Spanish American War Website Banner

The 6th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in Camp

Contributed by Jeff Berry
Please Visit our Home Page to learn more about the Spanish American War
Click here for a roster of the regiment  ||| Click here for a history of the 6th Ohio
Click here to read another account about the 6th Ohio and 1st West Virgina preparing for Thanksgiving
Click here for info. on deaths at  Camp Poland


The following accounts of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Poland during the Spanish American War appeared in the Knoxville Journal and Tribune.

The Articles:

October 2, 1898:

Colonel McMaken, who has been doing double duty for several days, does not appear to age under the pressure. He gives his regiment the needed attention, while looking out for the brigade business of his command and that of the West Virginia regiment.

Sergeant Graw, of company B is back from a pleasant visit to relatives and friends at Sandusky.

Rev. E.A. Elmore, pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian church will preach in the Y.M.C.A. tent this morning at eight o’clock.

That “green faced” pond in the west end of camp had been given needed sanitary attention.

That new sword of Captain Weier will never rust for lack of attention, as he prizes it highly and is too patriotic to let such a gift fail to inspire him.
The band has improved so much that it is being complimented by many.

There was a mild sensation in the vicinity of the guard house yesterday when it was announced that there were no inmates in that place. For several days the only one in the place had been a deserter from the Fourth Ohio. He saw an opportunity to escape and accepted the chance.

Lunch stands continue to do a lingering business and are patiently waiting for pay day.

That base ball victory yesterday over Michigan caused applause throughout the camp. The players must have been adepts in hypnotism by the score made.

October 2, 1898:

There is a member of the Sixth Ohio regiment who has no desire to dissipate. His name is David Bennett, and when a temptation in the way of drink or smoke is presented he pleasantly refuses and insists that he is right in doing so.

October 3, 1898:

Nothing Definite Known as to the Time of Gen. Chaffee’s Arrival---Force of Six Hundred Soldiers Busy Laying Water Piper at the New Camp of the Second Ohio—Two Deaths in Division Hospital

The usual Sunday crowds were in evidence again yesterday at Camp Poland, The Middlebrook electric line carried thousands during the afternoon, running three cars together every fifteen minutes. The washout just beyond the Belt Line railroad has been repaired and the cars are running to the new camp of the Second Ohio. This camp entertained many visitors during the afternoon, which was something unusual, as the old camp was so far removed from the street car lines that but very few visitors from the city ever found their way there.

At Lincoln Park the crowds were not as large as on the Sunday previous, but there were enough visitors in the camps of the Sixth Ohio and the First West Virginia to keep the soldiers busy showing them about and otherwise entertaining them. The balloon ascension did not take place as billed, and the visitors were somewhat disappointed on that account as the thrilling feat of the soldier aeronaut was a great attraction on the Sunday before.
The crowds no doubt would have been larger at all of the camps but for the fact that something was wrong with the electric current of the street ca system, causing much delay in handling the passengers

It is surprising to note what a large number of soldiers attend the various churches in the city. Officers and men alike avail themselves of the opportunity offered to attend church of their choice, and as a result the city churches have largely increased congregations.

At the camps the regular Sunday services were held by the various chaplains, or in some instances by city pastors, with the exception of the Second Ohio, which was undergoing the hardship of getting settled properly in its new camps.

At division headquarters yesterday there was unusual quiet, the place being almost deserted. The officers who make this their headquarters were all in the city, attending church or visiting friends.

There seems to be no definite information obtainable at Camp Poland as to when Maj.-Gen A.R. Chaffee, who has been ordered to Knoxville to take command of the Second division, will put in his appearance. It is understood that he is ill, and it may be at least several weeks before he will have recovered sufficiently to assume the cares and responsibilities incident to commanding a division of infantry.

Much satisfaction is expressed among the officers of the various regiment that General Chaffee has been assigned to this command. He is known as a most “excellent officer, and these officers who know of his former record feel confident that he will see to it that the troops under his command receive the best of care and consideration.

There are persistent rumors of additional regiments being ordered to Knoxville to fill the vacancies in the different brigades. These rumors, though persistent, refuse to be traced to an authoritative source of information.

October 3, 1898:

It was quiet about the camp of the Sixth yesterday, although there were many visitors. Rev. E.A. Elmore, of the Fourth Presbyterian church, preached an instructive and forcible sermon in the morning, Chaplain Arbough filling an appointment in the country.

Hereafter there will be preaching in the tent every Sunday morning, Rev. J. A. Duncan, pastor of the Church street church, having been secured for next Sunday.
That victory of the ball team Saturday over Michigan put the men along the company streets in good humor, and this could be seen yesterday.

Adjutant Wm. H. Porter is due from Toledo soon.

Prof. Murphy, of company L, will probably make a balloon ascension at some point this week. It may be added to the racing at the fair grounds next Saturday afternoon.

Colonel McMacken has no definite official information to impart in reference to what disposition will be made of the regiment. It is however, expected that something will be known during the next two weeks.

The football team will try to arrange with the West Virginia team for a game soon in Baldwin Park.

About all the improvements in the way of new sinks, drainage, ditches, etc., have been made.

There was sorrow in company A yesterday when it was announced that Frank Droessier was dead.

Frak Newman, company K, has gone home to Fremont, on a thirty days’ sick furlough.

October 3, 1898:


FRANK J. DROESSLER, aged 26, company A, Sixth Ohio, home at Toledo. His remains were shipped home last night.

October 5, 1898:

Colonel McMaken was one of the many men in this regiment who yesterday was inquiring about how long the downpour would last. He thought that the “dripping” would continue a month or more and when informed that the climate here did not permit such a condition of affairs, he was surprised. But as the rain from the southeast blew in under the newly “erected shelter awnings” in front of many of the tents there was a new feature of “nostalgia” put afloat. When the colonel saw it clear away just a little bit he was free to express himself, that with all the rain, Knoxville would have to “soak ‘em” a long time to make the boys as much disgusted with the place aw they were with Chickamauga.

An order was issued late on Monday night that there would be a general and minute inspection of the entire regiment yesterday morning at nine o’clock. The inclement weather prevented this and it will take place as soon as the weather permits.

Prof. Murphy, of company L, the balloonist is inclined to get “jerked up” again. He is willing, if desired (for a financial remuneration), to make a creditable ascension, or make a race either up or down or both, during the carnival for a purse.

The Y.M.C.A. tent has been put in good condition.

About everything except guard mount was abandoned yesterday on account of the rain.

October 5, 1898:

Sick furloughs and transportation have been granted to the following members of the Sixth Ohio: Christian F.Eberle, to Sandusky; John Poorman, company D, to Halton,

October 6, 1898:

The inspection that was ordered for Monday and put off on account of the rain was held yesterday. The entire day was consumed with the work.
Major Ballance assisted by Major Shunk put in an appearance early. Guard mount was changed from the afternoon to 8 a.m. and gave the visiting officers some idea of what condition the regiment was in. Battalion and regimental drills with battle formation occupied the entire forenoon.

During the afternoon a minute inspection was made of the men’s equipage, arms, quarters, etc. The inspection was very rigid and no defect of any kind was overlooked.

The regiment now has 1,037 available men for duty.

Captain J.A. Musser continues to have charge of the Third battalion in the absence of Major Gillett, who is off on sick leave.

Lieutenant Frankfather, of company F, has returned from a visit to home folks at Napoleon.

It is announced that the band will soon commence giving three concerts per week in the camp. These will be at night, but will be none the less interesting. The band is in good practice and will be able to make good music.

The proposition of Prof. Murphy of company L, to have a balloon race with some other ascensionist during the carnival week is attracting attention.
The Y.M.C.A. tent that had one of its sides recently blown down had been put in good condition again. Rev. J.A. Duncan, of the city will preach on next Sunday morning at eight o’clock in the tent.

October 7, 1898:

Orders wee issued yesterday from division headquarters relative to the different regiments taking practice marches.
The order is as follows:--

The following regulations for the conduct of practice marches are published for the information and guidance of all concerned:--Once each week or on days to be indicated by brigade commanders, each regiment of the division will make a practice march from its camp of not less than ten miles, remaining out one night and returning the following day.

The men will be equipped with shelter tents, ponchos, blankets and haversacks. There will be carried in wagons one days; rations, full, and necessary tentage for officers, Until further orders, the First brigade will operate south of the river, the second to the north, between the river and Second creek, and the Third to the southwest, between Second creek and the lower river. Marches will be made with proper tactical disposition of advance and rear guards, and in execution of an assumed and definite problem, involving the country traversed; the problem to be prescribed by the brigade commander, who may use all the regiments of his brigade in combination, if he so desires.

Itineraries will be kept and maps made in accordance with article X: “troops in campaign,” and reports made to this office.

One company in each regiment will be left in charge of the regimental camp and property and the camp will not be broken.


...It has been rumored around Camp Poland that the Sixth Ohio would be sent home soon, to be mustered out. Inquiry was made at division headquarters concerning this rumor, but nothing has been heard there and no orders to that effect have been received.

October 7, 1898:

If there is anything wrong in the condition of the men, arms, or equipment of the Sixth Ohio regiment, Major Ballance and Shunk must surely have located it. They started in to inspect his camp on Wednesday morning and continued the work all day yesterday. Wednesday was devoted to battalion and regimental drills and inspection of arms. Yesterday the time was occupied in company drills and inspection of the books. There is no detail necessary for the welfare or successful conduct of a camp overlooked by the majors in making their inspections and when they get through if there are changes needed they will follow. While Colonel McMaken has been performing the duties of his office in connection with acting as brigadier-general, he had kept things moving in fine military manner. Since the inspection commenced it has been difficult for any of the men to get passes, as all are expected to remain in camp to participate in drills or perform other duties that may be asked of them.

The base ball and foot ball teams are each resting this week, but will probably get into some games next week.

The band is ready to give regular concerts, but will not begin doing so until torches can be secured as much of the playing is done at night.

An imitation Indian war dance was given at the guard house yesterday afternoon, causing considerable merriment.

Lieutenant H.D. Draper, of company L, who resigned a few days ago, has received word that his resignation was accepted, He will leave in a few days for home.

“There must be a lot of gambling in this camp; just look at the men there will you!” was the way a visitor addressed an officer yesterday. “those men are not gambling, they get in squads that way and dig spiders from the ground, then kill them!” was the unexpected reply.

October 8, 1898:


A general order was issued today organizing new army corps and designating various points where the troops shall be stationed. The Third, Fifth, and Sixth corps are discontinued; the First, Second, and Fourth corps reorganized. They are to be commanded respectively by Major-Generals Breckinridge, Graham, and Wheeler. The headquarters of each corps will be: First corps, Macon, Ga.; Second corps, Augusta, Ga., Fourth corps, Huntsville, Ala. The full text of the order is as follows:

Major-general J.C. Breckinridge, U.S.V., commanding headquarters at Macon, Ga.

First division, headquarters at Macon, Ga.:--
First brigade-Atlanta, Ga. Thirty-first Michigan, Fourth Tennessee and Sixth Ohio
Second brigade- Macon, Ga. Third U.S.V. engineers, Second Ohio and Sixth Virginia
Third brigade- Macon, Ga. Tenth U.S.V., infantry and Seventh U.S.V. infantry

October 8, 1898:

There need be no apprehension about the condition of the Sixth Ohio regiment when it starts for Atlanta to be brigaded with the Thirty-first Michigan and the Fourth Tennessee regiments, if it ever does. Majors Ballance and Shunk did not complete the inspection commenced on Wednesday until yesterday afternoon. The work was thorough in every respect and as a result the officers and men are breathing easier.

A few weeks ago a story originating in Toledo reached the camp that this regiment would be sent home about the fifteenth of this month and after being given a thirty days’ furlough would be mustered out. This was pronounced by many in the regiment as being too good to be true, and they were correct. Yesterday a telegram arrived from Assistant Adjutant-General H.O.S. Heistand that the report was incorrect and the Sixth will not be furloughed.

Mrs. MacMaken, wife of Colonel MacMaken, has reached the city and will spend several days with her husband. Mrs. MacMaken comes from Toledo, where she is as widely known and as popular as her husband.

Irvin Gray, of company B, has received a furlough and will go to Sastalia.

General Joseph Wheeler has an imitator in the person of Private Peter Stickle, of company B. Recently he climbed the highest tree on the ridge west of the camp and placed a flag on the topmost branch. Today he will repeat the feat and put a new flag in the place of the old one.

The band furnished music yesterday afternoon at the Women’s building on Main street.

Thirty day extensions have been granted on the following furloughs: Corporal Frank Zeigler, company L; Mack Lemmon, company I; Walter Yockum, company D; Chas Smetzer, company I; Josh L. Wolcott, company H; Willis D. Reams, company I; Henry Wickle, company C; Henry Vincent Kunkle, company L; Fred Strong, company I.

October 8, 1898:

An unusual amount of activity about the grounds yesterday was caused by a number of patients getting ready to leave on furloughs for their homes throughout the country. The following went out last night be special sleepers to Cincinnati, at which place they will take different roads for their homes:

Murrell Redman, company F, Sixth Ohio, to Napoleon
J.S. Krebser, company C, Sixth Ohio, to Toledo

October 9, 1898:

Most of the men in the Sixth Ohio regiment will feel like attending divine worship today.

Major Ballance and Shunk have completed their inspection of the camp and it was rigid and complete. What the officers report will be is not known, but it is not believed there will be much to do to make the regiment a model one.

Lieutenant-colonel Bulger has the details of camp life well in hand and things are moving on nicely under his command.

Colonel McMaken, acting brigadier-general, calls however, daily and gives the camp a general inspection.

But little talk is heard among the men about their being ordered to Atlanta. Most of them, when they found that the regiment would not be mustered out were reconciled and while they have no objections to Camp Poland will quietly submit to the transfer.

Rev. J.A. Duncan, pastor of the Church Street M.E. church in the city will preach for Chaplain Arbaugh in the Y.M.C.A. tent this morning at 8:30 o’clock. Rev. Duncan is a forcible preacher and will no doubt have a large audience to hear him.

The Y.M.C.A. tent has been moved from the knoll just outside the camp on the west side to a more central point near band row. It is easier of access and has been put in good condition by Secretary Stewart.

Professor Murphy has not arranged for any balloon ascension today.

Thirty day extensions of furloughs are an announced for the following: Albert E. Waller, company G; F.G. Root, company M; Louis J. Class, company D; Geo. A Thompson, company A. ; F.F. Burtless, company A.

A special friendship has been formed between some of the lunch stand men and the soldiers who will follow the regiment to Atlanta.

October 9, 1898:

Chaplain Arbaugh, of the Sixth Ohio regiment, made a visit yesterday to the hospital. He has been making daily calls for the past few weeks and takes a deep personal interest in all the sick from his regiment. Many a weak body and a “nostalgia” affected heart has he been instrumental in relieving.

October 10, 1898:

The sanitary force at work Saturday cleared away enough of refuse matter and mud to put the camp of the Sixth Ohio in good condition. Yesterday after the sunshine appeared the grounds wee soon put in a most acceptable condition.

Colonel McMaken and some of the officers had an idea that when a rain came it would last a week or two but have been agreeably surprised with the way the weather has been so far.

Despite the threatening appearance of the clouds. There were several member of the regiment at the Y.M.C.A. tent to hear Rev. J. A. Duncan, of the city, preach. He delivered a sermon of force and instruction and made a favorable impression on the members of his congregation. Chaplain Arbaugh has, during the past few weeks, been spending his time on Sunday with the Ohio sick at division hospital or preaching in the city or country. He provides services in the regiment, however.

This regiment is anxiously awaiting the coming of the men who pay off. There are a thousand different hopes and desires so dependent upon the distribution of the money that everything else except real camp duties is almost forgotten.

Guard mount and dress parade yesterday proved magnets for drawing a large crowd of people, and the hand aided in making the movements of the men in blue a success.

October 11, 1898:

The regiment started the week with an observance of all the regiments provided by the recent order in reference to drilling and daily routine. It adds much work to what has been done the past month.

Major Gillett, of the Third battalion, has returned from his home at Clyde, where he was on sick leave for several days, he has again assumed control of his command. Captain Musser, who was in charge, returning to his company.

There is renewed activity among the athletic members of the company and those who belong to the baseball and football teams are getting in good practice. A game of ball is expected with the First West Virginia club soon and a lively diamond battle may be expected when the teams get together.
W.H. Kephart, representing the carnival committee, was in camp yesterday on business. A Few of the stands on lunch row have closed until payday.
Information reached Camp Poland yesterday that Private Dale, of company D, who went home a few days ago, on sick furlough, was dead. He left the city in a fairly strong physical condition, but grew worse upon his arrival at home. “R.J. Kistner is dead,” was a sad announcement made yesterday afternoon at the mess of company D. He was from Fostoria and liked by all his fellow soldiers.

October 11, 1898:

Died-R.J.Kistner, company D, Sixth Ohio, aged twenty-one, home Fostoria, Relatives were notified yesterday afternoon and the remains will probably be shipped home today for burial. Deceased was a victim of fever.

October 12, 1898:

Inspectors Ballance and Shunk by their visit last week did not pronounce this camp in a bad sanitary condition. In fact they found it neat in appearance and while they did not openly express themselves as pleased, they evidently were.

The return of Major Gillett of the Third battalion has put all his men in good spirits and matters are moving in a satisfactory manner.

Prof. Murphy, the balloonist, will probably give an ascension next Sunday afternoon, but he has not definitely decided about the matter.

The American Tobacco company distributed a large amount of samples among the men yesterday.

John Hawkins of company M, now at Defiance, has secured a thirty days extension.

Frank R. Grubb, who is at Fostoria, has a thirty days extension of furlough.

Robert McAdams, of company L, has secured a furlough and will spend it in New York.

Milo Coup, of company M, is back from Defiance.

The following have been detailed as members of the ambulance corps at the division hospital: George Mouk, Co. C: Private Spaulding, Co H; Private Redbower, Co H; H. Waggonner, Co. D; Henry Duncan, Co. G; John A Bleker, Co. A.

The tents yesterday were given a first class sun bath and everybody felt the good effects of it last night.

October 13, 1898:

The “promenade dance” to be given in honor of the officers of Camp Poland by the members of the “Women’s Building Board,” will be postponed till Monday night. The ladies of the board will receive and be assisted in entertaining by some of Knoxville’s fairest daughters. The introduction committee will consist of some of the younger married couples. It is the special request of the officers that this will not be a strictly military affair-so it is hoped the young gentlemen of the city will participate. Cards of admission can be obtained from Col. Gardner, Thirty-First Michigan; Capt. White, First West Virginia; Capt. Collier, Second Ohio; Lieut. Fisk, Sixth Ohio; Lieut McAllister, Fourth Tennessee; Lieut Walker, First West Virginia; Mr. Tom Calloway, McCormick Clothing Co., or at Woman’s Building at 8:30 Monday night.

October 13, 1898:

Several tents along officers’ row and in company streets were taken down yesterday and their floors turned up so that the sun could reach the ground. This is a good sanitary precaution, but the torn up condition of things led a few visitors to think that the regiment was going to move.

The Y.M.C.A. tent was recently moved to the eastern side of the camp to a better location that it formerly had. It is supported by donations from the members of the regiment and is very convenient for the men who use it much for writing. George B. Stewart, who was in charge of the tent at Chickamauga and here, has gone to his home at Pickaway, and will probably not return. He was sick and not being an enlisted man, preferred going home to remaining here. C.A. Cooke, who has been assisting Stewart, has assumed charge of the tent.

The following have received thirty day extensions: Jesse Wade, of company G; Harry McWhitney, of company M, and Harry G. Blosser, of company I.

Professor Murphy has decided to give a second balloon ascension on next Sunday afternoon, provided the regiment is paid off before that time.
Lights for the band have been ordered and are expected to arrive daily. When they do, some night concerts will be given.

New lunch stands are opening all about the camp, the people owing them getting ready for pay time.

This regiment does not have enough of ground for suitable parade purposes, but the wooded hill formerly occupied by the One-Hundred and Fifty-eighth Indiana regiment has been used to advantage in recent drilling.

October 13, 1898:

The following men left last night on furloughs going to their home towns;

J.K. Williamson, company M; John Patton, company M; Casla Maynard, Lyman Habbell, company H; Wm. Bauer, company B; Wm. Barbee, company E; Louis Jones, company D, of Sixth Ohio regiment

November 24, 1898:

The following is from Camp Poland, Knoxville, Tennessee, on November 24, 1898:

"The members of this regiment will today be the guests of their friends, the First West Virginia soldiers. A big spread has been arranged and it is doubtful if enough men can be persuaded to do guard duty while the banquet is going on.

Furloughs have been issued to Corporal Wm. J. Conrey, company L, to Toledo, and Peter I. Stickles, company A.

Extensions of thirty days have been granted to H.M. Whitnet, company M, and A.F. Gartner, company G.

The band will give a concert in the Y.M.C.A. tent tonight.

Many members of the regiment will attend the foot-ball game at Baldwin park this afternoon.

Members of company K, were recipients yesterday of a check from citizens in Fremont for $38 to be used for a Thanksgiving spread.

There was much activity along some of the company streets yesterday. Several men had secured lumber and were busy erecting frame bases for their tents.

Pie peddlers did a big business along kitchen row yesterday afternoon."

December 4, 1898:

MONDAY IS PAY DAY ---With the Two Regiments in Camp Poland—Gen Wilson is Expected to Arrive Tomorrow—Rigid Inspection the Object of His Visit-All Officers to be Examined Physically

The routine of camp life in the Sixth Ohio and Thirty-first Michigan regiments is being kept up with military precision. But little drilling is done in a regimental way, but all minor exercises are daily indulged in. There is no definite information as to when these regiments will get away for Cuba. It will not be, however, until transports are ready to move the men safely and quickly.

Majors H.H. Twombley and James B. Kenner, who will pay the regiments here, remain in the city. They will commence paying the men Monday morning at eight o’clock and it is expected that by noon or soon after each soldier will have his money. The sum to be distributed will be about $40,000.

Information reached the city last night that General Wilson, in command of the corps embracing the troops of Camp Poland, will reach here in a private car tomorrow at noon. He comes here with a view of inspecting the camps, quarters, arm etc., of the regiments, and when his work is finished he will go to Anniston.

December 4, 1898:

Captain Neal, of this regiment, has been appointed commissary of subsistence for this brigade. Relieving Captain Tobin, who had charge.

Frost Fish, of company F, has been discharged. Chaplain T.J. Harbaugh returned yesterday from a seventeen days’ sick leave. He is much improved in health.

The following thirty day extensions are announced: T. Hagaman, company B; O. Cosby, company D; C. Newmcobz, company C; J. Sheppard, company B; C. Raussaueer, company K; and C.A. Harrington, company K.

Surgeon J.D. Howell has returned from Toledo.

Colonel J.B Thoms will lecture on Cuba in the Y.M.C.A. tent on Monday night.

Lieutenant W.E. Lyons, of company I, has as his guest his father and mother from Toledo.

The time for the next regular band concert is Monday night.

These have returned from sick furloughs; Frank Zuern, company K; Sergeant Wallace Stein, company K; Frank Dutchen, company D; and J. Waterman, company B.


TheThe Journal and Tribune (Knoxville, TN), October 3, 1898; October 5, 1898; October 6, 1898; October 7, 1898; October 8,1898; October 9, 1898; October 11, 1898; October 12, 1898; October 13, 1898; November 24, 1898; December 4, 1898 - Contributed by Jeff Berry

Support this Site by Visiting the Website Store! (help us defray costs!)
We are providing the following service for our readers. If you are interested in books, videos, CD's etc. related to the Spanish American War, simply type in "Spanish American War" as the keyword and click on "go" to get a list of titles available through

Visit Main Page for copyright data

Return to Unit Profiles

Return to Main Page