Carson does its part in 1898 for the Spanish -American War
Special to the Appeal
Ha, Ha, Ha,
Who are we?
First Nevada Cavalry,
Sagebrush boys, don’t you know,
Now to Frisco we will go,
Then to Manila we will ride,
To tan the Spaniard’s dirty hide.
– Daily Independent (By Corporal Andrew Wammack of Ely)
One hundred and ten years ago, on the eve of war, the city marshal was warning residents to put lights on their bicycles at night and get dog licenses for $1, or their dog would be killed. Period.
There was a new strike in the Pine Nuts, and speculators felt it would be a bonanza.
The big news by telegraph was the Battleship Maine had been sunk in Havana harbor. Spain was to blame.
Colonel Pike wired Governor Reinhold Sadler, Nevada’s first German-born governor from Wadsworth, reminding him that if he needed a good man, he could find 100, even from Wadsworth.
Nevada was a “Battle Born” state and was ready to go to battle again.
Two hundred students of the University of Nevada were chanting loudly in a passionate procession bent on hanging Spain’s Sagusta in effigy from an electric light mast on Virginia Street. The demonstration ended when students quietly went back to class.
And then, BANG! Uncle Sam opened fire and captured a Spanish lumber craft, Buena Ventura. Havana harbor had been blockaded and the president was calling for 100,000 volunteers. The Spanish-American War was on.
Harry Warr of Dayton was the first to call for a “Cowboy Cavalry.” He offered to raise a full company of 125 men. Col. F. C. Lord asked the governor to wire Congress saying Nevada would furnish not less than a battalion of 300-400 Nevada troops. The Governor did just that. The secretary of war asked for a special detail troop of cavalry.
The colors on the top of the band stand in the Capitol square are Spanish. The yellow and black combination is distinctly and stinkingly Spanish and ought to be removed at once. Red, white and blue is good enough to ply the patriotic airs under in the gold old Battle Born State of Nevada.
THE CALL TO ARMS
Governor Sadler sent a message to Secretary of war Alger:
Can furnish 85 men for mounted rifle service in ten days. Have no equipment for cavalry. Nevada most urgently requests a representation in the army of a distinct infantry batallion of four or six companies of 60 or 75 men each. Have infantry filed equipped and ready for muster in six days. Have equipments for 300 men now, 85 common tents, 10 officers wall tents, 3 hospital tents and 70,000 cartridges, calibre .45. Nevada National Guard second to none as riflemen.
While Teddy Roosevelt was contemplating a charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, the First Nevada Volunteer Cavalry was shivering in Cheyenne. The Cavalry had been ordered to San Francisco to go fight in the Phillipines and was suffering from exposure.
Captain Linscott telegraphed the Governor regarding the situation in Cheyenne, and asked for tents, blankets, overcoats and cooking utensils, of which there is a supply at the State Armory at Carson. They are in charge of the Adjutant General, and as he is not disposed to let them be taken out of the state.
The ladies of the Red Cross Society were advised of the situation and called on Adjutant General Galusha. The adjutant general advised the governor that he had not been asked for blankets.
Manila had surrendered. Fifty-some children from Carson put together their nickels and quarters for the battleship fund, including the children of the governor.
The cavalry of Nevada volunteers was shipped to Cheyenne amid fanfare with 84 men led by Captain William L. Cox. The First Battalion of Nevada Infantry Volunteers detailed to “Camp Sadler” with over 300 men. Some remained, some went to fight in Cuba. Others went by train to San Francisco, to wait shipment to the Phillipines.
Nevada’s crack troop of rough riders arrived late last night at the Oakland pier en route to Camp Merritt. There are eighty-four troopers, under command of Captain L. Linscott. They are the pick of the recruits who were mustered in at Virginia City and Carson. They were selected from the cowboys and natural born horsemen of the Sage Brush State.
Camp Sadler, named for Governor Reinhold Sadler, was established at the race track east of Roop Street, south of Palo Verde Drive and north of 5th Street and existed for about four months. It was moved to Treadway’s Field, now known as Treadway Park, to make the area ready for the racing season. The second camp was named Camp Clark and was mustered out in October, 1898.
Most of the infantry troops mustered for the short war spent the summer waiting for orders, becoming frustrated as the war neared an end. Some ended the war locked up in Treadway’s milk house for fighting. Others passed the time playing poker with match sticks.
Some forty men remained in Carson City to put away the camp and some finished the encampment brawling and drinking as September came to an end. By October, a cold snap forced many men that had wandered away back to Carson for furloughs, but ended up going door to door claiming hunger and distress. Congressman Newlands, Senator Stewart, and Appeal Editor Sam Davis interceded in their behalf. Overcoats came from the Armory. Accommodations were made at local hotels.
An Appeal newsman visited camp on October 20 and mused: “They will soon disappear from our midst, and the war alarm will seem like the remembrances of a dream.”
• The majority of this article was taken from The Morning Appeal from that period. Phillip Earl’s 1975 thesis: Nevadan’s in the Spanish-American War and the Phillipine Insurrection was used as a reference source.
• Trent Dolan is the son of Bill Dolan, who wrote a column for the Nevada Appeal from 1947 until his death in 2006.