|Unit History Project|
In accordance with the second call for troops of the President, and the instructions received from the secretary of war, this battery was, July 15, 1898, ordered to be recruited in New York city.
Recruiting commenced July 18th, and the battery was organized at the armory of the second battery, national guard, New York city, where it was mustered into the service of the United States, July 27, 1898, and immediately proceeded to Camp Black, via Thirty-fourth street ferry and Long Island railroad. Arrived at 4 o'clock p. m., and at once reported to the commanding officer, Colonel Walter Schuyler. Three officers and one hundred and six men were present.
Having plenty of room, the battery street was made seventy-five feet wide. As soon as the tents were erected a ditch was dug around each one and the following day a main trench was dug extending back of the inner row of tents, the entire length of the camp, and at least two hundred feet out into the plain. As the camp ground was perfectly flat, by this system of drainage all surface water was taken off at once. The men's kitchen was on the prolongation of the inner row of tents and about one hundred feet distant. Shower baths were provided for the men.
Tents were rolled and wood floors washed and raised every morning. No stagnant water was allowed to remain anywhere in camp. The entire space occupied, as well as fifty feet outside of the line of tents, was sprinkled every morning with a mixture of carbolic acid and water, care being taken to sprinkle under the tent floors when they were raised.
Strict orders were given not to allow the men to drink any water, but from the stand pipe. All the water used was thoroughly boiled. This was done during the night, the kettles being covered. All provisions were kept carefully covered. The result of all this was that though the main camp was so swept by disease, as to require investigation, the camp of the fourth battery was declared by the health officer of the port, Dr. Alvah H. Doty, to be a "model of health." There was no serious case of sickness in camp. The food received was in the main of excellent quality and ample. Care was taken to enlist good cooks and butchers. As a result there were no complaints about the quantity or quality of the food served to the men.
Having discovered that troops arriving at Camp Black were frequently left without their mess kits for a number of days, these were purchased for the entire battery before leaving New York. The wisdom of this was readily seen. The fourth battery was the first to receive their uniforms. They were generally very ill-fitting, so that three army tailors were engaged to refit the entire command. The result was a marked contrast in appearance to most of the other troops, which was commented upon by the officers during one of the reviews.
Physical drill was held every morning immediately after reveille. The system of instruction consisted first in having the non-commissioned officers drill small squads under the supervision of chiefs of platoon. Second, in having each chief of section drill his section under the supervision of their chiefs of platoon. Third, chiefs of platoon drilling their platoons under the supervision of the captain of the battery. Fourth, battery drill under instruction of captain. After the battery was thoroughly drilled, the men were hardened by frequent marches in the cadenced step; the formation being column of sections and platoons.
The first marches commenced with about four miles; then ten and fifteen, and finally to twenty-eight miles a day. One of the longest marches was to Massapequa, L. I., for the purpose of giving the men a swim in salt water. Another march for the same purpose was made to Sea Cliff, L. I., where the entire battery was given luncheon and free passes to the bathing pavilion by the citizens of the place. The officers were dined at the beautiful country seat of Commodore Sheridan.
Twelve horses were received and placed on a picket line, established about one hundred yards back of the officers' quarters. These horses were sent a week later to Montauk Point. Absolutely nothing was issued for the care of these horses, except hay and oats.
On September 14th, the last infantry regiment left the camp, leaving the captain of the fourth battery as commanding officer.
Pursuant to special orders, No. 60, headquarters, dated Camp Black, N. Y., September 12th, the command left Camp Black on a special train at 1 p. m., September l5th, via Long Island. City. Arrived in New York at 3.25 p. m., and marched to second battery armory. Thirty-third street and Park avenue, arriving at 4.25 p. m. The command on September 20th was furloughed for thirty days, and mustered out, October 21, 1898.
The command had a number of men from the second battery, third battery and seventh regiment, N. G. N. Y.; Essex troop, N. G., N. J.; battery K, United States army; third, sixth and seventh United States cavalry, and several from the English and one from the Swedish army.
Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York for the Year of 1899. Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1900.
New York and the War with Spain: History of the Empire State Regiments. Albany: Argus Company Printers, 1903.
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