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Part I -- Early history of the ND militia
Part II -- The ND Guard in the Spanish American War
Part III -- Mexican Border
Diary of Samuel Baglien
List of WWII KIA and Died of Wounds
Douglas Burtell -- A GI's War
The 164th Infantry News
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NDGuard > History > The 164th Infantry Regiment WWII > Part II -- The ND Guard in the Spanish American War

NOTE: This history is taken from the "Historical and Pictorial Review: National Guard of the State of North Dakota (1940), a special volume published in 1940, at the time of the unit’s preparation for mobilization into Federal service.  Parts have been edited to eliminate repetition.

Historical Sketch of the

North Dakota National Guard


This brief chronological sketch is for the purpose of furnishing the bare bones of the history of the National Guard of the State of North Dakota and such other voluntary troops organized and mustered into Federal service during the period from the organization of the National Guard of North Dakota as have had Federal war time service. The war service of the Guard will be found in other chapters. It is not the intention to publish a laudatory or self-serving history of these organizations. It may be necessary from time to time to mention individual names in order to maintain the continuity of the histories, but it is not the intention to build up a central figure or to indulge in laudatory or biographical sketches of an individual.

It is the hope that this volume may explain to the citizens of North Dakota the reason for and the object of the organization and training of a National Guard, and incidentally, to revive some memories of the splendid men who, during the entire period of the existence of a National Guard in this state have rendered unselfish, devoted service to their country in carrying out the object of the existence of the Guard itself.
PART II  -- These section, concerning the Spanish-American War and the "Philippine Insurrection," are written largely from to the personal experiences of John Fraine, who served as a major in the 2nd Battalion.


During the period following statehood, from November, 1889, up to the breaking out of the Spanish- American War, the National Guard of the State of North Dakota had no activities except that of training and maintaining organizations of the National Guard so that the personnel thereof might in time of necessity of this nation or in time of local disturbances, or to meet local conditions, be of use and be placed under orders to await possible service wherein they might be needed.

This brief chronological sketch is for the purpose of furnishing the bare bones of the history of the National Guard of the State of North Dakota and such other voluntary troops organized and mustered into Federal service during the period from the organization of the National Guard of North Dakota as have had Federal war time service. The war service of the Guard will be found in other chapters. It is not the intention to publish a laudatory or self-serving history of these organizations. It may be necessary from time to time to mention individual names in order to maintain the continuity of the histories, but it is not the intention to build up a central figure or to indulge in laudatory or biographical sketches of an individual.

It is the hope that this volume may explain to the citizens of North Dakota the reason for and the object of the organization and training of a National Guard, and incidentally, to revive some memories of the splendid men who, during the entire period of the existence of a National Guard in this state have rendered un- selfish, devoted service to their country in carrying out the object of the existence of the Guard itself.

Pre-War Period

Company B, Fargo, was called out and performed guard and patrol duty during the great fire at Fargo in July, 1893. Company C was called out to prevent threatening lynch rioting on July 4, 1890. Other companies were called out to serve for short periods. At the time of the Indian troubles winding up at Wounded Knee, the entire regiment was under waiting orders. Again during the Indian Tax troubles (March 7, 1887) in the Turtle Mountains, the regiment was held under orders. No actual field service eventuated.

At the time of the declaration of war with Spain in April, 1898, the government called for and would accept only eight companies of National Guard of this state. The following companies were accepted: A, B, C, D, G, H, I and K, located severally at Bismarck, Fargo, Grafton, Devils Lake, Valley City, Jamestown, Wahpeton and Dickinson. These eight companies went into camp at Fargo, May 2, 1898; and on May 26, after being examined and mustered into the Federal service, they entrained for San Francisco, arriving on May 31, 1898.

They sailed for Manila June 25. On arrival, July 31, a severe typhoon was blowing and the troops remained on the vessels until August 4, when they were transferred to a point south of Manila. Their camp was in a field along the shore of Manila Bay, and over the entire field water stood from eight to 18 inches in depth, necessitating the men making racks of split bamboo on which to sleep.

On the morning of August 12, 1898, the regiment was sent to Pasai, south of Manila, on outpost duty. It remained there for a day-time enough for it to take part in the assault made on Manila, resulting in the city's capitulation on the afternoon of August 13. After capitulation and before all the regiment had entered the city, it was found that the native organized troops were coming into the city from various points with the avowed intention of wrecking, robbing and burning. Companies A, B, C and K, First North Dakota Volunteers, were detailed to prevent the entrance of the natives into the city and had a very severe clash in keeping them out. They were successful in keeping them out at all points they guarded. However, at various other points the native troops had found an en- trance into the city where, until September 15, their armed sentries paralleled every sentry post of the American troops, sometimes so closely as to be able to touch each other if desired. In August, the casualties were Private Berg, Company A, wounded, and Private Buckley, Company C, killed.
Manila: 1898

During the period of August 13, 1898, until February 4, 1899, the American troops in Manila were practically prisoners. Filipino armed troops passed through the American lines, but Americans were forbidden to penetrate beyond our own sentry lines. A very tense feeling existed throughout this period. The natives themselves were very cocky and frequently in their own vernacular jeered the American sentries, saying as they passed them, "Uno Filipino soldao dos Americano soldao equal" (One Filipino soldier is equal to two American soldiers") .American surveying detachments unknowingly penetrating the Filipino lines were captured and imprisoned, and a detachment of me~ from U. S. S. Yorktown ascending a river in a launch seeking to relieve a small party of Spanish soldiers were also captured and imprisoned.

About nine o'clock on the evening of Saturday, February 4, 1899, the Filipino armed forces attempted to pass an American sentry who fired on them; and thus a general assault was precipitated on the city by the Filipinos. This contingency had appeared probable for some weeks and precaution had been taken to repel any such assault by assigning defense positions to all American troops. The First North Dakota station was on the south of the city, its right resting on Manila Bay at Fort San Antonio de Abad, and extending thence to the east to connect with the 14th Infantry which continued the line east through Cingalon Church cross- roads.

During the entire night of February 4 the natives kept up a constant firing by rifles, but did not advance on the American lines. While some parts of the American line returned the firing, the North Dakota Regiment returned no fire until after daybreak of the fifth. Orders from the Corps Headquarters contemplated holding the North Dakota Regiment in its position until other parts of the line had advanced. However, the 14th Infantry on the east and left of the North Dakota Regiment met with very serious resistance in an attempted advance and Brigadier General Samuel Oven- shine directed one battalion of the First North Dakota to advance.

The enemy was located approximately 200 yards south of the North Dakota Battalion in a line of trenches extending from Manila Bay parallel to the front of the North Dakota Regiment and the 14th Infantry. Immediately in front of the North Dakota Battalion was a cemetery surrounded by a wire fence strung on cut-sawed posts approximately three inches square and two and one-half feet high. Major Frank White (afterwards Governor of North Dakota) led the advance of the battalion across the space between the American and Filipino lines passing over the wire fence and through the cemetery.
Fighting the Insurgents

The North Dakota troops did no firing until they overran the insurgents in the trenches they had occupied, very few getting away. While several men in the North Dakota Battalion making the attack had bullets scrape their skin and penetrate their clothing, not one was seriously enough hurt to put on the wounded list. The result of this action was a general retirement of the Filipinos on the south of the city. The slight casualties in the regiment in this attack were cause for wonder, as the rifle fire from the insurgents was so sharp and heavy that every post in the cemetery fences, every headstone and marker in the cemetery itself, was hit from two to five times.

The American line shortly received an order for general advance which was intended by the higher command to simply extend the lines to a greater distance outside the city so the inhabitants would be less exposed to hostile rifle fire. The First North Dakota took up its line through Pineda, Pasai and toward Culi Culi Church, or, as it was then called, the bamboo bridge, driving the enemy before them headlong.

On the next day, February 6, a reconnaissance was made by Companies C and K in the direction of and actually into the town of Paranaque, the orders being not to bring on a conflict, but to ascertain where the natives were, their number and location and general situation. The enemy was found in force in two lines of. entrenchments across the river from Paranaque. Their mission being accomplished, the companies returned.  On returning, the companies brought in a number of abandoned small horses and two-wheeled carts which subsequently proved to be of material assistance to the regiment. On February 10, after holding (with the 14th Infantry and Fourth Cavalry) a very thin line running from Pinada through Pasai to San Pedro Macati, the regiment was ordered into Manila. Within two hours after arriving in Manila, however, orders were received to go back in the line-another organization had a contact with a much superior insurgent force between Pineda and Paranaque. On arriving at crossroads at Pineda, the First Battalion, under Major-; White, was sent to the east and placed near San Pedro Macati; and the Second Battalion, under Major Fraine, proceeded to the south toward Paranaque. Before dark,  the assaulting natives had been driven off and the 14th  Infantry, which had encountered them, had been relieved. The Second Battalion, First North Dakota; remained on the ground. during the night and returned" at daylight within the original line at Pineda. From" this time until July, the regiment was continually on the line, being ill Manila only on two occasions for overnight. The line held was a very thin one from Manila. Bay to the east for a. period of a week or ten days, then the 14th Infantry and the Fourth Cavalry replaced the North Dakota. Infantry which was moved farther east with the right resting on San Pedro Macati and the left extending up the river toward Laguna. de Bai. This entire line, consisting of the Fourth Cavalry, 14th Infantry and First North Dakota, was intended to keep all insurgent forces from the southern end of Luzon from joining the main body of the insurgent forces which was north of Manila and along the line of the railway.

During' the occupancy of this line from San Pedro Macati to Pasig, it was the custom to outpost a line about a mile and one-half from the Pasig River and send out patrols twice a day to ascertain what enemy was in front and his contemplated movements. On March 29, however, there was an order by General King for a movement to take place in the early morning of April 1.

Looking to the southeast from our line, it was known that a half mile distant from the lines the regiment was maintaining, the insurgents were in considerable force. It was General King's intention to ascertain the strength and position of the insurgents by attacking. In this movement, Corporal Byron of Company D was wounded, dying some six weeks later. Bugler Morgan of Company D was wounded in the head, but not seriously, and Lieutenant Baldwin .of Company H was wounded seriously in the leg from the effects of which he was crippled for the rest of his life.
Heroic Action

On April 8, the Second Battalion, under Major Fraine, with one battalion of First Idaho, two battalions, 14th Infantry, a troop of the Fourth Cavalry and one battery constituting General Lawton's first expedition on the island moved down the Laguna de Bai on cascos (large open boats) about 69 miles to Santa Cruz where a very brisk fight took place April 10, resulting in possibly the heaviest loss to the Filipinos of anyone engagement. The expedition then proceeded to Pagsanjan, southeast of Santa Cruz, where the so-called insurgent navy, consisting of a number of steam launches, was observed on the other side of the Santa Cruz River. Captain Purdon of Company I and some men of his company swam the river, cut the launches out, and were towed back to Santa Cruz. The engines which had been dismantled (in each case by some parts being taken away) , were repaired by men of the regiment and sent on down to the mouth of the Santa Cruz River to be taken over by the American forces. These launches were afterwards used by the American forces during the continuation of hostilities.

On April 12 the battalion proceeded by way of Lumbang to Longos where it rejoined the battalions of the 14th Infantry and Fourth Cavalry and from there, without food or rest, was sent to Paeti where a very bitter fight took place. In the fight Corporal Driscoll, Private Almen, Private Lamb and Private Tomkins of Company C, and Private Schneller of Company I were killed, and Private Files, Company I, and Private Hensel, Company K, were severely wounded. The first four and Private Thomas Sletteland were in the flanking party on the side of the mountain along which the road ran, and were fired on at a distance of 15 or 20 feet from a trench. Every member of the flanking party, except Private Sletteland, was killed' outright.

Three separate times the insurgents came over their breast-works to obtain the arms of the killed soldiers and three times, alone and unaided, Private Sletteland drove them back. Private Sletteland received later a medal of honor at the hands of Congress for his devoted action. As an illustration of the unselfish spirit permeating the men of the regiment, it may be noted that the Captain of Company C, to which Sletteland belonged, as well as Corporal Driscoll, who was killed, attempted to promote Sletteland to the vacant corporalcy which Sletteland declined, saying that there were better men in the company than he. The commanding officer then proposed to promote Private Lowe who requested that instead of promoting him the Captain promote Private De Frate on the ground that De Frate intended to go on with his education after discharge and would need the added pay more than he. A day or two later, after throwing out scouting parties and patrols in the jungle, the expedition was called back to Manila. The Second Battalion took its place in the line and relieved the Fourth Infantry which had replaced it on the line.

During the absence of the Second Battalion, the First Battalion remained on the line with the Fourth Infantry which had taken the place of the Second Battalion and performed the usual outpost and scout duty. The battalion remained on the line until April 20 at which time the entire regiment was moved into Manila during the night of the twentieth, remaining there until noon the next day when it took up its line of march on the San Isidro campaign. The brigade was under the command of Colonel W. C. Treumann.

On this expedition the regiment bivouacked the first night, April 21, at La Loma Church, taking up the line of march the next morning for Novaliches. This day of ~arch there were two or three attacks on the column. Corporal Hansche, Company B, and Private Fell, company H, were wounded, but the enemy was driven off and the column arrived at Novaliches as planned.

Young's Scouts

From Novaliches to Angat were four days of tremendous toil in torrid heat over a terrain cut up with water courses where, in the wet season torrents flowed, but which, at that time, were entirely dry-with no roads. The only transportation for the column being carabao, or water buffalo, hauling the ammunition and such rations as were with the command, on old-fashioned native carts with two immense wooden wheels, the axles of wood packed in oakum, wet with water instead of grease. It was necessary to let the carabao and their carts down one side of every ravine with ropes, and haul them up by ropes on the other side. Many carabao died during these four days, but they were replaced by parties of men from the regiment scouring the surrounding country and bringing in such carabao as could be found so that while 19 were issued to the regiment at the beginning of the expedition and probably all of them died, there were still 39 carabao with the regiment when it arrived at Angat. While lacking carabao which had died and pending the capture of others to take their places, the men roped themselves to the heavy carts and brought them along.

From Angat on, the rest of the expedition, roads of a more or less passable character were available. During this expedition a body of scouts was organized at Angat by a civilian named Young who had accompanied the battalion on the San Isidro expedition. Various stories have been in circulation concerning the organization of the body of scouts and how it came that Mr. Young was authorized to organize it on April 29. The writer was present April 29 at a point opposite San Rafael, north of Angat where the leading element of the column, the Third Infantry, had been engaged by the enemy and had suffered several casualties. Major White, with the First Battalion of the North Dakota Infantry, was sent in to relieve the situation, when General Lawton rode up and noticing Young said to him, "Can you get me a native?" Young, who was in civilian clothes, was a man six feet two or three inches tall, weighing approximately 230 or 240 pounds. A miner and in the Philippines on his own responsibility, he went into the bush and returned presently with a native and his Mauser rifle. General Lawton undertook to obtain some general information from him concerning the forces and the names of the neighboring towns and their directions and distance from his then location. During this action, General Lawton received orders from Manila to return to Angat as the insurgents had requested an armistice for the purpose of concluding peace.

After sending Major Fraine with his battalion to wade the Rio Grande de Pampanga with a message to Colonel Summers, commanding officer of another brigade on the other side of the river, ordering him to re- turn to the place he had left that morning, General Lawton returned with the command to Angat. Meanwhile, Major White had driven the insurgents facing the Third Infantry off. In this affair Private Pepke, Company I, First North Dakota Infantry, was wounded in the abdomen.

Exploits of the Scouts

On their return to Angat, General Lawton had a talk with Young, and asked him if he could organize a body of scouts who he, the General, could send out through the country without support, without provisions, except a little coffee and salt, to obtain news of the enemy, find them and clear the way for the column. Being assured by Young that he could find the men for that purpose, General Lawton inquired where he could get them and Young said, "In the First North Dakota Infantry." The General, however, stated that it would cause some jealousy to take them from only the North Dakota regiment and suggested that he get some of them from the other organizations. Young organized a body of 25 men who were placed under his command. It consisted of one member of the Oregon regiment, three of the Fourth Cavalry, six from the Second Oregon Infantry, and 16 men from the First North Dakota Infantry.

There has been considerable history written concerning the exploits of this band of scouts. Subsequent to this first appointment the personnel changed slightly from time to time. For General Lawton kept them constantly on the go, ordering them out on expeditions and when they again contacted the command after an expedition, such men as were worn out or sore-footed were replaced by others. These men, among other things, contacted a body of about 600 natives at San Miguel de Mayuma. Again a few days later, a body of approximately the same size was at San Ildefonso, where Chief-of-Scouts Young was wounded and a few days later died, and Private Trulock of Company C was wounded-and in each case they drove the natives out from behind entrenchments, completely defeating them. Later, moving some miles in advance of the column at a bridge across a river (I think it was Tarlac), the insurgents had constructed a bridge-head and set fire to the bridge. While part of the scouts smothered the fire and partially saved the bridge for the use of the main body, the rest of the scouts engaged and drove off the enemy, killing more of them than the entire number of the scout band. Harrington, who replaced Young after his wound, was killed here. Trulock recovered.

The regiment remained at Angat a couple of days where food and ammunition was received from Bacoor which is on the railway running north from Manila. The negotiations for peace falling through, the line of march, over the same ground as on April 29, was on May 2 again resumed. This time the Second Battalion, First North Dakota Infantry, was in the advance and arriving at the same point where the Third Infantry had met the enemy April 29, found the insurgents oc- cupying the same trenches as on the 29th.

The Second Battalion drove them out headlong in ten minutes without loss to the battalion. However, Private Olstad, Company G, and Private Pels, Company H, in Major White's Battalion, were wounded.

Camp was made at this place for the night, and the next morning the march was resumed toward Bustos with the 22nd United States Infantry in the advance. The progress was very slow and before the 22nd Infantry reached the town, Young's scouts had entered it, driving the Filipinos out. The column stayed here a day or two and moved over the river to scout for and intercept Pio Pilar and Pantaleon Garcia, who, so headquarters at Manila had advised General Lawton, were on their way with 3,000 men to cut his communications. This battalion and the troop of cavalry were unable to find the enemy anywhere, although the country for several miles in all directions was scouted by patrols daily.

On return of this detachment to Baliuag, the column again took up the line of march toward San Isidro through San Ildefonso and San Miguel de Mayuma, preceded by Young's scouts. The regiment proceeded to San Isidro where a stand was made, the insurgents standing quite staunchly at first but driven away without loss on the part of the North Dakota regiment. Only the First Battalion of the regiment under Major White was concerned in this fight, the Second Battalion being engaged in escorting and hauling the supply train. Leaving San Isidro, the regiment proceeded down the Rio Grande de Pampanga without serious contact except at Cabiao on May 18. The afternoon of the first day out of San Isidro, the 22nd Infantry advance guard which had preceded the 22nd Infantry down San Isidro had at a fork in the road marched down the left hand fork while the regiment traveled down the right hand side and thus were unprepared for the attack. Several men of the 22nd became casualties and Colonel French who was in command of the column at that time, ordered the Commander of the Second Battalion, North Dakota Infantry, to clean the insurgents up. In ten minutes, with no casualties in the regiment, they had completely cleaned the natives out.

The only other contact down the river was from bushwhackers and forces on the north side of the Rio Grande firing on the column as it advanced. Crossing at Arayat, the expedition arrived at Candaba and halted for a couple of days while transportation was obtained by water for wounded and sick who were sent into Manila from there. Thereafter, the regiment proceeded on a two-days' march through Apalit for the first night's bivouac, and the second day to Calumpit on the railway, having been on the expedition for 35 days.

The following excerpts from the official reports of Major General H. W. Lawton and Major Cardwell, the Division Surgeon, illustrate the qualities of the regiment:

From Report of General Lawton of the Expedition to the Proyinces of Bulacan Neuya Ecija, and Pampamga, Luzon, P. 1., April 22 to May JO, 1899 (San lsidro or Northern Expedition.)

"But of the North Dakotas, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Treumann, it is desired to express special appreciation. They exchanged their well-performed duties of advance guard of the day before for the laborious ones of rear guard of the two days necessary to reach Norzagaray. This regiment had orders to leave nothing behind, and literally carried transportation over bad places and put squads of men in the shafts to re- place worn-out and dead bulls. Every service-even to the use of pick and shovel-was performed by each, from the Colonel down to the private, with the same commendable earnestness that has given this regiment its reputation for cheerful and effective accomplishment of any task set it."

From Report of Major Cardwell, Division Surgeon of the Same Expedition:

"The First North Dakota Volunteers had less sickness of any kind in proportion than any other command in the expedition, and had they not turned over a num-ber of men for transportation on the last day of the trip, most of whom would have continued to do duty if there had been any duty to perform, their figures would have seemed incredible when compared with other organizations. This in spite of the fact that the regiment especially distinguished itself both in the rapidity and thoroughness of its work in the advance, and in the hard work done by every man when in the rear with the bull teams.

"The surgeons and officers of the regiment attribute their immunity from sickness to the fact that during the entire trip the regiment never missed a meal, and never more than an hour late. Every company carried coffee boilers and other cooking utensils, and two days' rations on small pony carts which were kept closed up with their column, no matter what the state of the roads or what the opposition by the enemy or from commanding officers of other organizations. The fact that none of the carts belonged to or had ever been issued by the Quartermaster's Department did not prevent their in- creasing to a greater degree than any other one factor the efficiency of this regiment."

The regiment arrived at Manila some hours after dark and it was a source of comfort to the officers and undoubtedly to the men that it was dark, for 35 days of tramping through the jungles had not been conducive to conservation of clothing and it certainly would have been embarrassing for officers and men to have entered Manila in the daytime, they not having quite enough clothing among the men to clean the rifles. The command remained in Manila that night and the next day, and at seven o'clock in the evening, May 31, took up the line of march for the Morong expedition from which they returned in July, 1899.

The first evening's march on the Morong expedition ended in bivouac near San Pedro Macati. The next morning the regiment proceeded up the Pasig River to the Pasig Ferry which consisted of three log dugouts covered with bamboo poles and matting, on which the men were conveyed across the river to the Island of Pasig. After crossing the river, the line of march was taken up towards Cainta. The instructions were that the regiment should take Cainta before dark and lie there with the left resting at Cainta, the right ex- tending to the Laguna de Bai and there await the ar- rival of the cooperating brigade under General Hall, which started at three o'clock that morning from Maraquina and which it was expected would have taken Antipolo during the day and extended its left from there to the other side of the peninsula of Morong with the extreme left resting on the Laguna de Bai, and by extending its right toward Cainta, would have joined the North Dakota regiment before nightfall. However, the column under General Hall had not accomplished its objective so the connection was not made.

First North Dakota Advances

After dark, General Hall not having appeared, the North Dakota line was moved forward to the bank of a river toward Taytay and remained in skirmish formation, the men, with the exception of sentries, lying in that formation, asleep, until morning. General Hall's column had been delayed, it developed, by reason of difficulties of terrain across the Mariquina Valley, which is about three or four miles wide, but cut up with narrow ditches from 10 to 20 feet wide and filled with water with a depth of from four to 10 feet. Its progress was so slow that instead of being across the valley and into the hill jungle before daylight as planned, it was along in the afternoon before the valley was crossed. The same terrain existed in the part of the valley crossed by the North Dakota regiment, but was successfully crossed in a much shorter time because of the methods employed. The North Dakota regiment was not particularly skillful in solving military problems as laid down in the text-books on war and its operations. It knew very little about making military bridges and was not skillful at drawing plans for them. So when water was met with that could not be waded or jumped across, or which the wagons could not be gotten across it was its practice not to build a bridge. The first thought was to see if there was anything around that would fill up the ditch or water course sufficiently to get the wagons across. Men could get across anywhere, any time. Luckily, in every place where it was necessary to fill the ditches, there were some unoccupied houses which were torn down to fill the ditches so the wagons could get across. Consequently, the North Dakota regiment had fulfilled its mission, which was to take Cainta before dark.

In the early morning, just about daylight, General Lawton appeared on the scene and inquired if General Hall had been seen or contacted and when he found that nothing had been heard from Hall, he directed the taking of Taytay. The Second Battalion, the first to cross the river, advanced on Taytay, meeting very little real resistance, although there was sharp but ineffective rifle fire, and found on reaching the town that it had been abandoned and set on fire. The regiment being followed by General Lawton and his staff, the Battalion Commander and companies C, D, I and K were directed to proceed to Antipolo in an attempt to contact General Hall's column.

Return to Taytay

The day was exceedingly hot, the road led up hill in a pass between steep hills on both sides and consisted of a bed of limestone rock which had been worn smooth by dragging sleds up and down it for many years. On each side of the road was a dense jungle. The sun beat down with merciless heat. In 40 minutes of traveling on this road the battalion met the advance guard of General Hall's column, a troop of the Fourth Cavalry, but at that time only 60 officers and men from the four North Dakota companies, C, D, I and K, were on their feet. The others were lying in all stages of exhaustion from the over-heat along the road between Antipolo and Taytay. The return to Taytay presented one of those pictures of comradely kindness which come in warfare but are rarely observed in civil life. Men who had been quarreling and snarling at each other in the night in the usual manner of soldiers, on coming to a comrade lying exhausted in the road or beside it, would help him by loading up with the rifle, canteen and ammunition belt of the helpless man and help him to travel down the hill to Taytay where the Second Battalion joined the regiment at 10 o'clock in the forenoon and rested until about 2 p.m.

While resting, about 25 of the exhausted men were sent back to Manila to the hospital. There were no cases of sun stroke among them, but the terrific heat had been so great that the men sent back were utterly unable to proceed with the regiment that afternoon, and very few of them were again fit for active duty on the island.

After two o'clock the line of march was again taken up along the shore of the peninsula of Morong, and just before dark the column reached the town of Angona where the insurgents were found in considerable force. Companies C, D, I and K were sent immediately into and through the town. Having driven off the natives, the four companies returned to bivouac in the town until morning, at which time the line of march was taken up again through Binangunman across the point of the peninsula and camp was made for the night in the small town of Cardona, a few miles south of Morong. There was no road this day. From Binangunman there was a track which had evidently been traveled, but it consisted of climbing up slabs of rock in a rough, gigantic and irregular step-Iike formation on one side of the hill and climbing down on the other. Transportation consisted of two-wheeled carts and carabao which were unable to proceed without the help of the men at times, sometimes the men alone pulled the carts. Just after dark while the men were in the town- which, like other Philippine towns, consisted very largely of houses built with bamboo poles thatched over by nipa-thatch-the town was fired in some way. A fire starting in buildings of this construction cannot be extinguished until the entire building is consumed. As the bamboo poles heat they explode like rifle shots, so that the burning of a few buildings sounds like an infantry battle of some intensity. The next day Morong was entered and found deserted except for one old woman who was too crippled to move. The regiment was then left at Morong until the time for return in July.

Morong and Cholera

Morong was not a pleasant place to stop. The La-guna de Bai is shallow for a long distance out from the shore. The water is exceedingly bad. At the end of three days every draft animal was dead from a sort of dysentery. The men were exhausted from their continuous service and the strenuous conditions under which they had served, all having dysentery, depleted in strength and short of food, but necessarily continuing the heavy out-post duty because it was considered that Morong was a strategic point and was the key to a considerable surrounding territory. From time to time the insurgents would appear in the distance and fire on the town. Constant patrols were made daily in order to obtain thorough knowledge of the movements of the enemy.

On June 9 Private Killian of Company H was killed while out on a scouting party. He was the third chief of scouts killed within 30 days. On June 16 Corporal James Hanson, Company H, was wounded.

While at Morong a case of Asiatic cholera developed. A Chinese boy about 20 years of age had been acting as a cook's helper for Company K. Just before dark he was playing around tossing his hat in the air, apparently a happy little Chinaman. At three o'clock in the morning he was dead. He was burned in the house in which he died. The troops were moved from that part of the town where they had been quartered, across a little river. All that part of Morong from which they had been removed was burned, covering the ground with approximately four to six inches of ashes. The cook of Company K was segregated in a house down the river near the lake. Guards were placed over him. He was quarantined, food was brought to him, no communication or contact was allowed with him and no more cholera appeared. There were no chemicals or any other means of preventing the spread of cholera; the sole safeguard was burning the town so as to cover the ground with ashes and to move the men out where the food could not be contaminated by infected dust or from infected water. The condition of the men may be judged from the report of the regimental surgeon who on June 30 at the monthly muster, found that of the 362 men present for duty, 289 should have been in the hospital.

Commanders Confer

After taking steps for stamping out cholera, a launch called at Morong and the regimental commander, Colonel Truemann, took advantage of the opportunity of- fered to personally take the report of the situation of things to the Corps Commander, General Otis. When he reported to General Otis he found General Lawton in conference with him. After presenting the report with the medical report, the following conversation took place between Generals Otis and Lawton and Colonel Truemann:

General Otis: "So you think it was cholera, Colonel?"

Colonel Truemann: "The medical authorities say so, and it has all the appearances of it."

General Otis: I suppose that has stampeded the regiment."

General Lawton to General Otis: "No, General, you can't stampede the First North Dakota."

The regiment, however, was without transportation. It was isolated by many miles from any other organization and had no means of communication except by an occasional launch which called at the place for evacuating its sick, and necessarily every man who could stand on his feet had to be on duty. On July 4 a very welcome visitor arrived by launch, Major J. D. Black of Valley City, who had been an aide to General Miles in the Civil War and was in the Porto Rico campaign with him. He was the father of Captain Nelson Miles Black, assistant surgeon to the regiment. He had come to the Philippines to visit the North Dakota boys. He was a most welcome visitor, but when he saw the physical condition in which the men were, tears ran down his face.

At midnight, July 7, the regiment was relieved by the 21st United States Infantry, turned over its property, and on the morning of the eighth was loaded on cascos and hauled down the lake and Pasig River to Manila, arriving in Manila that night. From that time on, the time was spent rebuilding the men's strength and pre- paring them to return home. Men were embarked on the United States Transport Grant and left Manila Harbor August 1, 1899. Through the kindness of General Ellwell S. Otis, Corps Commander, the regiment was permitted to return home by way of Japan, calling at Nagasaki and passing through the Inland Sea to Yokohoma.

About December 1, 1898, Miss Helen Penny, a registered nurse of North Dakota, arrived at Manila. Miss Penny was engaged by the women of North Dakota to look after the sick of the regiment. This she did to the great benefit of the men during all the time from her arrival in Manila until the end of July, 1899, when she returned with the regiment to the United States. Evert on the transport while returning, Miss Penny continued to wait on and serve these sick men with the same un- selfish spirit and devotion she displayed while in Manila. No words can fully express the gratitude of the regiment often expressed toward Miss Penny and the splendid women of North Dakota who sent her.

In August, the transport arrived at Nagasaki and anchored in the bay. The men and officers were per- mitted to go ashore and visit Nagasaki and points of interest in the vicinity. It was then, and is now, a standing rule in the First North Dakota Regiment that the men would on all occasions be granted such privileges when off duty as it was possible to allow them. It is understood that this rule will always be in force until someone is guilty of boisterous conduct or disreputable action. During the three days at Nagasaki and the four days thereafter at Yokohoma all the men had every opportunity to see points of interest in a country so interesting and so strange to them as is Japan. Not a case of boisterous conduct or discreditable incident occurred in either of these cities.

Across the Pacific

The trip across the Pacific was uneventful, except for the death of Corporal Harold Davies, and the regiment landed at San Francisco on August 30, 1899, where it was met by Senators Hansboro and McCumber, Congressman Spalding, Adjutant General Elliott S. Miller, Colonel A. P. Peake, D. C. Moore and others, together with a number of wives and children of members of the regiment.

During the long passage from Yokohoma the chief thought in the minds of the men was "Home." During the 14 months since they had left San Francisco, news of friends at home had been scarce and infrequent, never oftener than once in two weeks did mail arrive, and most of the time the men were without any word for a month or more. No word or news of home or friends, or even of world happenings, had been received since leaving Manila on August 1, and each day's progress toward home was meticulously noted by all. During the last day or two of the voyage a thick fog prevailed.

No one knew just how close to San Francisco we were, when one evening just after supper all aboard the ship were assembled on the spar deck to observe the ceremony of "Retreat" when the flag is lowered for the day. The sound of a steamship's siren came from be- fore us and everybody turned in that direction-it was the first vessel seen since leaving Japan. She had noted from our coloring and other marks that we were a government transport from Manila, hence her welcome. While eagerly looking at her, with no certain evidence of our close approach to civilization, the setting sun dropped below the fog-bank, and there in plain sight only a short distance, the shining white tower of a lighthouse stood out. A moment's dead silence, then one spontaneous cheer-we were "back home." In that shout there fell away from every man the recollection of cold and heat, hunger and thirst, long dreary wearisome marches, Dhobie itch, vermin and filth-we were "Back in God's Country." From that moment the only recollections discussed among the men are such scant pleasures as they had experienced, the funny situations they recalled, the novel and interesting customs they had observed and the friendships they had made that will never end until death comes, as alas! it has already come to so many.

And so they returned. "Every duty well done."  The regiment debarked and moved to the Presidio where it went into camp prepared to muster out and return home. The regiment was in actual service between mustering in and mustering out, 17 months.

Two of these months were on board ship between San Francisco and Manila, one year in active service in the Philippines.
Transportation Bad

The transportation facilities on the Valencia from San Francisco to Manila were atrocious. The ship was small, overcrowded and had no facilities for transporting men. She had been engaged in carrying canned salmon from Alaska to San Francisco. There was no distilling apparatus and no refrigeration facilities. The trip over was along the tenth parallel of North Latitude, during the months of June and July, with a call at Honolulu where we remained 18 hours. During the 18 hours it was expected that the ship would be supplied with fresh water for drinking purposes. Because of someone's carelessness, ignorance or crookedness, it was found after being out from Honolulu a few days that one of the tanks contained water which had been obtained in Alaska and had been in the tank so long that it was red with rust. One other tank had only been partly filled. The provisions for water were inadequate even if all facilities had been fully utilized. Because of a failure to load all the water that could be taken at Honolulu, for 20 days officers and men were out on a ration of water. Each morning there was issued one of the regulation tin cups full of water which was the total allowance for 24 hours for each man. Before reaching the northern end of the island of Luzon there was not a drop of fresh water on the ship. Consequently the ship was permitted to proceed ahead of the fleet, and after rounding the north end of the island of Luzon, the ship ran into a typhoon and the men obtained water by standing on the deck holding their cups under cite ropes, catching the drippings. More rain water was caught by spreading canvas and draining the rain into barrels. In this way sufficient water was obtained to enable the vessel to reach Manila Harbor on the last day of July, 1898. By reason of lack of refrigerating apparatus, such meat as .had been placed on the ship for rations to the men rotted. Out of a sack of potatoes, hardly a handful could be found that had not rotted. Onions and other fresh vegetables deteriorated in a like manner. During the entire service of the regiment, the health of the men was conserved to the utmost, but unavoidably by reason of the conditions prevailing, at least 99 per cent of the men were at some time sick and many of them seriously sick for extended periods. However, the total death loss from sickness or disease during the entire period of service (18 months) was eight wounded by gunshot, 12 killed by gunshot and one drowned.

Considered from any standpoint, and particularly where the conditions of service and the extent of the service rendered are considered, this presents a most marvelous example of conservation of life and health. It is believed to be without parallel in military history for a like period of any troops in the comparison of casualties by gunshot and death from disease.

Killed in action: Private John Buckley, Company C, August 16, 1898; Corporal Isadore Driscoll, Company C, April 12, 1899; Wagoner P. W. Thompkins, Company C, April 12, 1899; Private Alfred Almen, Company C, April 12, 1899; Private William G. Laml, Company C, April 12, 1899; Corporal M. C. Byron, Company D, May 24, 1899; Private James Killian, Company H, June 9, 1899; Mus. George Schmeller, Company I, April 12, 1899.

Wounded in action: Private Frank E. Berg, Company A, August 13, 1898; Corporal Fred Hamshe, Company B, April 21, 1899; Private William R. Trulock, Company C, May 10, 1899; Mus. Elijah Morgan, Company D, April 1, 1899; Sergeant William H. Locke, Company G, February 9, 1899; Lieutenant Dorman Baldwin, Jr., Company H, April 1, 1899; Private Howard E. Fell, Company H, April 22, 1899; Corporal James Hanson, Company H, June 15, 1899; Private Herbert Files, Company I, April 12, 1899; Private Emil J. Pepke, Company I, April 29, 1899; Private August W. Hensel, Company K, April 12, 1899.

Drowned: Private Rudolph Koplen, Company A, March 28, 1899.

Died of disease: Private Joseph Wurcer, Company B, September 7, 1899, dysentery; Private Frank Upham, Company C, March 1, 1899, dysentery; Private John B. Ewing, Company G, March 2, 1899, dysentery; Private F. M. Haiden, Company H, October 26, 1899, dysentery; Private John Morgan, Company K, November 21, 1898, dysentery; Private W. R. Howell, Company K, February 13, 1899, dysentery; Private Ole Lakken, Company K, November 21, 1899, typhoid.

The following members of the First North Dakota Voluntary Infantry were awarded Medals of Honor during the Spanish-American War: R. M. Long fellow, Company A; Charles P. Davis, Company G; S. A. GaIt, Company G; W. H. Downs, Company H; Frank Ross, Company H; Otto Boehler, Company I; Thomas Sletteland, Company C; F. L. Anders, Company B; Gottfried Jensen, Company C; John B. Kinne, Company B.

In addition to the above, the following named members of the regiment were recommended by General Lawton for Medals of Honor, but the published list .does not show that medals were awarded by Congress: M. Glassley, Company A; .J. W. McIntyre, Company B; J. Killian, Company H; J. F. Desmond, Company I; W. F. Thomas, Company K; F. W. Summerfield, Com- pany K; Patrick Hussey, Company K; T. M. Sweeney, Company K; Eli L. Watkins, Company C.

One function of history is to point out mistakes made, blunders committed and oversights occurring, that future generations may profit by the knowledge and thereafter avoid errors that cost men's lives, sickness and discomfort. Particularly is it important to draw from the experience of the regiment during the Spanish- American War and the Philippine Insurrection knowledge of the avoidable errors of these campaigns that in the future North Dakota's sons may profit.

There is no excuse for a country so rich and with such great resources as this to send men into a war with inferior weapons. It would be foolish to send Indians armed only with bows and arrows against an enemy armed with the Springfield .45 caliber black powder rifle as to send men armed with the Springfield .45 caliber against an enemy armed with the Mauser. Neither is there excuse for sending men into the tropics clothed in heavy blue woolen uniforms.

Facilities Inadequate

It would seem that with the great facilities in this country that the men might at least have been supplied with waist belts or other means of carrying ammunition instead of half the men being required to carry their ammunition in their trouser pockets as was the case with this regiment at the Battle of Manila.

Likewise, it would seem to be possible to furnish all the men with ponchos when sending them into a tropical country in the rainy season, instead of just half the necessary number.
Someone failed to show any exercise of judgment when only carabao provided the means of transportation. Their capacity for travel is altogether too slow for marching troops. The suffering of the men of this regiment would have been far greater than they actually experienced had it not been that early in February, 1899, a sufficient number of ponies and two-wheeled light carts were acquired (without authority, in fact in contravention, of army orders) to supply each company with a pony and cart. By loading a couple of cases of hard-tack and a case of canned corn beef and a wash boiler and a sack of coffee on each cart, the men were not personally loaded by a three-day issue of rations as was the experience of other regiments. Moreover, when an opportunity to eat occurred prior to beginning a march in the morning and on camping at night, each man could eat with a minimum of toil by one man in company gathering fuel and a couple more getting some water. While the water was heating for coffee, the cook could open a sufficient number of cans of corn beef and slice it for the men's meal without each man being compelled, as in other regiments, to make his own little fire, boil his own water in a tin cup with the subsequent mixture of bamboo ashes in his coffee, open his three-pound can of corned beef, gorge down all he could of it at that time and throw the rest away because he knew that by next meal time what was left in the can would be spoiled from the terrific heat.

Ponies and carts were plenty in the island and could have been utilized to greater advantage than carabao even though Army regulations did not prescribe the use of ponies. A too close adherence to Army regulations does not allow a normal exercise of gray matter.
Federal Discharge

One can only wonder whether it was a fear of spending United States funds or just an oversight that caused the government to discharge these men on the last of September at San Francisco, knowing they were returning to a North Dakota winter without furnishing them with winter underclothing, or whether it was the same idea or lack of resources of the country that caused the men to be sent to the tropics in the beginning of sum- mer in heavy blue woolen uniforms.

It is true that on discharge the men were given two months' extra pay, ($31.20) in the case of a private, slightly more in the case of non-commissioned officers, but $31.20 would hardly replace the civilian clothes they had discarded a year and a half before. Besides, they were all sick and would possibly need to eat for a while until they could obtain employment, and $31.20 does not last very long.

It is profoundly to be hoped that some day the War Department will adopt a plan whereby when men are mustered out of service they will be given at least as thorough an examination as on entry into the service.

On muster out at San Francisco the idea seemed to be to find the men free from defects and disease. As a protection to the government against future claims for pension, a thorough examination with hospitalization when indicated, would be profitable. Mention has been made of General Hall's difficulties crossing the Maraquina Valley in the Morong expedition with consequent failure by reason thereof of the objective of the expedition.  One further reflection on the limitation of initiative resulting from too close adherence to Army regulations and customs.
Example of Resourcefulness

To supplement that instance it is recalled that on the march from San Isidro in May to Malolos, the Rio Grande had to be crossed at Arayat. The regular regiment which was in the advance when the river was reached decided in accordance with the approved teachings of the Army to cut a road down the steep bluff, build a raft and ferry the wagons across the river. Accordingly, one company was thrown across the river to act as a covering detachment protecting the working parties. Another company was set to work to make a road down the bluff so the wagons and animals could reach the river, and another company proceeded to make a raft and string a rope across the river. So the animals, men and wagons could cross. Meanwhile, from early morning until after three p.m. the entire column in rear of the advance regiment stood around and waited. About three o'clock Major White and Captain Eddy, wandering down by the river, found a dugout made of a hollowed log. An examination of the river bank a short distance upstream disclosed that by cutting down a tree or two, knocking off the top of one or two hillocks and throwing the tops into a few deep hollows, the wagons could be gotten down to the river. This they proceeded to do. They squared the face of a couple of logs to make a runway into the river on which the wagons could be run out over the dugout canoe and let down with the axle to rest on the top of the canoe's gunwales, the wagon wheels in the water outside the dugout. To steady the narrow canoe from tipping with its top-heavy load, a long bamboo pole was thrust across and under the wagon to extend eight or 10 feet beyond each side of the canoe. A man was placed at each end of the pole and they started to wade across the river with canoe and wagon. Nowhere was the water over breast high and the wagon was successfully transported.

On observing this experiment, the chief Quartermaster present promptly commandeered the whole works. Major White and Captain Eddy found another canoe and carried on with that until all the North Dakota wagons had been transported.

Meanwhile, the road had been dug down the bluff, the raft completed, a wagon run down the road onto the raft and started across the river. Unfortunately, there was a bar part way across which came so close to the surface that the loaded raft would not float over it, so the load had to be dumped into the river and gotten ashore as best it could, and no wagon was transported thereafter on the ferry.

Again it is recalled that on the San Isidro expedition the entire column except the Second Battalion, North Dakota, was moved up at night from where it had gone into camp to the neighborhood of San Isidro and the Second Battalion left behind to bring on the Division Wagon Train.

Starting the wagon train very early the next morning, it arrived at the burnt bridge heretofore mentioned as one of the fights of Young's scouts and the place where Harrington was killed. On arrival at the bridge, the Division Engineer Officer said to the commander of the Second Battalion, "I will have to leave you to fix up the bridge so you can cross the wagons." The Battalion Commander asked for suggestions for repairs and was advised by the Engineer Officer to cut some logs, leave the down end of the bridge and block it up with the logs. As there were no logs or timber anywhere in the vicinity of which blocking could be made, the Battalion Commander said, "all right," and ordered up a couple of wagons loaded with picks and shovels.
 Directing the companies to get a meal, he examined the bridge, found that one end thereof had burned through, the fallen ends of the beans being firmly fixed In at the bank at the water level about 10 feet below the top of the bank, that the other end of the bent was in position, was not burned entirely through, with a post at each side of the bent projecting four feet above the bridge flooring. The river was too deep and the banks too high and perpendicular to get the wagons across except by the bridge. The animals could be swum across.

The Battalion Commander caused ropes to be passed under the partly burned cross beam, attached to the up- right posts, put in twisters on the ropes so the posts and ropes would hold the load and a detail with picks and shovels pulled the high bank down on the bent bedded in the river so that there was made a practicable road across the bridge over which the wagons could be pulled by hand. The total time of repairing the bridge, crossing wagons and animals did not exceed one hour, during which time the men of the battalion, working in relays, all had an opportunity to eat a meal.

Care of the Men

While in the service very little attention was paid by the government to men discharged from the hospital. In the North Dakota regiment it was the practice to put these men on a special diet for such period as necessary until they were able to assimilate the heavy, rough food of the regular issue.

The funds for the purchase of this special diet were not provided by the government but were taken from the regimental fund. This regimental fund was not brought from home but was built up from the sale of a stock of goods sent by J. P. Bray, United States Consul in Australia, on the S. S. Duke of Sutherland on a speculation of himself and Ward W. Bill. When they attempted to land the goods, the Spanish duties then in force practically prohibited the import of the goods. Mr. Bray and Mr. Bill were both former residents of Dakota Territory and North Dakota and consented to sell this stock to the regiment as it could then be landed duty free. Colonel Treumann, Major White and Major Fraine arranged for the purchase price and turned the stock over to the regiment. From the sale of the goods the regimental fund was formed, and from this fund the cost of special rations for convalescents was provided as well as the purchase of milk for men in the hospitals.

Likewise from this fund there was given to each Company Commander on leaving Manila sufficient money to purchase for his men suitable food (not included in Army rations) for their conditions. It was necessary that this regimental fund should all be spent on the men, or on discharge and muster out of the regiment it would revert to the government.

A regimental and company fund is necessary in time of war; the Regular Army organizations build up a fund from ration savings and other sources, but National Guard organizations, not having continuous service, must create their organization funds from a different source, and a new fund for each time it enters the United States service, for it is the practice of the government to discharge National Guard organizations after each war or period of Federal service, and on such discharge all funds of the organization revert to the government.

Suggested Policy

It would seem more rational to adopt a policy of continuous life for these organizations and leave their funds with them so that when again called into Federal service they would go in provided with a fund from which exigencies would be met.

The condition of the men when discharged after their 17 months of arduous service was pitiful. Practically every man was afflicted with amoebic dysentery. At that time the medical profession had no knowledge of the cause or cure for this disease. It was not until the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine established the fact that the cause was the Amoeba Histolytica about the time that these men were discharged that any other treatment was practiced other than for ordinary diarrhea or dysentery, but this treatment eventuated in no cures. Later studies evolved a distinct treatment by which the disease might be overcome. The people from home who met the ship at San Francisco were shocked at the men's appearance.

At the time of discharge at San Francisco there was manifested a glaring example of bad faith and carelessness, either on the part of the government or the War Department in discharging these men in their then condition. If they had been Regular Army sol- diers they would have received free hospitalization until a maximum degree of improvement had been attained, and in addition would have received travel pay of one day's pay and commutation of rations for one day for each 20 miles of distance from Manila to San Francisco, or about 70 cents for each 20 miles from Manila to San Francisco.

This the men never received, except such men as on expiration of their enlistment took their discharge in Manila instead of continuing to serve from April, 1899, to September, 1899.
Treaty Signed

Lest this may not be understood, it is explained that all National Guard troops were enlisted to serve until 60 days after the ratification of a treaty of peace.

The treaty was signed in August, 1898, but was not ratified until about February 6, 1899. These men were in Manila at that time, but the Philippine Insurrection also began on February 4, 1899, and there was imperative need of these men to continue in service until the government could raise, equip and transport troops to take the place of time-expired National Guard, and President McKinley cabled a request that the National Guard continue in the service until other troops could be sent to replace them. A vast majority of the Guard consented to remain (more than 95 per cent). Had they stood on their rights, the government could have kept them in Manila until about April 10 and discharged them there, and under the then law and according to the Army regulations, each man so discharged would have been entitled to one day's pay and one day's commutation of rations from Manila or at such other place as they then were, to the place of enlistment.

It is a matter of just pride that the National Guard, including the First North Dakota Regiment, consented so generally to respond to the call for added service wherein they lost more men than were killed during their entire original service for which they had enlisted, and wherein the hardships and privations were so great that the health of all was jeopardized and made worse. It can hardly be justified that a rich, great and presumably grateful country should by a quibble deny them the small amount involved, and which was so sorely needed by these men returning from the tropics to the wintry blasts of our northern prairies at the beginning of the winter. Incidentally, it was criminally careless of the War Department to return them to the cold climate at the beginning of winter in their then debilitated condition without suitable underclothing or other provisions for their welfare. The arrival of the various companies at their home stations was the occasion of a public holiday, with the population of the surrounding country all congregated to meet and welcome the men home.

The men brought home a splendid record of service. No desertions in the regiment, no jealousy or heart burn between officers and men, no complaints of any kind, just a simple pride that the regiment and each and every member had done his best and that they had finally returned.


 3 Parts of a Brief History Published in 1940


Part 1 -- Early History of the ND Militia


 Part 3 -- The ND Guard in World War I

Back to The 164th Infantry Regiment in the Second World War Home Page

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