally was intended to serve as in Cuba as part of Major General William Shafter's Fifth Corps. However, the unit served as part of Fitzhugh Lee's Seventh Corps instead. The Third Nebraska was raised in the second call for volunteers, and was mustered into service between July 1 and July 17, 1899 at Omaha, Nebraska. At the time of mustering in, the unit consisted of forty offices and 1,274 enlisted men. The colonel of the regiment was none other than William Jennings Bryan, who had run against William McKinley for the presidency.
They were not involved in any of the major battles but would have faced the dangers of illness and disease, serving in camp in the U.S. and as part of the occupation force in Cuba. The unit was encamped at Camp Cuba Libre in Jacksonville, Florida while the war was ongoing. The fighting ended less than a month after the Third was mustered into service, when an armistice was set in place on August 12, 1898.
The Third Nebraska departed for Cuba on December 30, 1898, twenty days after the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the war. The unit arrived in Cuba on New Years Day, 1899. The Third Nebraska served in Cuba until April 7, 1899, arriving back in the U.S. five days later.
The Third Nebraska Volunteer Infantry was mustered out of service on May 11, 1899 at Augusta, Georgia. At the time of mustering out, the unit consisted of fifty-five offices and 1,251 enlisted men. During it term of service the unit had one officer and thirty-one enlisted men die of disease. In addition, twenty men were discharged on disability, one man was court-martialed and three men deserted.
Another view of some of the men of the 3rd Nebraska Volunteer Infantry (apparently men of Company D). At the far right is Frank Sutton. Charles ("Chine") Sutton, Frank's brother is the second from the left, in the light colored shirt. According to family tradition, both Frank and Charles were sergeants in the regiment. Frank Harkaway Sutton was born June 27, 1870, the son of Robert Ashley Sutton and Delilah Ellen (Dalton) Berry. Single at the time of the war, he later married Emma Claire Hazen and had five children. The family homesteaded in Custer County, South Dakota, one mile east of what is now Custer State Park.
(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on Amazon.com)
Blanchard, Kelly (image of 3rd Nebraska with Frank and Charles Sutton, and info. on the Sutton family)
Cosmas, Graham A., An Army for Empire : The United States Army in the Spanish American War. (Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Co., 1993). 128.
Larsen, John H., (grandson of Christian Clausen, 1st Nebraska, Co. D) - Photo of the 3rd Nebraska
Novak, Gregg, Remember the Maine and to Hell with Spain. (Champagne: Ulster Imports, 1990) 37.
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).