The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 272
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Back in Texas, more recruiting was going on. The War Department
had issued a second call for volunteers, and this time Texas's quota was
one infantry regiment. Before it could form, however, all existing units
had to recruit up to war strength. That meant increasing the number of
men in each company from the current level of 80o to 84 up to full war
strength of 106. Delegations from all Texas regiments in the field re-
turned to the state to find the requisite number of volunteers to fill their
ranks, and up to 150 other companies began forming in the hopes that
they would be among the twelve selected for the newly authorized regi-
ment. Governor Culberson chose companies from cities and counties
across the state that had not previously sent troops to the three existing
infantry regiments, and instead of having them rendezvous at Camp
Mabry he selected a camp site on the edge of Houston. On the morning
of July 2, the Smith County Rifles was the first company to arrive. This
new regiment, the Fourth Texas, was mustered into federal service at
Houston by the end of July and then stationed at San Antonio."
The McKinley administration also decided to raise ten regiments of
men for occupation duty in Cuba and Puerto Rico who were not likely to
succumb to the tropical diseases that regularly visited those islands.
These men would be Southerners, men whose previous exposure to such
things as yellow fever would have rendered them immune to further in-
fection. Although the theory did not prove to be wholly legitimate, one
of the units-the First United States Volunteer Infantry Regiment-was
the one that Lieutenant Riche had raised in Galveston in late April. The
men in this regiment, just as anxious to see combat against the Spaniards
as anyone else, got no closer to the seat of war than New Orleans. Also,
two companies of the all-black Ninth United States Volunteer Infantry
came from Houston.
Meanwhile, back at "Camp Hell," contaminated water and a disre-
gard on the part of many soldiers for the most basic of hygiene prac-
tices contributed to a growing list of sick among the six regiments sta-
tioned there. The source of potable water for the camp was supposed to
be the Everglades, but army medical personnel on the scene suspected
that it was coming from polluted surface wells instead. They tested their
suspicions by turning off the pipe that led from the Everglades only to
see the camp spigots still flowing. But when they shut off the pipes that
led from the cisterns the camp's water supply ceased. This water was
contaminated by its near proximity in the sandy soil to the latrines. Ty-
phoid and smallpox soon made their appearance, and by mid July
there were six hundred sick men in camp. By the end of the month the
toll had reached 1,o47-with 567 from the two Texas regiments-and
had excited the attention of more than one visitor to the camp. A San
" Galveston Dazly News, June 21,July 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/m1/324/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.