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A Brief History of the 8th U.S. Cavalry

By Patrick McSherry; Information contributed by Eugene Beals 
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The 8th U.S. Cavalry served in the occupation forces in Cuba.

Unit History:

The outbreak of the Spanish American War, found the 8th U.S. Cavalry serving in various areas of Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming. It was typical of cavalry regiments serving in the west to have its individual companies, known as “troops” serving in different locations and operating independently. The headquarters of the regiment was located at  Fort Meade, South Dakota.

More specifically -

Troop A - Served at Fort Keogh, Montana, being transferred to Fort Meade, South Dakota, leaving the former on November 6, 1897.

Troop B - Served at Fort Meade, South Dakota, being transferred to Fort Washakie, Wyoming on May 12, 1898

Troop C – Served at Fort Yates, North Dakota

Troop F – Served at Fort Meade, South Dakota, being transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma on April 24, 1898

Troop G - Served at Fort Meade, South Dakota, being transferred to Fort Niobrara, Nebraska on June 7, 1898

Troop I – Served at Fort Meade, South Dakota, being transferred to Camp Merritt, Montana (a sub post of Fort Keogh) on May 13, 1898.

Troop K - Served at Fort Meade, South Dakota, being transferred to Fort Washakie, Wyoming on May 12, 1898. From here, the Troop was transferred to Fort Keogh on July 7, 1898. The Troop was commanded by Capt. Charles O’Connor.

Troops D, E, and H are unacconted for and are assumed to have remained at Fort Meade with the Headquarters

On October 6, 1898, the regiment headquarters  left Fort Meade, South Dakota, presumably after reconcentrating the regiment, and departed  by rail to a camp near Huntsville, Alabama, where it prepared to serve in Cuba as part of the occupation forces.

The regiment was eventually transferred from Huntsville to Savannah, Georgia where the  headquarters and six of the regiment’s troops were loaded on board a transport and sent to Nuevita, Cuba. The troops involved departed Savannah on November 13, 1898, reaching  their destination six days later. The regiment marched to where they were placed in barracks. However, the use of the barracks was short-lived as yellow fever broke out and the men were moved out of the barracks and into a camp. The Spanish American War ended on December 10, 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

The 8th U.S. Cavalry remained in Cuba for nearly three years. The headquarters of the regiment continued to be stationed at Puerto Principe. During the regiment’s service, the unit’s commander and his staff were charged with the administration of civil affairs in the province of Puerto Principe.


Clerk of Joint Comittee 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, 187, 189.

Eighth U.S. Cavalry Veteran's Association members booklet 1946. (Private Collection).

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