CO. "I" AT THE FRONT
A Letter From Our Correspondent at Jacksonville.
Jacksonville, Fla. June 3, 1898.
To The Union:
From the land of corn and beans through the land of cotton and cane to the land of palm trees and sand, where alligators bask in the sun and the Jersey mosquitoes sing, "Oh, Mr. Johnson, turn me loose," was the journey of your humble servant with Co. "I" the past week.
Amid shouts of joy and strains of martial music the fourth regiment left Camp Tanner on Thursday, May 24th , four o'clock. We traveled in a a train of three sections, each section containing four companies, and consisted of twelve coaches, baggage and a box car. Everything went along nicely and there was no accidents of any accounts. We landed in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday morning, May 29th. We came via C.A.R.R, to East St. Louis; I.C.R.R. to Holy Springs, Miss.; K.C.& B. to Birmingham, Ala.; and the Southern via Wavcross, Ga., to Jacksonville, Fla.
The entire journey was one continual ovation and was greatly enjoyed by all the boys. At every city we were presented with flowers, baskets of lunch, cigars, badges, and flags and greeted with cheers, bands of music, roar of cannon, and as the train left each station many good byes and well wishes were spoken to the soldiers. The general watchword was : "No North, no South. Remember the Maine."
On arriving at Jacksonville each company formed its line along the sandy walk in the camp ground and awaited the order to move, Every man was in heavy marching order, that is, carrying every article of paraphernalia that goes to make up the field equipment of a soldier, except his tent. The following is the complete outfit of Uncle Sam's soldiers: camp chair, knapsack, canteen, blanket, knife, fork, and spoons, tin-panikin, wash basin, poncho, cartridge belt and rifle. The boys had become used to carrying this big load in the north and as they walked to the camp they looked like old soldiers.
Our camp here is quite different from our Illinois camp and instead of black soil and the noble oak we have white sand and the lofty pine which furnishes poor shade.
When we started from Camp Tanner we supposed we were booked for Tampa, Fla., but on our journey the order changed to this city. We are located one mile northeast of the city and fourteen miles fron the Atlantic coast, street cars run within one block of our camp and there are excursions to the coast each Sunday. Pablo Beach is the nearest point and is visited by not a few soldiers from the interior of the states of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. This trip afforded many their first glimpse of the Atlantic Coast. The water was as warm as one could wish and the novelty of a dip was enjoyed to the utmost.
This a beautiful city is certainly helthy. Our water is from artesian well, there being fourteen in the city. The weather is warm but a good breeze blows from the ocean and at night a blanket is found very comfortable.
The temperature of the past week averaged 97 degrees in the shade. The hottest day we have had since we have been here was Decoration Day, the thermometer standing at 100 in the shade, but was cooled off by a good shower in the evening.
The health of the boys is generally good, but we have in our Co. two cases, Charles Toothacker, malaria, and Geo. Cheney, rheumatism.
The boys have great sport catching crabs and fish and watching the alligators. We have caught three tarantulas in our camp.
Monday night a suspicious looking gentleman was seen around the watertank and was frightened away. The next night he appeared again and was shot by the guard. It is thought that he was trying to put poison in the tank to poison ths soldiers.
Gen. Lee visited Camp Springfield today. He had established his post in this city and the fourth regiment is included in the seventh corps. The soldiers are all happy that they are under command of Gen. Lee., as he is to invade Cuba and the boys are all anxious to get at least one Spanish scalp to take home as a souvenir.
The fourth regiment is being vaccinated today. We are not doing as much drilling as we did in Camp Tanner, we only have guard moun-----company
drill ond they are--------morning and late---------are only getting-------and the officers say-----Florida until about------will be invaded.
Capt. Todd came with his regiment and when we unloaded for the march to camp he took his place and marched with the boys through the sand and sun to camp. He stood the trip exceedingly well.
We brought our eagle "Sam Houston" with us and he occupies the branch of a pine tree in front of our tents. We are going to take him to Cuba to fight the Spanish vultures which picked the bones of the victims of the Maine.
Our old flag still waves for us as proudly as it did in our nothern home and the boys seem more patriotic now than ever before. Our Capt. is ever with us sharing our joys and hardships and he shows to us by his kind words that he will always favor his men whenever opportunity offers, and his boys will ever honor him and the flag which was good enough to lie by in time of peace and which is certainly good enough to die by in time of trouber.
There is now in camp here under the command of Gen. Lee, the following regiments: First N.C., 4th & 2nd Ill., 50th Wis., & First Iowa. They are all healthy looking men and certainly would have no use for the fountain of youth, which Leon said existed in Fla. and when we return we will for the rest of our lives have stories to tell of the narrow escapes, nights set on fire with bombardment, the mount up parapets, and our flag hauled up to places from which other flags were hauled down.
The War Situation
A complete resume of the war situation will
be found on the inside pages of the UNION, together with a full account
of Lieut. Hobson's daring feat in sinking the Merrimac in the harbor of
In addition 20,000 troops are now on their way to Santiago where they will arrive Sunday if they meet with no mishap. Sampson's fleet is sill battering away at the fortifications around the harbor of Santiao, whenever a desire for a little amusement seizes him. Everything is progressing satisfactorily.