California Naval History
The California Naval Militia in the War with Spain
by
Colonel Norman S. Marshall, California Center for Military History
 
The high point of the militia movement was achieved in the war with Spain. That conflict lasted only four months, but militiamen from the several states swelled the navy from 12,000 sailors to 16,000 men, a 33% increase.

President McKinley had called for 125,000 volunteers at the onset of the war. At that time, the army had only 28,000 men and it was the volunteers who really fought most of the Philippine and a good deal of the Cuban campaigns.

In California, a total of 5,771 men were called to the colors of the National Guard and Naval Militia.

California formed four regiments of infantry (the first, sixth, seventh and eighth), one battalion of heavy artillery, a detachment of Naval Militia, a Signal Corps, and a Sanitary Corps.

The Naval Militia was organized into two battalions, one in Northern California and one in Southern California. Both were commanded by Captain Louis H. Turner.

California's soldiers were sent to the Philippines, leaving on May 25, 1898. In two years, the United States had 60,000 troops on the ground which represented most of its army and they were engaged in a bloody campaign ultimately sustaining 4,000 casualties and killing 40,000 Filipinos.

The First California Volunteer Infantry and its first battalion of U.S. Volunteer Heavy Artillery had eight soldiers killed in action, two died of wounds and four were wounded in combat.

The Naval Militia had 13 officers and 82 enlisted men mustered into the auxiliary navy of the United States according to the Adjutant General's Report. They principally served as crews aboard the converted tugs IROQUOIS, VIGILANT and ACTIVE patrolling along the California coast awaiting the arrival of the Spanish fleet (See article captioned "San Diego's Militia Navy" discussing the defenses created at San Diego). Those mustered constituted about 22% of the Naval Militia's strength.

The tugs were secured from available sources immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities.

The USS IROQUOIS was a good sized ocean going craft built in 1892 by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco and purchased from J. D. Speckles Bros. & Co. in April of 1898 upon Declaration of War. She displaced 701 tons, was 152 feet long and had a beam of 26 feet. She was capable of 13 knots. When commissioned on July 6, 1898, she carried four three-inch guns and one gatling gun. Her skipper was Louis H. Turner of the militia.

USS VIGILANT was originally named GEORGE W. PRIDE and was an iron hulled screw tug laid down in Philadelphia in 1883. She too was acquired by purchase from J.D. Speckles Bros. & Co. of San Francisco. She displaced 300 tons, was 116 feet in length and had a beam of 21 feet. She was commissioned on April 6, 1898 and mounted two one-pounder guns and one machine gun. Her top speed was 12 knots. We do not know the name of her skipper but it may have been another militiaman.

The third tug was USS ACTIVE, built in 1888 by Union Iron Workers of San Francisco and purchased on April 18, 1898. She displaced 296 tons, was 107 feet in length, had a beam of 22 feet 6 inches. She had a rated top speed of 12 knots and mounted two three-inch guns. Her first skipper was the Militia's Lieutenant T. M. Shaw, the Navigating Officer for the state. While in federal service, he held the rank of Ensign. She was commissioned on July 6, 1898. After the war, she served as a yard tug for the Mare Island Naval Station and was one of the naval vessels which helped fight the San Francisco fire of 1906; first ferrying Marines to the city (who then assisted firemen) and then hosing down the Ferry Building and then acting as a tanker, racing back and forth to Goat Island for water for the fire engine boilers.

San Francisco was the entrepot for the homecoming soldiers in 1900 and 12,346 United States volunteers were mustered out in that city as they returned to their homes in Oregon, Nebraska, Utah, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Kansas, Washington, Iowa, Nevada and Tennessee.

On the return of California's soldiers from the Philippines, the Adjutant General reported on the welcome extended to them, "As the transport come in through the Golden Gate, his excellency the Governor was first to go on board and greet our returning volunteers, remaining with them until the ship reached her anchorage. The next day, when they landed at government dock his patriotic words of welcome and commendation, in the name of California, found response in every heart. The greatest ovation ever seen in the West was given to the California troops when they arrived in San Francisco, and the enthusiasm with which they were received all along the line of march, when the place of landing to the Presidio, has now become a part of history of the National Guard of California. It was estimated that more than 100,000 people poured into the city from all parts of the state to do honor to our citizen soldiers home from foreign service."

The city raised, by private subscription, the munificent sum of $60,000 for the purposes of assisting in the reception and entertainment of the California volunteers upon their return to their home state."

They were mustered out of federal service on September 12, 1899 after more than sixteen months of service. The state legislature passed a law giving to the members of the National Guard who were mustered into the service of the United States and subsequently discharged the privilege of reporting back to duty in the National Guard with full credit for continuous service from the time they were mustered into the United States service until they reported back for duty in the Guard.

The flurry of "glamour" in a "Splendid Little War" participated in mainly by state volunteers caused a surge and renewal of interest in the National Guard following the 1898 conflict. Membership in the Naval Militia (which was part of the Guard) increased from 425 to 523 (23%) by 1899.

As a result, many of the National Guardsmen called to duty during the earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco had had comparably recent experience in military organizations both in the Spanish War and the Philippine Campaign thereafter. There were reports that some former soldiers even donned their old uniforms to participate as volunteers in saving the city.

Naval Militia of California during the Spanish-American War
By
Warrant Officer 1 George Albert, and Staff Sergeant Mark J. Denger, California Center for Military History
 
At the time of the Spanish-American War, California's Naval Militia was organized into two battalions, one in Northern California and one in Southern California. Both were commanded by Captain Louis H. Turner.

Under the Federal government's first call California's Naval Militia mustered 13 officers and 82 enlisted men according to the Adjutant General's Report. They principally served as crews aboard the IROQUOIS, VIGILANT and ACTIVE patrolling along the California coast awaiting the arrival of the Spanish fleet (See article captioned "San Diego's Militia Navy" discussing the defenses created at San Diego). Those mustered constituted about 22% of the Naval Militia's strength.

The following is a list of officers and enlisted men of the Naval Militia of California who were granted leave of absence or furlough for one year during the Spanish-American War for the purpose of entering the service of the U.S. Navy; U.S. Auxiliary Naval Force, U.S. Volunteers or U.S. Army.
 
Officers
 
Louis H. Turner, Captain, NMC, Commanding the Naval Militia of California
Appointed a Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, June 22, 1898; serving on the USS ACTIVE until August 23, 1898, when ordered detached and to proceed home. (He was detached from ACTIVE on August 27, 1898.) Honorably discharged on September 8, 1898.
 
Thomas M. Shaw, Lieutenant, NMC, Navigating Officer
Appointed an Ensign, U.S. Navy, June 22, 1898; serving on USS ACTIVE until discharged on September 8, 1898. Honorably discharged on September 19, 1898.
 
William F. Burke, Lieutenant, NMC, Ordinance Officer
Enlisted and rated a Mate, U.S. Navy, on June 22, 1898; serving on USS INDEPENDENCE and USS IROQUOIS until August 27, 1898. Honorably discharged on September 9, 1898.
 
William George Morrison, Ensign, NMC, Ist Division
Enlisted and rated a Mate, U.S. Navy, from June 22, 1898; served on USS INDEPENDENCE and USS IROQUOIS until August27,1898. Honorably discharged on September 8, 1898.
 
William E. Gunn, Lieutenant, NMC, Second Division
Appointed Lieutenant, June 22, 1898; Assistant to Chief, U.S. Auxiliary Naval Force and placed in charge of Ninth District (Pacific Coast of U.S.), with headquarters at San Francisco. Honorably discharged on November 4, 1898.
 
Albert H. Elliott, Lieutenant (junior grade), NMC, Second Division
Enlisted and rated a Mate, U.S. Navy, on June 22, 1898; serving on USS INDEPENDENCE and USS IROQUOIS until August 27, 1898. Honorably discharged on September 9, 1898.
 
Addison E. Morgan, Lieutenant (junior grade), NMC, Third Division
 
Jesse M. Squier, Lieutenant (junior grade), NMC, Sixth Division
Enlisted and rated a Mate on June 22, 1898; served in U.S. Aux. Naval Force Honorably discharged on September 13, 1898.
 
George E. Kammerer, Ensign, NMC, Second Division
Enlisted and rated a Mate on June 22, 1898; served in U.S. Aux. Naval Force. Honorably discharged on September 8, 1898.
 
Joseph J. Delaney, Ensign, NMC, Sixth Division
Enlisted U.S. Navy and rated a Mate from June 22, 1898; served on USS ACTIVE until August 25, 1898; on September 9, 1898, was ordered by Commandant, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California, to duty on USS PENSACOLA (Reporting September 19, 1898). Honorably discharged on February 15, 1899.
 
Harry P. Gray, Lieutenant, NMC, Engineer Division
Appointed and passed Assistant Engineer, U.S. Navy, on June 27, 1898; assigned to USS IROQUOIS, and on August 23, 1898, ordered detached and to proceed home. Honorably discharged, September 8, 1898.
 
Alfred E. Williams, Lieutenant (junior grade), NMC, Engineer Division,
Appointed Assistant Engineer, U.S. Navy, on June 27, 1898; served on USS ACTIVE; on August 25, 1898, ordered to Bremerton, Washington, on USS ACTIVE, then to report on USS INDEPENDENCE; Honorably discharged, November 26, 1898.
 
Enlisted Men
 
Headquarters Staff
Henry A. Harris, Petty Staff, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
John K. Burke, Petty Staff, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Daniel M. McMillian, Petty Staff, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
 
First Division
William Corliss, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
John F. McGowan, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Henry H. T. Samuels, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Alfred H. Pollack, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
William Holredge, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
R. H. Barry, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
J. A. Healey, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Geo. W. Green, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Oscar F. Smith, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Patrick Flynn, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
John F. McGowan, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. H. Stone, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Chas. L. Bender, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Emanuel Rolf, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. F. Varcoe, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
John. M. Meyer, 2d Cl., P.O., NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Wm. M. Currie, 2d Cl., P.O., NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Geo. A. Kearnay, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Chas. Walker, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
A. Ludeman, 3d Cl., P.O., NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
W. H. Kearney, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
C. Rehn, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
T. Burrows, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
M. Stynamel, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
T. Siminoff, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
A. Schunshoff, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
E. Linehan, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
W. J. Ford, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
C. Christenson, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
A. Needles, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
H. Morehead, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
 
Second Division
W. Schroeder, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
W. A. Johnson, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Hans Hansen, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
J. J. Foley, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
F. Wedekind, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
Frank H. Blythe, Coxswain, NMC, 2d Division, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
A. D. Stevens, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Thos. J. Gallagher, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Wm. L. Wentworth, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Wm. G. Harloe, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Stewart S. Harvey, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
A. S. Phelps, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
E. A. Kirkpatrick, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Russel F. Reed, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Henry Schroader, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Robt. Huntington, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Earnest Johnson, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Antone Johnson, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Jos. Brophy, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Alfred T. McCabe, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
James R. Plevine, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Jas. M. Flack, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
R. C. Corrigan, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Chas. R. Alberger, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Fred. R. Sutton, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Chas. Johnson, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Guy Barry, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
B. J. O'Hern, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. F. Buckley, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Walter W. Toles, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Geo. H. Brown, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Lewis C. Vannier, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
W. Alexander, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
H. F. Bouris, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
A. McKee, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
E. Menson, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
 
Third Division
Thos. W. Stack, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Harry C. Beek, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
F. B. Hargis, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Adolph Groux, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. M. Smith, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Leo. M. Lasner, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Herbert C. Wheeler, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Sam. M. Lings, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
C. B. Greer, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
H. Braunagle, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Frank Poole, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Andrew W. Watson, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Jesse J. Lee, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Chas. R. Clark, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
James T. Gillen, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
James H. Howard, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. M. Belz, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Geo. F. Wiggins, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
H. S. West, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Allan McDonald, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
James M. Bull, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
 
Fourth Division
S. B. Dakin, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
R. M. Cornish, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
P. Springer, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
R. W. Springer, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
L. S. Pringle, B.M., 2d Cl., NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
A. Rennie, Coxswain, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Fred Beecher, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Willis F. Beat, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Joseph Campbell, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Lee A. Cato, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Chas. E. DeLong, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Frank I. Fisher, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Melbum J. Ferguson, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Frank K. Hanna, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
Fred A. Kane, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Henry Kroeger, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Albert W. Wheelock, Seaman, NMC, enlisted U.S. Volunteers
Chas. B. Weldon, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
L. Almgren, B.M., 2d Cl., NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
E. Cotter, Seaman, NMC, shipped U.S. Navy
 
Fifth Division
W. E. Torrey, 2d Cl., P.O., NMC, enlisted U.S. Army
 
Sixth Division
H. C. Booth, 1st Cl., P.O., NMC, entered U.S. Volunteers, Co. H., 7th Inf.,
Cal R. A. Russell, Seaman, NMC, enter U.S. service
 
Engineer Division
Thos. B. Robertson, Seaman, NMC, 3d Division, Eng. Div., entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Albert Poole, Seaman, NMC, 3d Division, Eng. Div., entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
H. R. S. Teague, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
T. M. Howard, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. V. Egan, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
C. C. McMillan, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Wm. J. Foley, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
0. P. Walden, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
W. L. Hamilton, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
C. P. Hensley, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
H. Archer, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Fred. C. Getliffe, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Hans T. Holton, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Edward J. Uhl, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Chas. Johnson, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
C. Bankey, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
F. L. Raccuillat, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
Aylmer Haley, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
A. Landon, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
M. T. Clauss, Seaman, NMC, entered U.S. Aux. Naval Force
 
The flurry of "glamour" in this "Splendid Little War" participated in mainly by state volunteers caused a surge and renewal of interest in the Naval Militia following the 1898 conflict.
 
 
 
Search our Site!
Google
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
 
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
 
Updated 8 February 2016