North Carolinians Readied for Spanish-American War, 1898

The Catawba County Boys, Company A, 1st North Carolina Regiment, pose beside a tent at Camp Cuba Libre in July 1898On May 22, 1898, the 1st North Carolina Regiment was dispatched to Camp Cuba Libre in Jacksonville, Florida, for service in the Spanish-American War.

The regiment was raised earlier that month, and the troops trained at Camp Bryan Grimes in Raleigh. The camp was established near the State Fairgrounds after the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce donated land for it along Hillsborough Street, then on the western outskirts of the city. The camp consisted of nearly 300 tents, laid out in rows. Eventually, as the camp took in more volunteers, Camp Dan Russell was established on the fairgrounds to accommodate the 2nd Regiment.

After arriving in Florida, the troops stayed there throughout the war, which ended in August 1898, and were subjected to poor conditions, mass desertions and a lack of supplies. The only service abroad the unit would see was four months of a guard duty in Cuba between December 1898 and March 1899.

North Carolina’s other two regiments during the war were plagued by outbreaks of disease and dismal conditions. They were stationed in the several locations around the southern U.S. but did not go to Cuba.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.