February 13th, 2012
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR (1898)
The Spanish-American War was a brief, intense conflict that effectively ended Spain’s worldwide empire and gained the United States several new possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Preceded by a naval tragedy, the destruction of the USS Maine at Havana, Cuba on February 15, 1898, the tension between the United States and Spain intensified until April 25, 1898 when the United States declared that a state of war with Spain existed as of April 21, 1898. Three months later the Spanish surrendered in defeat on July 16, 1898.
As in previous wars, the need for soldiers was a priority and the Twelfth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry of the National Guard was created composed of eight companies, viz: A at Lewisburg; B, D and G at Williamsport; C at Milton; E at Sunbury; F at Danville; and H at Lock Haven. This Regiment in compliance with the orders of Governor Daniel H. Hastings, reported at Mount Gretna at 7 am April 28, 1898 with 513 officers and men out of a total strength of 517. The majority of men from the Watsontown area served in Company C though there were a few who belonged to Company A, D, and F as well. Company C was mustered into service on May 12, 1898 and mustered out on October 29, 1898. Those men serving during the Spanish American War from Watsontown and vicinity included the following:
John E. Batdorf William H. Gray Russel D. Lowe Harry Rastatter
William H. Camp George P. Kamp Harry McCollin* Edward L. Waltman
Wallace A. Gardner Sherman Kisner* John R. Messinger Edgar L. Yarnell
Edward R. Krisher William S. Montgomery
Of the fourteen who served from the Watsontown vicinity, only two died. Sherman Kisner, Priv. Co. F died at Watsontown of typhoid fever on September 7, 1898 and Harry McCollin, Priv. Co. C died at Williamsport Hospital September 24, 1898. Harry was buried at Watsontown Cemetery.
Like most newspapers across the country, The Record and Star was taken up with Spanish American War news. On April 29, 1898, The Record and Star stated “the 12th Regiment, made up of companies in this part of the state, left home on a special train shortly after one o’clock. Three members of Co. C reside in Watsontown, and to give them an encouraging farewell, the Watsontown Band, the Sons of Veterans and hundreds of patriotic citizens turned out Wednesday evening to escort the boys to Milton.
[Record of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish American War, 1898, pages 489-528; The Record and Star, May 13, 1898, pg 8.]
Last Modified: 08.29.11