The Old Guard at Gibraltar – 15-17 February 1899


The US Army Transport Sherman is docked at the coaling station at Gibraltar, Spain from February 15-17, 1899. The USAT Sherman departed New York City two weeks earlier carrying the men of the 3d Infantry Regiment for duty in the Philippine Islands. As the coal is being replenished, news reaches them that hostilities have broken out in Manila. and they are instructed to proceed without delay. They get under way the next day, headed to their next coaling stop in Port Said, Egypt.


Aboard the USAT Sherman – February 2, 1899

On February 2, 1899, the soldiers of the 3d Infantry Regiment boarded the US Army Transport “Sherman” in New York City. They were en route to the Philippine Islands. They were to be support units deployed in putting down the Philippine Insurrection. Colonel John H. Page, who led the Regiment in Cuba the previous year, led it again to war.

The Philippine Insurrection was a direct outcome of the War with Spain. The United States controlled Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines after the quick victory against Spain in 1898. Many Filipinos believed their nation would be independent following the War with Spain. The United States had no intention of granting independence.

Once aboard the Sherman, the soldiers of the 3d Infantry steamed across the Atlantic Ocean. The Sherman stopped at coaling stations at Gibraltar, Spain (February 15-17); Port Said, Egypt (February 24); Colombo, Sri Lanka (March 9); Singapore (March 16). The Regiment arrived in Manila Harbor on March 22, 1899, around 1:30 PM. Over the course of 48 days, the Old Guard traveled over 16,000 miles. There was only one casualty on the voyage: Chief Musician Edward Matter died March 11.

The next day the Regiment disembarked from the Sherman and set up camp in the Luneta, a local park. Two days later, four companies of 2d Battalion moved to support the 22d US Infantry and the 2d Oregon Volunteers. Together they charged enemy trenches. The Old Guard stayed in the Philippines over three years, departing Manila on April 18, 1902.
See a collection of 31 photos of the voyage and the Philippines here: