Contributed by Nikki Van Velson and Patrick McSherry
Edwin Eugene Casey as he appeared in College.
The image shows him as he would have appeared at about the time he enlisted.
Pvt. Edwin Casey was the Company Clerk for Captain of Troop H of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry (also known as the "Rough Riders"). Though Casey's troop missed going to Cuba by a coin toss, he was among the unfortunate casualties experienced stateside when the regiment was reunited at New York's Camp Wikoff at Montauk, Long Island.
The following biography is taken from Edwin Eugene Casey's college 1898 yearbook. Though Eugene, as he was generally known, left the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts to join the Rough Riders, he was awarded his diploma after he departed. At the college, among other things, Casey served as yearbook editor.
A native of Orleans Nebraska, Casey's family had moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1886. When the war broke out, he joined the 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry ("Rough Riders") at Sante Fe on May 4, 1898. At the time he joined, he was 19 years old, 5 feet - 6 7/8 inches tall with blue eyes, brown hair, and a "florid" complexion. Casey's literary bent allowed him to ascend to serve as the company clerk of Capt. Curry's Troop H.
The Rough Riders were only permitted to take two-thirds of the regiment to Cuba. By a coin toss, it was determined that Troop H had to remain behind. The Troop stayed in Florida until the remainder of the regiment returned from Cuba, and was sent to Camp Wikoff, at Long Island's Montauk Point in New York. The troops that had been left behind in Florida were sent to Camp Wikoff to reunite with their comrades and reunite the regiment under one command. Disease was prevalent in the camp, though those with illnesses were isolated from the general population. This allowed for most of those who were well to stay that way. However, Edwin Eugene Casey contracted some sort of illness and died at the camp's general hospital on September 2, 1898.
Casey's body was shipped back to Las Cruces for burial.
Edwin Eugene Casey
"E.E. Casey, was born at Orneals, Nebraska, October 23rd, 1878. When he was about one year old his family moved to Colorado, locating near, what is now the town of Buena Vista. In September 1880, his parents came to this Territory, settling at Albuquerque. From there his family removed to the American Valley Ranch in the Southwestern part of Socorro county, where Eugene first learned to ride and where he received the first lessons in the hard work now before him. In 1886 his family moved to Socorro and from there, in the same year, came to Las Cruces. In the fall of 1888, when ten years old, Eugene entered the Las Cruces College, a private institution, conducted by—that celebrated Professor, Hiram Hadley. In this institution, under the personal supervision of Prof. Hadley, he progressed rapidly and when in 1890, the Las Cruces College was verged into our present Agricultural and Mechanic Arts College, with Prof. Hadley as President, Eugene entered as one of the youngest students in the preparatory Department, receiving his certificate of graduation in that department June 1st, 1893. In September 1893, he entered the regular College course, and passing with merit the various grades, graduated with the present Senior class, being the youngest graduate the College has turned out.
For three years Eugene has been Exchange Editor and Manager of the Collegian, doing good work and making a financial success of the paper.
This season he was manager of the College Foot Ball Team, bringing out the best talent and winning the Territorial Championship. He has also for some time past served as President of the Columbian Society, and was when he left Sec’ty of the Senior class. When the tocsin of war sounded and Columbia called on her patriotic sons to unfurl “Old Glory” to the breeze, Eugene was one of the first to respond, enlisting in Co. “H” U.S. Volunteers of New Mexico, under the valiant Captain Curry, of Col. Roosevelts Cow Boy Brigade by “Rough Riders” — commonly known as “Teddy’s Terror’s.”
The College justly feels proud of her boys who have gone to the front, and we know that they will defend our country’s flag to the last ditch—or in death be laid low, with their back to the field and their feet to the foe."
As a courtesy to our readers, clicking on a title in red will take you to that book on Amazon.com
Biography - An article written about E. E. Casey in the Special Commencement of the New Mexico Collegian, New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Las Cruces, New Mexico. May, 1898. Class of ‘98 (contributed by Nikki Van Velson).
Jones, Virgil Carrington, Roosevelt's Rough Riders. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1971) 289.
Obituary - From unknown newspaper (contributed by Nikki Van Velson).
Photos - Contributed by Nikki Van Velson