South Carolina and the Spanish American War

South Caroliniana Library, South Caroliniana Library

Although the Spanish-American War was of short duration, South Carolina found itself involved through the raising of volunteer regiments and hosting of military camps. Soldiers at Camp Fornance in Columbia, S.C. saw service in Cuba and in the Philippines, and the camp became headquarters for the Third Brigade of Second Division of the Second Army Corps. Other camps located in Columbia served primarily as mustering camps: Camp Ellerbe, Camp Dewey (also known as Geiger and Fuller), Camp Fitzhugh Lee, and Camp Prospect. Summerville, S.C. also hosted Camp Marion during 1898. Fort Moultrie at Charleston, S.C. was manned by South Carolina militia. President McKinley appointed South Carolinian Major General Matthew Calbraith Butler commander of the volunteer forces.

The Philippine-American War followed closely on the heels of the Spanish-American War. As part of the Treaty of Paris (1898), Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. However, before the Senate could ratify the treaty, hostilities broke out between American and Filipino troops. The colonial government, established by the United States in 1900, helped the U.S. military win the war.

The Mexican Border Campaign was a direct result of the Mexican Revolution. The U.S. Army reinforced the border, fighting Mexican federals and rebels such as Pancho Villa. President Wilson mobilized state militia troops to assist the Army. The 2nd South Carolina Infantry mobilized at Camp Moore (a.k.a. Camp Styx) in Lexington County, S.C. in 1916 and went to El Paso, Texas. The training the soldiers received stood them in good stead for service in World War I as the 118th Infantry Regiment.

This virtual collection is made up of three photograph albums from the Joshua Fulton Ensor family, photographs from the August Kohn Collection, and other photographs pulled from the Visual Materials Division at the South Caroliniana Library. The albums contain scenes from Camp Fornance, around Columbia, the journey of the 27th United States Volunteers to the Philippines, and Ensor family travels.

The Kohn photographs capture the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, from its mustering in at Camp Ellerbe to its training at Camp G.H. Thomas, Chickamauga, Ga. The 1st SCVI served briefly at Camp Cuba Libre in Florida, then returned to Camp Ellerbe for mustering out in October 1898. August Kohn was head of the News and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) office in Columbia and served as warcorrespondent, traveling to Cuba. His Cuba photographs are included here as well.

The remaining photographs show the 2nd South Carolina Infantry in Lexington County and El Paso, some Spanish-American War soldiers, Camp Marion, and other images of South Carolina’s role in the late 19th and early 20th Century U.S. military engagements.

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