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A Brief History of the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by Patrick McSherry

Headquarters of the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 1898
The headquarters if the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in Puerto Rico
Please Visit our Home Page to learn more about the Spanish American War
Click here for a roster of the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Click here for a roster of additional men of the 4th Ohio who transferred to the U.S. Hospital Corps
Click here for a report of Capt. John Potter, Company F,  4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Click here to read more about the 4th Ohio in Puerto Rico


The 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry saw service in Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War.

Unit History:

The 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was formed at Columbus on April 25, 1898, and was mustered into service between May 9 and May 16. At muster in, the unit consisted of  fifty officers and 842 enlisted men.

Following muster in, the unit was ordered to Camp Thomas, on the former Civil War battlefield of Chickamauga, Georgia, on May 15, and arrived there the following day. As spring became summer, conditions at the crowded camp deteriorated with poor sanitation, and inadequate supplies. Disease began to take it toll. On July 22, the 4th Ohio started en route to Newport News, Virginia, arriving two days later. By July 28, the men of the 4th Ohio were aboard the U.S.S. ST PAUL steaming for the island of Puerto Rico.

The first stop of the unit in Puerto Rico was Arroyo on August 3. On August 4, orders were received to advance toward Guayama. The unit moved forward with nine companies of infantry, and one company, Company F, which was armed with five Sims-Dudley dynamite guns, at 8:30 A.M. As the unit approached the town, the Spanish outposts were found and the 4th Ohio was deployed. The Spanish were driven from the town and the chief municipal officer of the town located and the town surrendered. By 1:00 P.M., the regimental colors of the 4th Ohio were fluttering over the municipal building. Outposts were set up, the waterworks placed under guard, and a police force was established. The wounded included John Cordner of Company C, Stewart Mercer of Company E, Clarence Riffee of Company A and William Walcutt of Company D.

The unit was also involved and ready for action at Guanimani Heights when, at the moment that the American attack was to begin on August 12, news of the armistice arrived, ending hostilities.

The 4th Ohio left Puerto Rico for the United States on October 29, 1898 on board the U.S.S. CHESTER, arriving back in the United States, at New York on November 4. Arriving back in Columbus, Ohio two days later, the men of the Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry were given a sixty day furlough, and were finally mustered out on January 20, 1899. At the time of its muster out, the unit consisted of 49 officers and 1,210 enlisted men.

During its term of service the unit lost 23 enlisted men to disease, one man to a general court martial, and five men to desertion. Additionally, two men were discharged because of disability and nine men were wounded.

The following song is attributed to the members of the 4th Ohio:

"Lying in the guard house, awaiting my discharge-
To hell with all the officers, the provost and the guard-
When we get back to Circle Ville, as happy as a clam.
To tell about the sow-belly we ate for Uncle Sam.
Home, boys home, its home you ought to be!
Home, boys home, in your own country!
Where the ash and the oak and the bonnie willow tree-
Where the grass grows green in God's country"

Monument to the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in Guayama, PR

Monument to the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the plaza of Guayama, Puerto Rico.
The monument reads:

"United States of American
1898 1923
Dedicated to the
of the boys of the Fourth Ohio Vol.
Infantry who lost their lives in
the performance of their duty
in the war with Spain

Died in Puerto Rico

Died at Sea

Irvin E. Sims  Co. A Henry M. Morrison Co. H
Milton M. Morgan  "    A William W. Reed  "    K
John W. Walker  "    A Dayton Randolph  "    K
Joseph W Dent  "    C Avery L. Vertner  "    K
Samuel L. Hill  "    D

William F. Markeson  "    F
Died in U.S.

Welsey C. Winter  "    G Carl Kreuz  Co. C
James H. Couts  "    G Kurt Sparka  "    H
Guy P. Ferrin  "    G Forest C. Briggs  "    H
Daniel H. Dodge  "    H John M. Snyder  "    F
Elbert L. Patterson  "    H Patrick Ahern  "    K
William F. Ferris  "    K Charles E. Lawson  "    K
Leon H. Mitchell  "    L George H. Shuster  "    G
William C. Dunlap  "    L Lewis F. Moule  "    L
Presented by
The State of Ohio
Erected under the direction of
The Fourth Ohio Vol. Inf. Association
Unveiled Aug. 5th, 1923
'That the nations under God
Shall have a new birth of Freedom'"


Barnes,  Mark R., PhD and Julia C. Walker, Multiple Resource Nomination for the Puerto Rican Campaign of the Spanish American War (Atlanta: National Park Service, 1998)

The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War with Spain, 1898-1899. (Columbus: Edward T. Miller Co, 1916) 226.

Clerk of Joint Committee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899). Vol. 3, 142-143

Isaacson, Jack - Photos of the 4th Ohio monument in Guayama, and the song of the 4th Ohio

Statistical Exhibit of Strength of Volunteer Forces Called into Service During the War with Spain; with Losses from All Causes. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899).

Trask, David F. The War With Spain in 1898. (New York: Macmillian Publishing Company, 1981). (Song of the 4th Ohio)

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