The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 261
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Texans in the Spanish-American War
dreds of idle men in the State, with no obligation attaching to them, and
who are only too glad to fill our places." In other words, let the men who
have nothing to lose go to war, while those with a great deal to lose stayed
home, and that is what happened. The company commander, both of his
lieutenants, and a significant number of enlisted men declined to volun-
teer, so the deficiency in company strength had to be made up by re-
cruiting men with no prior military experience. And whereas the majori-
ty of the members of this company had come from the upper echelons of
Houston society, the new recruits did not. Almost three-fourths of them
had been laborers, farmers, or unskilled workers. One man seemed to
rue the fact that the recruiting was necessarily so rushed that "the de-
manding of character certificates and proof of excellency in Sunday
school work" of the new recruits was not possible. Similar difficulties pre-
vailed in attempting to enlist the LaGrange Light Guard and other
After the governor accepted the requisite number of companies, they
were assigned to the three infantry regiments and one cavalry regiment
allotted to the state. State authorities then chose Camp W. H. Mabry,
named for the state's adjutant general and located near Austin, as the
point of rendezvous for Texas's volunteers. Citizens of Houston thought
their city should have this honor and were disappointed when the volun-
teers were ordered to the state capital instead. The first volunteers to ar-
rive in camp were the Greenville Rifles and the Greenville Guard on May
2. Others arrived at various intervals, and all tried to acclimate themselves
to military life as quickly as possible.'
The supply situation was uncertain, to say the least. Military budgets in
the years before the war with Spain were tightly controlled, leaving mon-
ey only for meeting anticipated peace-time needs. In the spring of 1898,
the Quartermaster Department had on hand enough uniforms, tents,
and camp supplies to keep the regular army of some 28,ooo men sup-
plied for three months. There was even enough available to account for
an additional 1o,ooo men. But with the authorized strength of the regu-
lar army soon pushed to over 6o,ooo men, and with the call for 125,000
volunteers in late April, the supply situation was completely inadequate.
Texas recruits were requested to bring with them, if possible, one blan-
ket, two suits of underwear, six pairs of socks, an extra pair of shoes, and
two blue flannel overshirts. Since many of the guard companies were al-
so short of knapsacks or any other means by which to carry the extra
" Houston Daly Post, May 2, 1898 (Ist quotation); Bruce A. Olson, "The Houston Light Guards:
Elite Cohesion and Social Order in the New South, 1873-1940o" (Ph.D. diss , University of Hous-
ton, 1989), 269-270 (2nd quotation); Leffler, "Paradox of Patriotism," 35-36; Muster roll of
Company H, First Texas Volunteer Infantry, 1898 (Texas State Archives, Austin); W. H. Mabry,
"General Order No. 181, Apr. 29. 1898," Wozencraft, Report of the Adjutant General, 32.
"' Houston Post, May 3, 1898
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/313/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.