Spanish American War Dog Tags
By Patrick McSherry
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At the time of the Spanish American War, official dog tags were not
issued. Of course, the concern of identification if someone fell in
battle was a concern to the soldiers and their families. Below are three
of the many privately obtained dog tags, which came in many styles and
The dog tags:
The first (immediately below) is a dog tag that was used during the
Spanish American War. This particular dog tag was used by Aubrey
Whetton, of the 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry, Company E. The
dog tag is somewhat fancy, with a carved and decorative edge.
The second dog tag (below) belonged to Private John Kiely of the First
Volunteer Infantry. The front gives his unit and an identification
number The back indicates that it was provided by the Red Cross. The San
Francisco Red Cross Society attempted to provide all volunteers and U.S.
regulars with such medals for identification. Needless to say, the Society
could only provide these to units which came close to its area of work
(i.e., this was not done for military units on the East Coast.
The next examples
are other privatelt purchased dogtags. The example at left belonged to
Norman P. Tripp of the 6th Ohio Volunteer
Infantry, Co. F. The
medal reads "Co. F, 6th Ohio Vol. Inf., Spanish-American War."
Around the left perimeter is "N. P. Tripp" and on the right perimeter is
"June 1898." In June of 1898, the regiment was in Camp Thomas, Georgia
(medal image contributed by Brad Lacey). The example at right belonged
to James L. Powers from Concord, Massachusetts, who served with the 6th Massachusetts in Puerto
Rico. The dogtag reads "Ja s. L. Powers Co. I
6th Mass. Inf. U.S.V. Concord.
Mass."(image courtest of Ricardo R. Medina).
Durand, John - Information concerning the San
Red Cross Society's dog tag system. (Data from Coats, Stephen D.,
Gathering at the Golden Gate: Mobilizing for War in the Philippines, 1898
(Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2006) page 160 http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/download/csipubs/coats/Coats_part_2.pdf
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