The Eighth Regiment

Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company K

by  Patrick McSherry; Info. contributed by Roger Larose  

The 8th Massachusetts, Company K in camp.
Click here for a partial roster of the 8th Massachusetts

General:

The Eighth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company K, along with the remainder of the regiment, served stateside during the Spanish American War, but following the war, served in Cuba as part of the occupation force.

Unit History:

Company K of the Eighth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was founded around Company K of the Eighth Massachusetts National Guard. Also known as the "Danvers Light Infantry" from its place of origin, the unit was formed on March 25, 1891 after the disbanding of the "Mechanic Light Infantry."

By the time of the Spanish American War, the unit was under the command of Capt. A. Preston Chase. In early May, 1898, the unit left for Camp Framingham, escorted from its armory by a delegation of local cavalry, police, G.A.R. member, cadets, citizens, and school children. The unit was mustered into the Federal service as the 8th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Co. K between May 11 and 14, 1898. The regiment, of which the company was a part, consisted of 47 officers and 896 enlisted men. The unit would grow to include 59 officers and 1,358 men.

Subsequent to its being mustered in, the unit was sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee, later serving at Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia, and Camp Lexington at Lexington, Kentucky. Camp Thomas was placed on the grounds of the former Civil War battlefield since it was federally owned land. The camp grew into a city of about 30,000 men, becoming quite unhealthy since it lacked in sanitation, adequate water and supplies. While the unit was at Chickamauga, an armistice was declared between the United States and Spain, ending the actual fighting on August 12, 1898. Also while at Camp Thomas, in late August, Company K suffered its first loss. Company bugler Spencer S. Hobbs succumbed to typhoid fever. His body was sent home to Danvers.

With the camp at Chickamauga becoming more unhealthy, the units serving there were shifted to other locations. The Eighth Massachusetts was shifted to Lexington, Kentucky. The unit was apparently still in this camp when the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898.

On January 7, 1899, the 8th Massachusetts began its service abroad, steaming for Cuba. It arrived three days later. In Cuba, it served as part of the occupation force on the island. The unit would continue in this role until April 4, 1898, when it began its trip home to the U.S., arriving on April 9, 1899.

The 8th Massachusetts was mustered out of service in Boston on April 28, 1899. During its term of service, the regiment lost one officer and thirty men to disease. Additionally, fifteen men deserted and fifty-four were discharged on disability.



BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Clerk of Joint Committee 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. 3, 494.

Larose, Roger, Photo. (Mr. Larose is a descendent of John Thomas Nolan of the Company).

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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