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A Brief History of the 201st New York Volunteer Infantry

By Patrick McSherry

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The following is a brief history of the 201st New York Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish American War. The unit served its term of enlistment in the continental U.S.

Unit History:

The 201st New York Volunteer Infantry, formed under the President McKinley's second call for volunteer on May 25, 1898, was mustered into the federal service between July 16 and 26, 1898 at New York City. At the time of muster in, the unit consisted of forty-two officers and 1,235 enlisted men. The unit actually formed quite late in the conflict, and by the time it was formed, most of the war's major battles were already concluded. On August 12, Spain and the United States agreed to an armistice ending the fighting phase of the war.

The regiment was assigned to the Department of the East, and was stationed at Camp Black at Hempstead, Long Island. the regiment left New York on September 9 arriving the next day at Camp Meade, located at Middletown, Pennsylvania. At Camp Meade the regiment was assigned to the Second Brigade, Second Division of the Second Army Corps. The regiment was ordered south to Camp Wetherill at Greenville, South Carolina, leaving Pennsylvania on November 15. 

The war ended on December 10, 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris between Spain and the U.S. while the regiment was at Camp Wetherill.

The 201st New York was discharged on April 3, 1899 at Camp Wetherill in Greenville, South Carolina. At the time of muster out, the regiment had eighty-two officers, an unusually high number, and 1,287 enlisted men. During its term of service, the regiment had twenty-three enlisted men die from disease, and one additional enlisted man die as the result of an acident. Thirty-two enlisted men were discharged on disability, nine were court-martialed and one hundred nineteen men deserted. Again, this was an unusually high number of desertions amounting to over nine percent of the enlisted force.

When the regiment was mustered out, authorities shut down the saloons to avoid drunkeness! The regiment was loaded on three separate special trains leaving at Noon, 12;30 PM and 1:00 PM bound for New York on the same day they were mustered out.

Edward Robinson's USWV  Membership Card

The membership card for Edward J. Robinson (201st Volunteer Infantry, Co. I) in the Sergt. Hamilton Fish Camp #46, United Spanish War Veterans. 
Robinson's regimental records indicate that he was twenty-one years old, five feet, four inches tall, with grey eyes and dark brown hair st the time of his enlistement
His occupation was that of a "typewriter." Robinson's military career was a it checkered, as he was absent without leave (AWOL)
in July and September. Robinson eventually married to a woman named Annie. Robinson died on September 30, 1933 and is buried in
Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. The membership card is dated June 30, 1933, just mnths prior to his death.
The photo was included with the membership card and is thought to be Pvt. Robinson later in life.


"201st Mustered Out," Buffalo Evening News, April 3, 1899, p 9.

Becker, Amy L, Contribution of Edward J. Robinson's USWV membership card and photo.

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, 196, 197, 494.

Correspondence Relating to the War with Spain Including the Insurrection in the Philippine Islands and the China Relief Expedition April 15, 1898 to July 30, 1902. Vol. 1 (Washington DC: Center for Military History, 1993) 5607 -608.

New York Spanish American War Military and Naval Services Records, 1898 - 1902 (Data on Pvt. Edward J. Robinson)

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).

United States Civil War Pension Index, General Index to Pension Files 1861 - 1934 (Data on Pvt. Edward J. Robinson)

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