War with Spain ends – August 12, 1898

On August 12, 1898, the War with Spain officially ended. It began in April 1898, was not entirely expected, and the country was not prepared. Troops were called to southern areas of the United States and held for training and later transport to Cuba, including the 3rd Infantry which left Fort Snelling in April. The Regiment traveled by train to Mobile, AL where it stayed until June 3, when it transferred to Tampa, FL becoming an element under General Shafter. From Cuba, the Regiment traveled by ship and disembarked in Cuba on June 22.

The war itself was short and sharp, with serious ground combat limited to the American envelopment and siege of the Cuban city of Santiago. In July 1898, the Regiment played a significant part in the Santiago Campaign, enduring tropical heat in woolen uniforms while storming a fortified blockhouse at El Caney that controlled a part of the city’s water supply, followed by three days of more or less continuous shelling in trenches before the city until a ceasefire was signed. After redeploying from Cuba and arriving back in the United States in August, the Regiment was held in quarantine in a camp on Long Island, New York before being allowed to entrain for Minnesota in September.

Colonel John Henry Page, regimental commander (center, staff photo), was no stranger to the Old Guard. He started his career with the Regiment as a second lieutenant during the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, Captain Page continued his Army career and fought in the Indian War campaigns. By 1895, Page commanded the 3rd Infantry Regiment, leading it through deployments to Cuba and the Philippine Islands (1899-1902). Page went on to become a brigadier general before retiring with forty years of service. He died in 1916 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 2, Grave 1228).

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