Third Georgia Regiment U.S. Volunteers Camp at Savannah

In the Spanish-American War, nowhere was there greater fervor than in Georgia.  “When the United States became involved in war with Spain, Georgia furnished according to population more volunteers than any other State of the Union.”

Among Berrien County, GA men who volunteered for service in the Spanish American War were Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’QuinnPythias D. Yapp,, Zachary T. Hester, W. Dutchman Stephens, Samuel Z. T. Lipham, James M. Bridges, Charles A. Courson, Love Culbreath, George C. Flowers, James L. Jordan and George A. Martin.  All enlisted in Company D, 3rd Georgia Regiment, U.S. Volunteers.

The Third Georgia Regiment, under the command of Colonel John S. Candler, completed its organization August 24, 1898 at Camp Northen, The regiment remained at Camp Northen until November 21, when it boarded the trains to Savannah, GA in preparation for embarkation to Cuba.

The Third Georgia Regiment arrived at Savannah in the early morning of November 22, 1898  on the Central Railroad, according to the Atlanta Constitution.

Atlanta Constitution
November 22, 1898

Third Georgia is in Savannah

      Savannah, Ga., November 21. -(Special.)- Colonel Curtis Guid, Jr., inspector general of the Seventh army corps, has been busy all day making arrangements for the camp site for the Third Georgia regiment, which was to have reached the city tonight shortly after 7 o’clock. The arrival of the regiment was reported at the DeSoto hotel at one time this evening, but it turned out that there had been a delay for some cause up the Central railroad, and the train dispatcher informed the corps officials that the first section of the regimental train would not reach the city until 2 o’clock in the morning. The second section will follow shortly afterwards, and the third will be in before 5 o’clock.
      Colonel George E. Pond, chief quartermaster of the corps, instructed the railroad authorities tonight to switch all the trains bringing the Third Georgia out to the works of the Georgia Car and Manufacturing Company, on the Ogeechee road, about three miles from the city. This is the spot where Colonel Sergeant’s regiment of immunes was camped and from which it had such a long and hot march to the Central railroad wharves. Arrangements had been made, however, to have the Third Georgia moved to the wharf on trains.         The regiment will not pitch all of its tents here…The officers’ tents will be pitched, but the men will be housed under the large shed belonging to the company, the use of which has been kindly permitted by President J.J. McDonough, one of Chatham’s legislators.

The men didn’t pitch their tents because the regiment expected an imminent departure. But the first available troop transport ships went to other regiments.   There was a cold snap and the men spent a chilly night under the open shed of the Georgia Car and Manufacturing, a mistake they wouldn’t make twice.

Atlanta Constitution
November 24, 1898
THIRD GEORGIA’S UNIQUE CAMP.

The Boys Pitch Tents on Flat Cars.
No Orders To March Set.
      Savannah, Ga., November 23. -(Special.)- The time of the departure of the Third Georgia regiment for Cuba is a matter of much doubt. The officers of the regiment supposed when they arrived here that they were to go on the transport Chester, which left New York yesterday and will be in Savannah tomorrow night, but today it developed that the Chester will carry the Fifteenth infantry to Neuvitas. The only other transports coming to Savannah now are the Manitoba, which will take to the same place six troops of the Eighth cavalry, and the Michigan, which will carry six more troops of cavalry to Porto Rico. The officers and men of the Third Georgia are a bit anxious about the matter, but it seems settled that the Fifteenth infantry will go first, as it has been ordered to leave Huntsville, Ala., for Savannah tomorrow. In this event the Third Georgia will hardly leave for Cuba until after the Chester has gone to Nuevitas and returned, which will require at least two weeks’ time, as vessels going to that port have to unload on lighters.
      The Third Georgia men put up their tents today, as they came pretty near freezing last night. Their tents are set up under a big shed and on top of a lot of flat cars at the Georgia Car and Manufacturing Company’s works and the camp is one of the most unique to be found in the country. The men are not complaining, but there is one thing certain, that there will be sickness among them if they have to remain long where they are. The country is low, and they cannot dig two feet without striking water. It is impossible, therefore, to secure sinks that will last for any length of time. Colonel Berner is somewhat anxious about the matter, but so far he has been unable to secure any definite information.

 

November 24, 1898 Savannah Morning News. The Savannah firm Lindsey & Morgan advertised portable heaters for soldiers' tents during the Spanish American War.

November 24, 1898 Savannah Morning News. The Savannah firm Lindsey & Morgan advertised portable oil heaters for soldiers’ tents during the Spanish American War. “You can take it with you to Cuba, if you go.

 

Other drawbacks to the site of Camp Carpenter were its remoteness from Savannah and the fact that the site provided no opportunity for drill or dress parade.  Despite some unfavorable conditions there were no reported complaints from the men and the discipline of the regiment was said to be in splendid shape.

State Legislators Visit Camp Carpenter

On November 26, the military committee of the state House of Representatives “arrived in the city…for the purpose of inspecting the Third Georgia regiment and looking in to the situation so far as the local state militia is concerned.” In the morning the committee was entertained by the city then were taken by carriages to tour the military facilities in the city, the army transport ships at the wharf,  and to the temporary camp of the Third Georgia regiment on the Ogeechee Road. The regiment named this site Camp Carpenter in honor of General Louis Henry Carpenter.

In the afternoon “the committee assembled in carriages at the park extension, being accompanied by General Fitzhugh Lee and officers of his staff, and there was a formal review of the Third Georgia led by Colonel R. L. Berner.

Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee. President Grover Cleveland appointed him consul general in Havana in 1896, a position he retained even after the election of President McKinley. At this time, Cuba was in chaos. Lee hoped for a U.S. intervention to help the rebels desiring independence, even though President McKinley wanted the Spanish government to come to a settlement without recourse to U.S. troops. A few hours after the President ordered the U.S.S. Maine to Havana Harbor, Lee telegraphed his advice not to send such a ship. Following the explosion on the Maine, Lee returned to Washington. On May 5, 1898 he was made a major general in the army and put in command of the Seventh Army Corps.

Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee. President Grover Cleveland appointed him consul general in Havana in 1896, a position he retained even after the election of President McKinley. At this time, Cuba was in chaos. Lee hoped for a U.S. intervention to help the rebels desiring independence, even though President McKinley wanted the Spanish government to come to a settlement without recourse to U.S. troops. A few hours after the President ordered the U.S.S. Maine to Havana Harbor, Lee telegraphed his advice not to send such a ship. Following the explosion on the Maine, Lee returned to Washington. On May 5, 1898 he was made a major general in the army and put in command of the Seventh Army Corps.

 Macon Telegraph
November 30, 1898   

       The committee, accompanied by Gen. Fitzhugh Lee and several of his staff officers, reviewed the Third Georgia  in the park extension. Though little was known of the fact that the regiment would be there, the people of Savannah gathered in large numbers, and the walks of the park and those around it were well filled when the review took place. The Third Georgia, in command of Col. Robert L. Berner, marched into the city, arriving about ten minutes before 3:30 o’clock, the time for the review. The regiment had an average of seventy-two men to the company, having left a large guard and kitchen detail at the camp, and made a splendid showing, upon which it was warmly complimented by Chairman Hardwick and all the members of the committee. After the review the committee was entertained at Thunderbolt by Messrs. LaRoche and McMillan.
      The object of the visit of the legislative committee was to gather an idea as to the advantages of the state militia, by making a study of the Third Georgia, In which are many of Georgia’s volunteer soldiers, and also of the situation here with the local military. The question of the state military appropriation for the year is at stake, and the matter Is a most important one, especially in view of the fact that retrenchment is now being made on all sides possible, except the matters of education and pensions.
      “I will say that the committee was well pleased with everything it has seen, ” Chairman Hardwick said. ”We were desirous of keeping up the appropriation if it were possible to do so, and if the need for it were made apparent. Since our investigation we are thoroughly satisfied of the advantages to be gained, and there is no question that the committee will recommend the full appropriation this year.”
      The committee was evidently well pleased with the treatment it received here, and was most favorably impressed from every standpoint. The usual military appropriation is 120,000, and the committee, as stated, will recommend the full amount this year.
      The committee returned to Atlanta last night, with the exception of Messrs. Hopkins, Hutchins and Erwin, who remained as guests of Mr. Jim Barrow, who came down with the committee.
     The following statement was drawn up by the committee just prior to Its departure last night, and its publication re quested :
     ”We desire to express our appreciation of the courteous treatment accorded the military committee of the House by your city officials, the Chatham delegation and the officers and men of the Third Georgia Regiment.
      “We tender our heartiest thanks to the Hon. I. W. Meldrim, Mayor of the city of Savannah, and to Dr. W. W. Owens, Mayor pro tem, for the hearty and cor dial welcome given by them to the committee, and for their many courtesies to us during our visit to their city.
      “We also desire to tender our thanks to Mr. John M. Egan for his courteous and considerate reception and entertainment of the committee. We are also grateful to the Hon. T. H. McMillan and Hon, W. P. LaRoche for their hospitable attentions and royal entertainment.
       We also highly appreciate the courteous attentions of Col. Berner and the officers and men of the Third Georgia Regiment for the splendid review given by the regiment, in honor of the committee’s visit. We feel very proud of the magnificent bearing and soldierly appearance of the regiment, and feel that no state has contributed a finer body of men to the service of the country. Our attention has been called by Gen. Lee to the fact that the Third Georgia is the only regiment he has seen which has not been provided’ with a handsome state flag, and we think the state of Georgia should remedy this over sight before the regiment leaves for Cuba by providing such a flag for the regiment at once.”
     The statement was signed by Hon. T. W. Hardwick, chairman committee on military affairs. House of Representatives, and J. M. Hopkins, secretary.

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Macon Telegraph
November 27,1898

The Third Georgia

May Be Some Time Before It Goes to Cuba.

       Many people will be interested to know that the Third Georgia may not go to Cuba for some time to come, and that it will be transferred to Gen. Lee’s headquarters. The story is told as follows by the Savannah Morning News:
        The Third Georgia regiment may be attached to the seventh army corps, in which event it will not go to Cuba for the present.
       Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, commanding the seventh army corps, received a telegram front the war department yesterday telling him that the Third Georgia regiment would be detained here for the present, asking him to provide a suitable camping ground for it, and stating that it might be attached to the seventh army corps. The statement on this line, while not positive indicated the probable intention of the war department to put the Third Georgia in Gen. Lee’s corps instead of leaving it in the second army corps, to which it is now attached.
     In the event this change is made as proposed, the Third Georgia will probably go to Havana instead of Nuevitas, as appears to have been intended. It is, of course, now definitely settled that the regiment will not go to Cuba on the transport Chester, which arrived here yesterday for the purpose of taking the Fifteenth Infantry, United States regulars, to Nuevitas, and if they are to be sent to that point shortly they will have to wait at least until the Chester returns.
      On account of the apparent change in the plans for the Third Georgia it has been found necessary to change their camping ground, and this will lie done at once. Gen. Lee has decided to put the regiment out on the Waters road something over half a mile beyond the junction of that road with Dale avenue. It will be located therefore considerable distance from the regiments composing the first division of the corps.
     The camp site having been decided upon, the work of extending water pipes to it from the mains put out in that part of the country by the city will be done today, and the Third Georgia will begin moving its camp from the works of the Georgia Car and Manufacturing company, on the Ogeechee road, today or tomorrow.
        The camp can be moved and set up within twelve or fourteen hours, with a sufficient supply of army wagons for the transportation, and from present appearances the movement will begin either Sunday or Monday.
     Should the Third Georgia regiment eventually be attached to the seventh army corps, the question is, where will it be placed? There are now two divisions of two brigades each in the corps. It would throw the corps somewhat out of proportion to have an odd regiment thrown in, but some provision will doubtless be made for it. Gen. Lee is of the opinion that other regiments will be sent here to be attached to the corps, in which event another brigade could be formed. The Second United States artillery, as is well known, is now on its way to Savannah, but Gen. Lee says the artillery regiment will not be brigaded with infantry, as it will have to be assigned to duty on the fortifications.
     The Third Georgia was, strange to say, the thirteenth regiment of Infantry to come to Savannah, the seventh army corps having brought twelve, and one of the officers remarked upon that fact the other day. He is not superstitious, but he has a curiosity to know just what is going to be done with the Georgians.
      Lieut. Orr of Newnan, quartermaster of the Third Georgia, has been in the city every day since the arrival of his regiment looking after its wants. Lieut. Orr says the regiment passed a most satisfactory Thanksgiving day, and the boys had all they wanted to eat. He says the men are very well situated in their camp at present, though there is some question as to whether it would be safe for them to remain there any length of time. He was of the opinion that a change would be made in the camp, and the chances are that the men will be notified to get ready to move at once.
     The Third Georgia boys are not complaining about their camp, but they all feel as if they would like to be within more convenient access to the city as long as they are stationed, here. Their camp on the Waters road will undoubtedly be a more satisfactory one, from every point of view.

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Savannah Morning News
November 29, 1898

MAY WAIT UNTIL TO-MORROW.
      Third Georgia Will Not Move Its Camp If the Weather Is Bad. It has not been definitely decided whether the Third Georgia Regiment will change its quarters to-day or not. If the weather is good the chances are that the work of moving may be begun; otherwise it will not. The new camping ground for the Third Georgia is now in good shape, the water supply having been put in and the company streets staked off. The regiment, however, is not suffering in its present quarters at the Georgia car works, and there is no necessity for moving in bad weather. The regiment in fact is quite comfortably quartered since its tents are set up under the sheds and no rain falls upon them. The wind, too, is shut off, and altogether the boys are getting on finely. It begins to look as if the Third Georgia will soon be attached to the Seventh Corps. No orders have been received with regard to it in some days. One of the staff officers when asked about it yesterday said: “The only definite thing with regard to the stay here of the Third Georgia is that it is indefinite.” 

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November 30, 1898

WILL MOVE THEIR CAMP TO-DAY.
Third Georgia Regiment to Change Its Quarters to Dale Avenue.

The camp of the Third Georgia Regiment will be moved to-day. The Georgians will come in from their quarters on the Ogeechee road and pitch their tents on the southern side of Dale avenue, a short distance to the west of the First Texas and Second Louisiana Regiments of the First Brigade, First Division. The work of moving camp will take about one day, and by to-night the new camp will be in good shape. A sufficient number of army wagons to carry the whole outfit will be sent out to the car works, and the Georgia boys will lose no time about moving. They have been very comfortably located where they are, but they want to get settled, and they are quite anxious to get near a car line as many of them like to come into the city occasionally. 

Col. Berner spoke proudly of the Third Georgia Regiment:

Robert Lee Berner

Robert Lee Berner

      “The Third Georgia is in splendid condition for the trip to Cuba. My men are in good health and spirits, and they are glad the day of departure has come. There was never a finer regiment of soldiers in the volunteer army, and I am proud of the men who will go to Cuba under my command. The boys are soldiers and gentle men, and you will hear of no outbreaks or disorder by them. They are well disciplined and are anxious to serve their country on Cuban soil. There are no brigands or outlaws among them, and they will not raid stores, stands or other people’s property, as has been done by some soldiers.
     “We do not expect to remain in Savannah but a few days. The regiment has been ordered to Neuvitas, Cuba, and as soon as the transports reach Savannah we will go on board and start for the Cuban port, which is to be our home for the next year or two, at least.
     “You may say to the people of Georgia that they need have no fear as to the conduct of the Third Georgia while in Cuba. My men will uphold the dignity of the state and the soldiery of Georgia, and good reports will be returned because there shall be no ground for bad ones.
     “We are deeply grateful for the many kind messages of good cheer sent its by friends throughout the state and they are appreciated sincerely.”
Lieut Col. Spence said:
      “The Third Georgia is a fine regiment and it will compare favorably with any of the service. I am glad to go to Cuba with the Georgia boys. The men are in good condition.”

Maj. John S. “Jack” Cohen said:
      “Our boys are happy that they are to go. To a man they want to see Cuba and they will board the transports cheerful and contented. Ours is the only regiment which is to see active service, and for that reason the men will make the very best record possible.”

The following week, it was ordered that all of the troops at Savannah would march in review for General Fitzhugh Lee,

Atlanta Constitution
December 4, 1898

Parade of Seventh Corps
General Lee Issues Order To All The Soldiers

Will be the Grandest Military Procession Seen in the South for Many Years.

      Savannah, Ga., December 3. -(Special.)- General Lee this afternoon issued an order for a grand parade and review of the entire Seventh army corps at 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon at the park extension. This not only includes the Seventh army corps, but all the soldiers in and around Savannah, the Maine artillery, the signal corps, the Second regular regiment, light artillery and the batteries of the regulars just in from Porto Rico; the order also includes the Third Georgia regiment, which will be the first appearance of Colonel Bob Berner’s men. This will probably be the last appearance in Savannah of General Lee and his staff and of the Seventh army corps before their departure for Cuba. It will be the largest military parade held in the south since General Breckinridge reviewed the troops of Chickamauga from Snodgrass hill.
      It is doubtful now if General Fitzhugh Lee will be in Savannah when President McKinley visits the city, the middle of the month. Orders were issued today providing for the removal within a week of the First brigade, Second division, Seventh army corps to Havana, and the announcement is made that the transports Michigan, Mobile and Roumania will carry the brigade…

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Atlanta Constitution
December 7, 1898

FAREWELL REVIEW OF SEVENTH CORPS

General Fitzhugh Lee Reviews Sixteen Thousand Troops.

Third Georgia Was In Line

Confederate Veterans Formed General Lee’s Escort.

Savannah, Ga., December 6. – The farewell review of the Seventh army corps before its departure for Cuba took place in Forsyth park today. Sixteen thousand troops passed in review before General Lee. Besides the Seventh corps, the Third Georgia regiment, Second Unites States artillery and two light batteries from the Third, one from the Fourth and one from the Fifth and the First Maine artillery took part in the review.
Troop A of the First Georgia cavalry-the famous Jeff Davis legion of the civil war -formed General Lee’s escort and a dashing appearance on the reviewing field…

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Thirty thousand people witnessed the review, which was one of the most imposing ever seen in Savannah.Americus Times-Recorder, Dec 8, 1898

Seventh Army Corps passing in review, 1898

Seventh Army Corps passing in review, 1898

 

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