Troop C New York Volunteer Cavalry Spanish-American War


The following is taken fromNew York in the Spanish-American War 1898: Part of the Report of the Adjutant General of the State for 1900. Vols. 1-3. Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1900.

Troop " C," second brigade, national guard, was organized, December 16, 1895.

This organization, having volunteered its services, was one of the troops selected in general orders, No. 8. general headquarters, state of New York, dated adjutant-general's office, Albany, April 27, 1898, to enter the service of the United States as a volunteer troop.

Such recruiting as became necessary to replace men who were not able to go with the troop was at once commenced, and in accordance with special orders, No. 72, A. G. O., May 1, 1898, the troop reported to Major Avery Delano Andrews, of squadron "A," to march with troop "A," to the camp at Hempstead Plains, Long Island.

Here the few men rejected by the medical officer were replaced by others, and the troop was mustered info the service of the United States, May 20, 1898, as " troop ' C,' cavalry, New York volunteers."

Troop "C," left Camp Black at 9. a. m., May 22d, en-route for Camp R. A. Alger. Marched to Jersey City, twenty miles, arriving there at 9 p. m., and camped at the Arlington ball grounds.

May 23d, the troop left Jersey City by rail at 9 a. m., and arrived at Camp Alger. Fall's Church, Va, at 9 p. m., and was attached to headquarters of second army corps, Major-General Graham, commanding.

June 7th, Lieutenant Henry Glaus was sent to Brooklyn to obtain recruits to fill the troop to the maximum and returned, June 13th, with twenty men.

June 17th, the troop left Camp Alger on a practice march; camped that day at Holden's Ford, Bull Run, Va., at 2.30 p. m.; distance marched, eighteen miles.

June 18th, marched to Henry House. Bull Run battlefield; distance, seven miles.

June 19th, broke camp at 9 a. m.; returned to Camp Alger via Centreville and Fairfax, and reached camp at 3 p. m.; distance inarched, twenty-two miles.

June 20th, one officer and twenty-two enlisted men of the troop accompanied troop "A" on a practice march; marched ten miles and encamped at Chain Bridge at 1 p. m. June 21st, left camp at 8 a. m., and made camp at Great Falls at 11.30 a. m.; distance of eight miles. June 22d, left camp at 8 a. m., and arrived at Camp Alger at 3 p. m.; distance of eighteen miles. The principal features of this march were an attack on wagon trains of first brigade, first division, near Fall's Church, and swimming of horses in Chesapeake and Ohio canal, at Great Falls.

July 11th, troops " C " and "A," Captain Clayton commanding, left Camp Alger on practice march at 9 a. m. Marched to Goose Creek, Va., via Leesburgh Turnpike, twenty-four miles, arriving there about 5 p. m., and camped for the night.

July 12th, broke camp at Goose Creek and marched to Ball's Bluff, via Leesburgh; engaged in target practice there; thence to Big Spring, twelve miles, and camped for night.

July 13th, drilled at Big Spring, and broke camp at 11 a. m.; marched, via Leesburgh, to Oatville, ten miles.

July 14th, broke camp at Oatville 9 a. m., and marched to Beaver Dam, fourteen miles.

July 15th, broke camp at Beaver Dam and marched to Chan-tilly, twenty-three miles.

July 16th, left Chantilly 8 a. m., and marched to Camp Alger, in miles, arriving there 1 p. m.; having been engaged in practice march about six days and marching one hundred and twenty miles, including detours.

July 24th, left Camp Alger, 8 p. m., and marched to Dunn Loring; thence via Chesapeake & Ohio railroad to Newport News.

July 25th, reached Camp Brooke, Newport News and encamped.

July 27th, broke camp at Camp Brooke, and marched to Pier 5, Newport News, and embarked on transport " Massachusetts."

July 28th, left Hampton Roads, Va.

July 31st, on board transport, bound for Porto Rico.

August 1st, the troop, including three officers and eighty-nine men, were on the transport " Massachusetts " bound for Porto Rico.

August 2d, the transport stranded off Playa Ponce. August 3d, troop transferred to United States cruiser " Prairie " on account of poor condition of " Massachusetts."

August 4th, the troop was assigned to duty with General Wilson's first division, first army corps headquarters. August 5th, encamped at Playa Ponce.

August 6th, broke camp at 12 a. m., and marched three miles to Ponce, and encamped on road to Juana Diaz.

August 7th, broke camp at 7 p. m., and marched on military highway northeast six miles; encamped at 10 p. m., on held on north side of road.

August 8th, broke camp at 7 a. m., and marched six and one-half miles on highway, through Juana Diaz, towards Coamo. Halted at noon and camped for night beside small stream on north side of road, near General Wilson's headquarters.

August 9th, "boots and saddles" was sounded at 5.30 a. m., and Captain Clayton, Lieutenant Clans and seventy men left camp with all arms prepared for action and marched rapidly towards the American front, near Coamo. Here the troop waited about thirty minutes during the firing of the artillery at the Spanish blockhouse, protecting the highway leading into Coamo. The captain then executed a flank movement to the right, and was directed to proceed through the woods and thickets; to take the baths of Coamo, and cut off retreat of Spaniards by that route. On reaching the baths the Spanish had fled. After a hurried but thorough search, the troop trotted rapidly into Coamo, then in possession of American troops. The troop pushed rapidly through the town and started in pursuit of the Spaniards, occasionally dismounting to fight on foot and ascertain if the road was flanked by the Spanish rear guard. A number of bridges were crossed, all of which the enemy had attempted to destroy, but apparently had been forced, to abandon them on account of the close pursuit. Eight men had to be left on the road above Coamo on account of exhaustion of horses. The troop advanced up the pass live miles above Coamo, towards Aibonito. The troop was advancing in column of fours with an advance guard well to the front, still in pursuit of the Spanish rear guard, when suddenly a Spanish battery from a hill on the left opened fire and fired eight shells at the troop. The troop was dismounted and line formed. The horses were sent to a sheltered spot two hundred yards in rear. Sharpshooters were designated to fire on any of the enemy showing themselves. Flankers were sent out and preparatiions made to hold the position against any party the Spaniards might send out. It was evident from the length of their trenches, and the number of them and their two field pieces, which could be seen, that they were in force in a strong position, about 1,300 yards ahead. The troop remained here watching the enemy, reconnoitering on both Hanks, and about 8 p. m., were re-enforced by company F. of the third Wisconsin infantry.

August 10th, details were sent out on scout duty. About 2.30 p. m., firing was heard farther up the road, an attempt being made by the enemy to cut off a detail of five men who were sent to reconnoiter the path leading to the east. The troop fighting on foot and supported by company F, third Wisconsin, advanced up the pass and a skirmish fire was kept up for about two hours, the result being that the firing parties from the Spanish entrenchments were driven back to their breastworks, leaving the troop and company F occupying the next hill in advance of the outpost. The troop's advances were made in good order and advantage taken of all cover. No further attempt was made by the Spaniards to come out of their trenches. This information was sent back to General Wilson by a trooper.

August 11th, the troop remained encamped at the outpost in Aibonito pass mentioned in report of August 10th, the troop's ox carts having reached the pass and being quartered about half a mile further down the road. Considerable reconnoitering was done on both flanks of the enemy's position. At 5 p. m., orders were received to return to Coamo and get in shape for the next advance. Lieutenant Clans and thirteen men were left on outpost to accompany Major Flagler on a scouting party. Captain Clayton and the troop returned to Coamo and were quartered for the night in the grounds of the Hospital of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

On the morning of August 12th. a camp was established on the bank of Cayon river, opposite division headquarters. The same day a detail of thirteen men under Lieutenant Claus left outposts at 3 a. m., and accompanied Major Flagler and Lieutenant Rigers on a scouting expedition. The detail marched about five miles to the east and northeast, and was upon the extreme left of the flank of the American forces during the firing of the American batteries in the Aibonito pass, but was out of range of the Spanish fire. At 3 p. m., the detail went further up to the left of the military road, passing two abandoned Spanish block houses and camping on river bank in pass. The troop returned to Coamo camp, August 13th, at 12 m.

August 12th, at 5 a. m., a detail consisting of Sergeant Debevoise and twenty-four men, under command of Colonel Biddle, and accompanied by Captain Breckenridge of General Wilson's staff, and Captain Gardner, of the sixteenth Pennsylvania, left Coamo camp. The detail proceeded up a trail about three-quarters of a mile, to the west of the military road, for about three miles. A masked battery, manned by about fifty or seventy-five Spanish soldiers, tired six volleys of musketry at the detail. In the meantime the latter dismounted; horses were led to shelter behind a knoll, and the detail under command of Colonel Biddle returned the fire. Firing was continued for about half an hour, the Spaniards not leaving their trenches. Firing then ceased; the detail returned to their horses and took another trail leading to Barranquitas and camped for the night about one and one-half miles from Aibonito. Returned to camp, August 13th, at 1 a. m.

August 13th, at 5 p. m., troop marched to Coamo baths and encamped for the night. August 14th, at 7 a. m., broke camp and returned to former camp on river bank at Coamo, at which point the troop established a permanent camp.

August 14th, Lieutenant Turtle and ten men under command of Major Flagler, accompanied by Captain La Trobe, Signor Pons and a guide, left camp to arrest marauders; explore road and passes, and protect the plantation of Signor Pons. August 15th, four prisoners were taken near plantation of Signor Pons, but were released by Major Flagler, after warning. August 17th, reached Barros, and visited the alcalde. Encamped that night one mile outside of Barranquitas. On the morning of August 18th, three Spanish officers of civil guard, visited the camp and requested that the detail not enter the town. Returned to camp near Coamo, August 18th, about 1 p. m.

August 18th, Corporal Armstrong and eight men were detailed to go to Juana Diaz. This detail was re-enforced, August 10th, by Corporals Norton and Theall and six men. On the 19th, a corporal and three men from this detail were sent to Coto, and arrested one Figuera, by order of Captain Allison, provost marshal. Three men were also sent to a nearby plantation to protect it from fire. On Saturday, the 20th, this detail was occupied in guarding and patrolling Juana Diaz, Goto and surrounding country.

August 20th, found the command encamped at Coamo, attached to first division, first army corps. August 21st, the command was transferred to General Ernst's first brigade, first division, first corps.

August 23d, were ordered to Port Ponce to be transported to United States for muster-out of service.

August 24th, broke camp at 10 a. m., and marched to Ponce. Encamped at 6 p. m., at General Wilson's headquarters. August 31st, detail of Acting Sergeant Armstrong and seventeen men rejoined command, having returned from Juana Diaz.

September 3d, embarked on United States transport at Ponce, Porto Rico, arriving at New York on September 10th. On duty at armory, September 10th to 15th. On sixty days' furlough, September 15th to November 16th. Mustered out of United States service, November 25th, 1898.

Extracts from General Wilson's Report.

"While the third Wisconsin was getting into position, I directed Major Flagler to conduct Captain Clayton's troop, which was then awaiting orders in the main road to the left of the battery, to the extreme right, crossing the Coamo river in rear of Colonel Moore's position, and to get possession of the Santa Isabel road. This being done, I ordered him to proceed down the road to Los Banos, and drive from that place any of the enemy that he might encounter; then to return to protect the right flank of the line, and, at the proper moment, to reach the town by the main road, or, if found practicable and desirable, to turn the town on the east. About the time the cavalry reached the Banos road I ordered Captain Anderson's artillery to move to a bald ridge about 1,000 yards to his front and slightly to his right, from which place the town of Coamo was visible at a distance of about two miles. At 8 o'clock sharp volleys in the rear of the town indicated that Colonel Hillings, with his regiment, the sixteenth Pennsylvania, had completed the turning movement: and engaged the enemy. The movement of the main body making the front attack was then hastened as rapidly as possible. One battalion of the second Wisconsin, which had been formed upon the main road, for the purpose of more rapid movement, found its advance stopped by a destroyed bridge and impassable gorge, and therefore lost some time in seeking a practicable crossing. The blockhouse upon the Banos road had been set on tire by the artillery, about fifteen minutes alter the action began, and the Spaniards occupying it had, a few minutes thereafter, retired toward the town, thus removing all opposition to the advance of the third Wisconsin northward along the Banos road. The line of advance of the two regiments brought them together in the vicinity of the ford by which the Banos road crosses the Coamo river, about one and one-half miles south of the junction of these two roads. From this point the command making the direct attack moved rapidly upon the town, finding the entrenchments deserted by the enemy and encountering no opposition. These two regiments entered the town about 9.40 a. m. It was preceded in this movement by Captain Clayton's troop, which, having found Los Banos abandoned by a small body of Spaniards previously garrisoning it, had returned and passed in advance of the infantry right.

" Captain Clayton's troop (C), accompanied by Major Flagler of my staff, moved through the town and closely pursued the enemy to prevent them from destroying the bridges. There are numerous bridges and culverts on this road spanning deep gorges in the mountain sides, and their destruction would have very seriously impeded our further advance. In preventing this and in pushing our advance to the immediate vicinity of the enemy's position at El Penon and Asomante, in front of Aibonito, the troop rendered most: valuable service. The enemy had made incomplete preparations to blow up a number of the bridges, but the rapid advance of Captain Clayton's troop prevented their success except in one instance. The arch of a single-span bridge over a. deep ravine was destroyed just before the arrival of the troop. This was at a point about four miles from Coamo, and the short delay thereby occasioned enabled me to overtake the troop, which I desired to use in making a personal reeonnoissance of the enemy's position. At a point about five and one-half miles from Coamo the advance of the troop was slopped by the fire of the batteries on El Penon and Asomante hill. I directed it to take position here as an outpost until it could be relieved by the infantry. The enemy's position for the defense of Aibonito. as was evident from the inspection of it that I could then make, and confirmed by reconnoisances during the 10th and 11th, was one of unusual natural strength. The military road leading up from Coamo runs for about four miles in a direction a little east of north on the left bank of the canon of the Coamo river; thence it runs northeast to Abionito. Upon its left is the main divide of the mountain chain crossing the island from east to west. Aibonito is situated in a pocket in the hills of the northern slope. About two and one-half miles northwest of the town, and on the main divide, is Asomante hill and El Penon, constituting a position of great natural strength. Upon the summit of El Penon and Asomante batteries had been erected, and on the slope below them infantry intrenchments, completely sweeping the highway with a plunging-fire for several miles."

Commissioned Officers.
Captain : Bertram T. Clayton, May 2 to November 25, 1898.
First Lieutenant: Winthrop M. Tuttle, May 2 to November 25, 1898.
Second Lieutenant : Henry Claus, May 2 to November 25, 1898.

Further Reading

Other Resources

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York for the Year of 1899. Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1900.

New York in the Spanish-American War 1898: Part of the Report of the Adjutant General of the State for 1900. Vols. 1-3. Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1900.

New York and the War with Spain: History of the Empire State Regiments. Albany: Argus Company Printers, 1903.