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2nd and 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

Steam for Puerto Rico

Contributed by Mike Phillips

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The following article detailing the departure the 2nd and 3rd Wisconsin for Puerto Rico appeared in The Weekly Northwestern, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Saturday, July 23, 1898.

Sgt. John Henry Streich (2nd Wisconsin Vol. Inf.) and Louise Streich

Sgt. John Henry Streich of Company D, 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry,  with his wife, Louise,
presumably before his departure for service in Puerto Rico.


Charleston, S.C., July 21—The first expedition to Porto Rico started on its way at 7:30 last night.  The steamer Grand duchess and the transport No. 30, bearing the Second and Third Wisconsin Volunteers 2,500 strong, anchored off Fort Sumter for the night, as they are too heavily loaded to get out over the bar.  In addition to these, the transport No. 21 started today with the Sixteenth Pennsylvania regiment and two companies from the Sixth Illinois.  The whole expedition under the command of General Wilson of the first division, first corps numbers about 3,500 men and one of the largest supplies of ammunition and equipment that has left any port in this war.  There were inspiring scenes attending the embarking of the Wisconsin boys.  When late Wednesday afternoon orders came to assemble and prepare to board the transports a mighty shout of joy went up.  Then company by company was marched to the boats  While the boys were waiting to be placed on board they could not suppress the familiar college yell of U-Rah Wis-con-sin.

A happier lot never left the American shores to give battle to a Spaniard.  None thought of hardships or danger into which they are going.  The moment had arrived when at last real fighting was promised.  It was what they enlisted for and they were happy.  The day was intensely hot and while loading the troops a heavy rain broke over them.  That did not deter the work in the least, or deter the jollification that reigned about the transports.

 Large crowds of men and women were on the docks to bid the boys good bye.  All wished them God speed and a safe return.  Many addresses were exchanged and promises of future correspondence were freely  made.  Others spent the last few minutes writing friends and relatives at home.  It was a busy scene such as Charleston has never before seen.  Then came the time for embarking.  A cheer was given by the soldiers on board.  It  was repeated by those on shore.  As the transports pulled out girls waved their handkerchiefs until the boats floated down the bay and disappeared.  As the British tramp steamer Rosette was passed a cheer arose from the English tars.  The Wisconsin boys returned the greeting with a will.

 It is expected that the troops will require about six days for the passage on account of the transports being heavily loaded.  The navy is acquainted with the route of the troop ships and will take precaution to protect them.  While it is known that Porto Rico is the destination, the landing place is kept secret.  It is generally understood that the transports will proceed to a point somewhere near San Juan, but just where is not known here.  General Wilson has sealed orders which will not be opened until he is well under way.  Neither is it known if the transport will first proceed to Santiago. The No. 30 and the Duchess are known to have supplies for General Shafter, but whether both will stop there is not known.  It is quite certain that the Duchess will first proceed there, however.   The distance from here to Porto Rico is 1,259 miles.


Streich, Russell L., Photo of John and Louise Streich

The Weekly Northwestern, Oshkosh, Saturday, July 23, 1898.

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