Christian County
The Spanish-American War

In the early spring of 1898, the battleship Maine was torpedoes while anchored in the bay at Havana, Cuba. A revolution was in progress, the island at the 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 a and Porto Rico. This war was of a 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.

""Latham Light Guards"
Company D, Third Kentucky Regiment

In the Spanish-American War there were four classes of service men, those in the navy, those in the Cuban campaign, those in 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 included 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 hell.
On May 10th, moving orders came and the Company left for Lexington with the following roster: