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The Address of Col. Joseph Bobleter

of the 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by Gina Gage

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In the unit's commemorative pamphlet, the 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry's commander, Col Joseph Bobleter, addressed the unit's history and activities as follows:

The Address:

"To the Officers and Men of the 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry

When on the 20th day of April you departed from your homes and offered your services to the President of the United States, in answer to his call for troops to take up arms against the kingdom of Spain, but few, if any of you had a thought that you would be returned to your homes by the first of November. The men who joined the regiment under the President's second call, did so in the firm belief that the war had not yet fairly begun and that their services would be required for many months to come. You entered the army impelled by true American patriotism. The destruction of the Maine and the loss of many brave men that went down in her, was to be avenged. The Spanish rule in the western hemisphere was to be overthrown and a long suffering people given their freedom. Truly, a more noble and righteous cause never impelled brave men to deeds of valor. The war has been a remarkable one in many respects. From the opening of the hostilities to the close of the war, the forces of the United States, on both land and sea, have not met with a single reverse. Dewey's victory at Manila and Sampson's at Santiago will go down into history as the most remarkable naval conflicts on record. The American navy is now the admiration of the entire civilized world. The complete annihilation of the Spanish fleets so crippled and disheartened the enemy hat they made but a feeble resistance against our victorious armies in the Philippines and Porto Rico (sic), and they had no heart to meet our army in Cuba after Schafters great victory at Santiago. And thus the war was terminated.

The history of the 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry is made up. It is not what you or I would have like to have made it, but the fault was not ours--the opportunity was not given. You can return to your homes and truthfully say that you served in one of the vest regiments in the volunteer army of the United States during the American-Spanish war of 1898. The discipline of the regiment has always been good, and the arduous duties you so cheerfully performed at Camp Geo. H. Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., fitted you well for any kind of service. I am pleased to say that I firmly believe that you would have given a good account of yourselves in action, had the opportunity been presented. Many of you have suffered with disease, 19 of your comrades have laid down their lives while in the service of their country, and you are entitled to and will receive just as much credit as the men who were at the "front". When asked what part you took in the war, the answer: "I obeyed orders."

In taking leave of the regiment, I wish to thank officers and men for their hearty cooperation in making the regiment what it is and to say that if at any time discipline seemed to be too strict it was always for the good of the regiment.

I would suggest that before we part, we perfect an organization to meet once a year to keep up and still farther promote the still farther promote the many strong friendships which have been formed between men who took the same oath and have for six months stood side by side ready to die for their country and for each other if need be.

In returning to civil life, I ask each one of you to retain all the good which you may have acquired and reject the bad, for a great deal has been learned which will be of the greatest use to you in your relation with other men.

In conclusion, I hope and pray, that the choicest blessings of the most High may be yours, because it can be said of you "He was ready to lay down his life in the interest of suffering humanity."

Colonel 12th Minn. Vol. Inf.
New Ulm, Minn., Nov. 5th, 1898


Pamphlet entitled  "Roster, Veteran's Association, 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry 1898-1929." (editted by President and Secretary of the Veteran's Association of the 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, 1929).

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