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Off to the Spanish American War

NOTE: This is written by my Grandfather, Louis M. Kripliver as Editor of the Wood County, Ohio Democrat newspaper in the Spanish American War as they headed down to Basic Training, including:

  • Off to the War

  • Company H Roster

  • Company K Roster

  • Ovation to Company K

  • Soldier's Life described by Democrat's Staff Correspondent

  • Camp Life

  • Off for Kenton

  • A Lesson in Discipline

Why couldn't we have done this for our boys when they left for the wars we've fought in since WWII? There has been no patriotism till the Gulf war for our boys. They have died in hot, swampy ditches and some showed only that we were disgraced because it was a wasted effort.

OFF TO THE WAR: Wood County Boys leave for the Front.
Immense Patriotic Crowds Cheered Everywhere.
Will soon be in Camp at Columbus.
Our "War Correspondent" Outlines the Situation.
An interesting Summary of the Local Military Events of the Week

Off to the war have Bowling Green's first detachment of soldiers gone. They received notice to report at company headquarters Sunday at 1 o'clock and every one of the brave boys responded with alacrity.

The first intimation that the people of Bowling Green had that the boys had been called to the front ws Saturday night at 11:35 o'clock when the whistle at the electric light plant blew 8 shrill blasts.

The signal was agreed upon Saturday, and was given soon after Harry Brewer received notice from Capt. Fasig and Capt. White that the Bowling Green recruits should report to their respective commands Sunday.

The second call sounded Sunday morning and soon the citizens began to assemble on the streets and much excitement was manifest everywhere.

The 29 soldier boys were out bright and early making necessary preparations to leave for the front, and by 9 o'clock they began to assemble at the City Hall, where a short preliminary drill was had.

The scenes that followed will never be forgotten. The boys were to leave at 11:04 over at the T. & O. C. road, and the citizens turned out en-mass to see them off and bid them God speed. At the City Hall the boys formed in line and then a committee from the Women's Relief Corps presented each with beautiful bouquets and miniature flags. Friends passed among them and bid them good bye as they offered words of good cheer and encouragement.

George Quigley showed his appreciation of their sacrifices by placing a silver dollarin the hands of each recruit as he bid a rousing speech. He said that he could sympathize with the boys as he had at one time had three years experiencein the Indiana Militia. He admonished themto always be found with their faces to the enemy and if needs bo die bravely in defense of their country and its glorious flag that had been purchased at so great a price. he said that the hand of the God of battles was plainly visible in this contest andthat the right was sure to prevail. It was a contest of justice and freedom against tyranny, the most oppressive the world has ever seen, and now the American army was going to the front to rescue the starving and helpless cubans from a tyranny worse than slavery.

In concluding he admonished the boys to go to the front under the folds of the stars and stripes, knowingthat the cause in which they had enlisted was a just and righteous one. The speaker concluded his remarks by a fervent prayer in which he invoked the Divine blessing on the soldier boys and the cause that they go forth to uphold.

As the train hove in sight the immense throng united in singing "America". The scene there enacted was one that can never be forgotten, There was a mingling of song and sobs as the crowd pressed around the boys to bid them a last goodbye. There was scarcely a dry eye in the immense throng as the boys and a few friends boarded the train adn they were soonbeing borned swiftly away, perhaps never to return.

Company H boys:
C. W. Wakefield, Arthur H. Yonker, Charles Noyes, Earl Parmenter, Louis M Kripliver (my grandfather writing this article) Harry Shaw, F. E. Gillispie, Ed Speck, James Ordway, Geo. Jolly, Dan Sweetland, J. D. McLaughlin, Thomas Whitcomb, Dan Colbert, Walter Olmstead, Robert Campbell, Ed Callin, E.J. Long, Sylvester Porter, M. H. Brewer, Henry Stockman, Clarence Richard.

CO. K boys:
Leon Myers, Jim Bates, Harry Harmon, John Dawson, Bert Jolly, Irvie Ward, Harvey Shimer.

Ovation to Company K.
Company K left North Baltimore on the 11 o'clock train to make connections for the south bound T. & O. C. train for Kenton. They were tendered a grand ovation by the citizens of the town who turned out by hundreds to see them off. Speeches were made by Mayor Niece, Rev. Demster and Rev. Cook. The company was escorted to he depot by the G.A.R, the city officials and the fire department. A. J. Steele presented the boys with a beautiful staff of colors valued at $75.

Kenton April 29, 1898

Editor Democrat:--After a series of exciting and bewildering events, the boys of Companies H and K--Wood County's representatives in the 2d Regiment, O.N.G.--arrived here at 1:29 p.m. today. The following additional companies have responded to the regimental assembly call issued this morning, and have reported to Colonel Kuert:

Co. A--Findlay
Co. B--Upper Sandusky
Co. C--Lima
Co. D--Van Wert
Co. E--Tiffin
Co. F--Bellefountaine
Co. G--Kenton
Co. H-- Bloomdale
Co. I-- Kenton
Co. K--North Baltimore
Co. L--Wapakoneta

Every member of the local contingent is in good health and seems to be enjoying the life of a soldier.

From the grand and never-to-be forgotten farewell at Bowling Green till the boys were drawn up to hear Colonel Kuert's hearty welcome at the Armory this afternoon, the trip has been a continual round of pleasure and excitement.

When the train pulled out of Bowling Green every recruit breathed more freely and the handkerchiefs were exchanged for lunch baskets. The more convivial soon roused the boys and the scene became more like a picnic than a lot of raw recruits going to the front.

Camp Life.
At Welker, the boys were met by Lieut. Col. Bryant, and were broken in by marching 6 miles to Bloomdale, to the Armory, where the regulation army rations of pork and beans were administered for the first time.
Among those who accompanied the boys from Bowling Green were Sheriff Biggs, M. P. Brewer, Allen Ross, Clyde Painter, Alf Farmer, Sam E. Vall, Dr. Tuller, Ed Beverstock and C. C. Ross. Jake Easley came to Bloomdale Monday to say farewell.

After mess was over the boys were assembled at the Armory parlor where Capt. Fasig addressed them. The Captain's talk was like that of a father yet dignniied as becomes his position as a soldier. He pointed out that the need of strict discipline, and official courtesy. He did not expect to take angels with him. He wanted all to enjoy themselves and to perform their duties without question. He gave some sound advice as to conduct when in camp, and added the breaches of discipline would not be tolerated. In conclusion he pledged the support and attention of the company's officers, and ask that they be respected. Hen then introduced the under officers.

Capt. Fasig has captured the heart of every lad in the company, and with him at their head of company H wil lmake some of the history in the war with Spain.

In one of the happiest little speeches itwas ever my good fortune to hear Private Dan Colbert thanked Capt. Fasig for his advice and pledged the united support and respect of the "boys from Bowling Green."

Sunday evening the company was marched to the M.E. church and listened to patriotic sermons by Revs. Miller and Arnold. The generosity and kindness of the citizens of Bloomdale was next shown by distributing the boys among their homes for the night.

The boys spent Monday in a delightful way. Some went to Fostoria and others amused themselves by staying at the Armory, dancing, drilling, and eating beans--the latter (according to some of the Bowling Green boys) being the most difficult task in thne art of modern warfare.

Second Corporal Miller ws deprived of his stripes Monday on account of drunkenness. Private Colbert was elected to fill the vacancy but he thought his duties as "father of the Bowling Green boys" would keep him from falling into a state of innocuous disuetude and declined to serve. Private Gillespie was disappointed and will make a good officer.

In the evening Capt. Fasig read the order to move the next morning. Dynamite was fired and everyone was elated that we were to move at last. By the courtesy of the Captain the boys whiled away the evening in dancing and spending the last few hours in conversation with friends and relatives.

Bright and early Tuesday morning every man was busy filling his knapsack and cleaning his equipment. The departing hour brought a repetition of the pathetic scenes at Bowling Green.

At Welker the cars containing Company K from North Baltimore were coupled on and the train started for Kenton, bedecked with bunting and flags. Enthusiastic crowds had gathered all along the line and cheer after cheer went up as the train bowled along.

At Kenton we were marched to the Armory where Colonel Kuert thanked the company for it's promptness and welcomed the boys to partake of Kenton hospitality. After giving three rousing cheers for the gallant Colonel , doing likewise for Col. Bryant, Capt Fasig marched us to a restaurant where an excellent dinner was served a-la-military. The boys are spending the afternoon looking about the city and getting acquainted with the boys of the Second Regiment. We will sleep this evening on the floor of the Armory wrapped in blankets. We're real "sojers" now.

Perhaps when THE DEMOCRAT goes to press we shall be in Columbus. There we will be mustered in as volunteers in the Ohio Infantry and given our equipment. the Second Regiment will go into camp at Columbus or be sent to Newark, where the embryotic soldiers will be instructed in the military art. it is said that the Ohio National Guard will remain in the state for at least 30 to 60 days before going to the front. The boys desired me to state to their relatives and friends that everyone is well and living on the best of the community.

Orders were received at Regimental headquarters Wednesday evening, to move on to Columbus Friday morning. It is likely that we will camp there for some weeks at least.

The abscence of uniforms is somewhat embarassing to the Bowling Green boys. Everyone will be fully equipped at Columbus and then there we be no 'fag end' to he Bloomdale Rifles.

The blue uniform is the emblem of fraternity in the Second Regiment and isa sign of friendship and assistance to any distressed comrade.
The boys wish to thank through THE DEMOCRAT, Judge Parker, R.P. Morrison, and Melville friedlich and the citizens of Bowling Green and Bloomdale for their material assistance and kind wishes.

Private Dan Colbert surprised everyone by his stirring eloquence in answering the speeches of Judge Parker and Capt. Fasig. They were really gems and would have done credit to Chauncey Depew.

Leon Myers has been elected 6th Corporal of Co. K. the Baltimore boys are looking well adnare apparently enjoying themselves.

Ex-Corp. Miller's disgrace has proven and excellent object lesson to the boys and will help them observe discipline.

All mail addressed to the company will reach them if sent in care of Capt Fasig. Co. H, 2d Re. O.N.G. Columbus, Ohio.

Artist Taylors "pig" graces the wall of Kenton Armory and is becoming quite famous.

Every officer of Companies H & K is a gentleman and has the good will of the privates.

L.M. Kripliver


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