charles m. meacham



The Spanish-American War; Company D Ordered Out; Those Who Served in Guba, Porto Rico and the Philippines; Colored Troops Called For; The New Company D.

In the early spring of 1898, the battleship Maine was torpedoed while anchored in the bay at Havana, Cuba. A revolution was in progress, the island at that time being a Spanish possession. The disaster resulted in a terrible loss of life and although it was never satisfactorily explained, Spain was held responsible for it and without much delay war was declared against Spain on both sides of the world. It was realized that the navy was to do the fighting and the superiority of the American navy left no doubt of the ultimate outcome of the contest. Spain’s war vessels quickly sought security in fortified ports and were “bottled up,” while the United States organized an army to take possession of Cuba and Porto Rico. This war was of short duration. In a few months the Spanish fleet in the Philippines was destroyed by Admiral Dewey and the Philippine archipelago seized by the United States and has since been an American possession. Not long afterwards, the Spanish fleet sought to escape from the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, after a land force had attacked the city and the American fleet under the temporary command of Commodore Schley during the absence of Admiral Sampson, pursued and destroyed or captured the vessels, one by one, bringing the war on sea to a conclusion. The Kentucky troops, including the Hopkinsville Company, were sent, some of them to Cuba and others to Porto Rico, which was occupied without resistance and is still an American territory.

In the Philippines, the natives indulged the hope that they would be freed of Spanish rule and left to themselves, but Spain had no way to pay the war indemnity except with provinces and ceded the Philippines and Porto Rico when peace was concluded. Resistance developed among the native of the Philippines, and it was necessary to send an army of occupation to suppress the revolt and restore order. This gave an opportunity for service in the Orient by a considerable number of Christian County soldiers.

In discussing this war, there will be four classes of service men, those in the navy, those in the Cuban campaign, those in the Porto Rican invasion and those in the Philippine conquest. The county was well represented  in all of these contingents. The Hopkinsville Company had become Company D, Third Kentucky Regiment, known as the Latham Light Guards. It was notified to be in readiness to move and the war fever was high. The company iniluded in its ranks many sons of both Federals and Confederates and one Federal soldier, Gus Breathitt, volunteered and was admitted.

On April 29th, a vast crowd assembled on the campus of the Clay Street School for the presentation of a flag by the children. Sadie Cohen, a little girl, presented the flag and read an original poem.
The soldiers responded with their company yell.

On May 10th, moving orders came and the Company left for Lexington with the following roster:

Captain—John Feland.

Lieutenants—E. B. Bassett, First Lieutenant; R. C. Payne, Second Lieutenant.

Sergeants—George W. Phelps, First Sergeant; C. 0. Prowse, Second Sergeant; Harry Anderson, Third Sergeant; Gano Bullard, Fourth Sergeant; Leslie Wailer, Fifth Sergeant; R. C. West, Commissary Sergeant.

Corporals—Jesup Tandy, First Corporal; Wm. Wiley, Second Corporal; W. H. Hester. Third Corporal; J. M. Coleman, Fourth Corporal.

Privates—Trabue Anderson, A. B. Boulware, L. D. Brown, C. 0. Brown, E. H. Brown, M. K. Buliard, J. M. Breathitt, Gus Breathitt, Webber Breathitt, R. H. Buckner, J. W. Ballard, J. E. Buchanan, C. E. Barnes, C. A.
Brumfield, R. H. Ciaggett, J. B. Clark, J. Miller Clark, W. J. Couch, Jr., W. J. Cornelius, Ed Ciaxton, Will Collins, J. G. Daniel, J. R. Dickerson, Henry Foster, Will Foster, W. N. Gaither, F. W. Gilbert, C. E. Graves,
A. M. Hedges, W. T. Hardwick, Will Hayes, E. H. Hester, Henry Holernan, C. W. Johnson, C. E. Jackson, W. H. Jenkins, Stanley Long, J. G. McRae, R. F. McDaniel, Edgar Morris, Henry Merritt, E. P. Morgan, Geo. Mills,
Wm. Mills, A. E. Mills, Robt. Morefield, R. H. Nixon, Perry Newman, T. E. Overshiner, Frank 0. Prowse, E. R. Powers, F. J. Pattin, Felix Robinson, S. 0. Rutherford, E. W. Starling, G. Dennis Shaw, Everett Tandy, Jack
Terry, Gano Terry, H. P. Thomas, Hugh Thompson, T. C. Van Cieve, Otho Vaughan, Wm. R. Wicks, Louis Wailer, C. S. Wailer, Jno. Winfree, W. P. Winfree, Jr., Henry Wood, Edgar Wilkes, Robt. Wilkes, W. B. Witty, Tom Witty, J. A. Young, Jr., Elon B. Zimmer, James Garity.

On May 10, 1898, Company D, with a roster of eighty-nine officers and men, was ordered to Lexington, Kentucky. Of these, eighty-two reported under command of Captain John Feland. Eleven of them failed to pass the required examination. Captain John Feland was not accepted as Captain and the company was merged with one commanded by Captain Noel Gaines. Second Lieutenant R. C. Payne undertook to recruit the company to eighty-two men, and in the end less than one-third were local men. The names of those finally mustered in from Christian County were: Robert C. Payne, Second Lieutenant; Hiram P. Thomas, First Sergeant; J. H. Wicks. Second Sergeant; E. P. Zimmer, Sergeant;E. W. Starling, Sergeant; M. J. Coleman, Sergeant; C. E. Jackson, F. J.
Pattin, Gus Breathitt, J. E. Buchanan and Felix Robinson, Corporals; W. P. Winfree, Jr., Musician; James Wootton, Wagoner; Privates: James M. Breathitt, E. H. Brown, R. H. Bush, C. A. Brumfield, W. M. Cornelius,
Walter Couch, Harry L. Girard, William C. Mills, E. P. Morgan, Robert F. McDaniel, F. 0. Prowse, Otho Vaughn William B. Witty; also C. S. Wailer, of Mayfield; Hugh G. Thompson, of Cadiz, and Thomas J. Williams, of Trenton, were in the company.


The following named colored men were enlisted in August, 1898, for Tenth U. S. Cavalry, stationed at Santiago, Cuba: Will Major, William Richardson, Edward Ducker, Clarence O’Neal, John T. Thompson, Rich. ard Hardin, Alex Siveils, Matt Campbell, Edward Wallace, Luther Drake, Albert Dade, Saint Leave!!, George McReynolds, James Ricketts, Aiphonso Alexander, Frank Mayes, Jr., Will Haughton, George Dabney, John Nor.. man, Forrest Hampton, Gardner Coleman. They were sent to Fort MePherson, Georgia, in charge of Clarence O’Neal.
The company of State Guards from Christian County became a part of the Kentucky forces mobilized at Lexington and was later sent to Southern camps. A part of them eventually were sent to Cuba and some were in the expedition that seized the island of Porto Rico.

Among those sent to Cuba was Lieutenant Robert C. Payne, who was at Matanzas April 4, 1899, and wrote to a Hopkinsville paper: “I have been commander of the Spanish fort, San Severino, for nine weeks, in fact, ever since my arrival in Cuba. Have charge of 86 prisoners. I am going to Manila if I can get with some other regiment when this one is mustered out.”

This happened a few months later and Lieutenant Payne returned home and was commissioned to recruit a company to go to Manila to take part in the occupation of the archipelago, the natives having put up armed opposition to the acquirement of the Philipp!nes under the terms of peace with Spain. The following Hopkinsville men, most of whom re-enlisted, were recruited in Christian County: Frank P. Cook, J. Ed. Buchanan, Jacob Myers, Volney Seay, John Keller, John McDaniel. These men were sent to McPherson, Georgia, for training August 12, 1899, where they were assigned to Company K, U. S. Volunteer Infantry. After being there several weeks they were sent to San Francisco and sailed on the City of Para four days later. They were twenty-eight days enroute, with a stop of two days at Honolulu. They landed at Manila, November 3, 1899, and were sent to Laloma Church on the island of Luzon the next day. Dr. Thornton W. Perkins, now of Hopkinsville, was with them as company doctor. Other local men who were there with different detachments were Byron Jones, of Pembroke; George H. Almy, of Hopkinsville; Lannes H. Huggins, now of Casky, Kentucky; Sergeant Jesup S. Tandy, Corporal Edgar Morris and Corporal Ed L. Weathers, now vice-president of the First National Bank. Some of these, particularly Weathers and Huggins, had enlisted at Nashville and got over in a Tennessee outfit. These arrived earlier and some of them were mustered out and came home in December, 1899, about the time the men under Lieutenant Payne arrived. The last one to return was Frank P. Cook, who furnishes the following somewhat detailed account of his experiences for five years:

Soon after my arrival, I was detailed as a clerk in the office of Gen. E. E. Otis and remained at his headquarters for fourteen months. I then received my military discharge and was given civil employment by the Government. I was sent to Gen. J. Franklin Bell, of Lebanon, Kentucky, who detailed me as a clerk under P. C. Marsh, in charge of the main prison in Manila. I was made chief clerk and among the prisoners I had to deal with was Gen. Aguinaldo, the native who led the insurrection. I remained there six or eight months until Governor-General W. H. Taft, afterwards President, came over. I was then transferred to the Chief Quartermaster’s department in Manila and was money clerk at the time Gen. J. P. Sanger took the first census of the islands. I was assistant paymaster for one year in the Chief Commissary office under Gen. L. W. V. Kennon, engineer in charge of road construction, building a road to the summer capital in the mountains. While at this, I got a vacation of three months and went to China, visited Hongkong, Canton, Amory, Hankow, Nagasaki and Viadivostock, Russia. I was on full pay and returning to Manila I was next with the department of coast guard transportation, handling twenty vessels. While I was doing office work an incident occurred that left an impression on my mind. I got leave of absence and went to visit my company and found the boys getting ready to go on a hunt for Gen, Cailles. I got a uniform and a gun and went along. We found Cailles fortified across the Mariquina River and opened fire. Gen. Lawton was leading the charge and I was within fifty yards of him when he was killed by a sharpshooter. Lieut. Col. Sargent took command and we charged, backed by artillery firing over our heads and took the fort with the loss of seventy of our men killed and wounded. We found 252 dead Filipinos in the fort. Gen. Cailles’ army surrendered to Gen. Sumner and I was present and received their guns, paying $15 apiece for them. After my services with the civil government as above stated, I returned home October 5, 1905, having been over there five years.”


Lannes H. Huggins, who went over in 1898, enlisted in May at Nashyule, Tennessee, and went to San Francisco where there was a wait of five  months. Ed L. Weathers, a sixteen-year-old boy, had succeeded in getting into this regiment, although under weight, by the help of a friend, and during the long wait Weathers was promoted to corporal. Army food became very poor and very scarce under the contract system and finally the young corporal went to an officer above him and demanded food for his men. The officer laughed and told him where the food was stored. That night the boys broke in and helped themselves to one good meal. A commotion was made and the men were finally identified when Corp. Weathers went to the Captain and assumed responsibility for the raid. He was frowned upon and given a severe curtain lecture with a wink of the eye and left in suspense as to what else would be done. In a few days sailing orders came and the matter was dropped.

These young men and their companions landed at Manila and spent three months doing guard duty, watching the prison containing 400 soldiers and 1600 natives. They were sent to Iloilo February 11, 1899, and bombarded the town, landing while it was in flames. They were on active duty later on Panay and Cebu islands, being sent wherever needed until the insurrection was over and the islands pacified. The bands who fled to the interior and. gave trouble for a year or two more were finally brought under control.

Jesup S. Tandy did not return with his companions in 1899, but like Frank P. Cook, remained in the Philippines after the fighting was over.

Only one of the young men from Christian County failed to return. John McDaniel died of disease while in the service and his body was brought home and interred in Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville.


The original Company D, organized in 1882, lost its identity in the war of 1898 and in October, 1899, a new Company D, Third Infantry, Kentucky State Guards, was organized with forty-five men and mustered into service with the following commissioned and non-commissioned officers: C. H. Tandy, Captain; Gano Bullard, First Lieutenant; Hiram P. Thomas, Second Lieutenant; Geo. W. Phelps, First Sergeant; Perry Newman, Second Sergeant; Robert D. Bellamy, Third Sergeant; S. Upshaw Wooldridge, Fourth Sergeant; Otho Vaughan, Fifth Sergeant; M. A. Littlefield, Commissary Sergeant; C. R. Brumfield, First Corporal; Trabue Anderson, Second Corporal; William Collins, Third Corporal.

This Company maintained its organization without interruption for eighteen years, with a personnel that changed from time to time. It saw active service for a year or more during the “Night Rider” troubles of 1907 and 1908 during which State Guards were used to maintain order in the western counties of the State. Its organization was continued, its equipment improved and its efficiency increased following this service and in 1916 it again was called into the national service and was sent to the Mexican border for several months. The World War was then raging fiercely in Europe and the following year the United States was drawn into it and the part Company D took in that greatest of all wars belongs to the history of that struggle in another chapter.

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