Spanish American War Dog Tags
By Patrick McSherry
At the time of the Spanish American War, official dogtags were not
issued. Of course, the concern of identification if someone fell in battle
was a concern to the soldiers and their families. Below are three of the
many privately obtained dogtags, which came in many styles and varieties.
The first (immediately below) is a dog tag that was used during the
Spanish American War. This particular dog tag was used by Aubrey
L. Whetton, of the 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry, Company E. The
dog tag is somewhat fancy, with a carved and decorative edge.
The second dog tag (below) belonged to Private John Kiely of the First
Montana Volunteer Infantry. The front gives his unit and an identification
number The back indicates that it was provided by the Red Cross. The San
Francisco Red Cross Society attempted to provide all volunteers and U.S.
regulars with such medals for identification. Needless to say, the Society
could only provide these to units which came close to its area of work
(i.e., this was not done for military units on the East Coast.
examples are other privatelt purchased dogtags. The example at left belonged
to Norman P. Tripp of the 6th Ohio Volunteer
Co. F. The medal reads
"Co. F, 6th Ohio Vol. Inf., Spanish-American War." Around the left perimeter
is "N. P. Tripp" and on the right perimeter is "June 1898." In June of
1898, the regiment was in Camp Thomas, Georgia (medal image contributed
by Brad Lacey). The example at right belonged to James L. Powers from Concord,
Massachusetts, who served with the 6th Massachusetts
in Puerto Rico. The dogtag reads "Ja s. L. Powers
6th Mass. Inf. U.S.V. Concord.
Mass."(image courtest of Ricardo R. Medina).
Durand, John - Information concerning the San
Francisco Red Cross Society's dog tag system. (Data from Coats, Stephen
D., Gathering at the Golden Gate: Mobilizing for War in the Philippines,
1898 (Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institut Press, 2006) page 160
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