Remember the Maine! – February 15, 2018

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On February 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine was docked in Havana Bay, Cuba. It was to serve as an American presence during the Cuban War for Independence. Later that night, an explosion rocked the ship, killing 266 members of the crew. The explosion, still not solved to this day, launched the United States into the War with Spain. Many believed the Spanish were behind the explosion. It resulted in a declaration of war against Spain on April 25.

The War with Spain sent American troops to the Spanish territories of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. Soldiers of the Old Guard departed Ft. Snelling, MN by train and arrived in Mobile, AL en route to Cuba by Army transport ships. 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. The war lasted only ten weeks, with a signed peace agreement in August 1898.

Several years later, Congress made arrangements to raise the Maine and inter the remaining dead at Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial, which also serves as the final resting place for 165 members of the crew, incorporated the recovered main mast of the Maine. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson was on hand to dedicate the U.S.S. Maine Mast and Memorial. Currently, the mast and memorial is undergoing restoration to its 1915 appearance.

Arrival in Cuba – June 22, 1898


On June 22, 1898, soldiers of the 3d Infantry Regiment arrived in Santiago Harbor, Cuba.

 The Regiment started their journey when they departed Fort Snelling, MN by train on April 19. They arrived in Mobile, AL two days later having traveled over 1,400 miles. The Regiment trained in Mobile for six weeks, until it was transferred to Tampa, FL on June 13. Upon reaching Tampa, it was assigned to General Shafter’s force en route to Cuba. Once ashore in Cuba, the Regiment is placed in Brigadier General Bates’ Independent Brigade, and placed in reserve at El Pozo, the Headquarters of the US Army Fifth Corps. By July 1, the Regiment is placed into action as part of the Siege of Santiago.

Christmas Menu 1938 – Company B

Twelve Days of TOG Christmas #2

Today is the menu from 1938 and features Company B. In 1938, the Old Guard was stationed Fort Snelling, MN. One of several times part of the Regiment was stationed at Historic Fort Snelling. The inside of the menu has a listing of all the members of the company, along with the menu which included complimentary cigarettes. See the full menu here:

Oscar Burkard – Medal of Honor recipient

On October 5, 1898, just two weeks after the 3rd Infantry Regiment returned to Fort Snelling, Minnesota from a deployment fighting in Santiago, Cuba during the War with Spain, the Regiment was in the thick of fighting again.

A group of Chippewa at the reservation at Leech Lake, Minnesota, were being cheated by local residents of the revenue derived from the sale of timber on the reservation. An argument ensued, and the local U.S. Marshal was summoned, only to be forcefully ejected from the reservation by the Indians, who were now armed. A company of the 3rd Infantry Regiment was sent to settle the disturbance in October 1898, commanded by Brevet Major James Wilkinson and Lieutenant Tenney Ross, the former a seasoned veteran of the Civil War and campaigns against Indians for thirty years. The Indians kept the company pinned down by well-directed sniper fire for almost three days until it was reinforced. Wilkinson and several of the recruits who had only recently joined the Regiment to fight in Cuba were killed, and ten were wounded. In ministering to the latter, Private Oscar Burkard, a Hospital Corps soldier attached to the Regiment, earned the third Medal of Honor awarded to an Old Guardsman.

During the course of the fight, “Private Burkard rescued and tended to several wounded in the action, continuously exposing himself to sniper fire. His award was the last given for actions against hostile Indians.”

This action was the last combat between an Army unit and Native Americans.