1898 – Medal of Honor -Oscar Burkard

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— 120 Years Ago Today —
On October 5, 1898, just two weeks after the 3d 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 white 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 Chippewas, who were now armed. A company of the 3d 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 Chippewas 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

Arrival in Cuba – June 22, 1898

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120 Years Ago Today

On June 22, 1898, soldiers of the 3d Infantry Regiment arrived in Santiago Harbor, Cuba. The Regiment departed Fort Snelling, MN by train on April 19 and traveled over 1,400 miles. They arrived in Mobile, AL two days later. 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 and set sail ten days later, bound for Cuba.

Once ashore, 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.

Off to War! – April 19, 1898

04-19-Old Guard departs Ft. Snelling

120 Years Ago Today–

On April 19, 1898, soldiers of the Old Guard, numbering around 650 men, left Fort Snelling, MN aboard trains headed to Chicago. After a brief stop and transfer in Chicago, they headed to Mobile, AL. Mobile would serve a stop on the way to combat in Cuba. The Regiment would train and prepare in Mobile until ordered to Tampa, FL on May 1, 1898.