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Spanish American War soldier who died in the service of his country

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Posted 6 years ago

(854 items)

This grouping is testament to the personal family impact of war.

Private Ernest Bowker was 25 years old when he enlisted in the 1st Wyoming Infantry. He trained at Camp Richards in Cheyenne, where he had this photograph taken. On the train to San Francisco, Bowker became ill with diptheria. Later after a short recovery, Bowker was stricken with typhoid. PVT Bowker died on the Steamship Ohio on 24 JUL 1898, while enroute to the Philippines and was buried at sea.

PVT Bowker's father had the "Death of Ernest Bowker" printed for a memorial service in his hometown. The memorial includes a copy of the letter written by Bowker's Commander to his father. The letter mentions the photograph of Bowker: "I also enclose here with a small flag which I find in his clothes and mail you under separate cover a small package which he had prepared for mailing, presumably a picture."

Sadly these non-combat deaths were a regular event. As in the Civil War, disease was far more deadly than enemy bullets. According to records, just under 3,000 soldiers and sailors died of disease during the War, while 332 were killed in combat (doesn't include 260 Maine deaths).

Thanks for looking.



  1. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks manikin, majestic and musik.

  2. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks again trunkman!

  3. Signaholic Signaholic, 6 years ago
    Quite a great Spanish/American war personal moment out of one who almost served.
  4. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking and commenting sign.

    While he didn't make it to the theater of operations, I would still say he fully served. Many of the state regiments never even made it to a boat (mustered out state side) since the actual fight was so short!

  5. Bootson Bootson, 6 years ago
    I like to think he "served" when he put on the uniform and unfortunately died in the service of his country.

    An interesting look at an often overlooked part of history.

    My maternal Grandfather was in the Army in WWI but was "laid low" by the flue epidemic so did not see combat.
  6. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    In todays Army, being in combat is a discriminator and usually readily apparent since we wear "combat patches"; however, all soldiers experience the same trying times (family separation, missed birthdays and holidays, lack of privacy and comforts, etc...) whether their service is in Iraq, Afghanistan, Alaska or Korea.

    The same was true during the Spanish American War.

  7. Militarist Militarist, 6 years ago
    Looks like he is holding an old trapdoor Springfield rifle which makes me think this photo is national Guard pre Span-Am war, or did the US still send out troops in 1898 with these old rifles instead of the Krags?
  8. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Yes militarist-- some state troops trained and deployed with trapdoors. It is common to see SAW troop images with the trapdoors.

  9. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Militarist-- I just remembered this posting from a while ago and a similar discussion on the trapdoors. The image shows a KS trooper in theater during the Philippine Insurrection with a trapdoor.:


  10. Militarist Militarist, 6 years ago
    Thanks Scott, being a medal collector I over looked that. Checking my old photos I find that they all show the trap doors. I also posted one of the photos which you should enjoy.
  11. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    I just posted to your image-- I love it!

  12. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks kerry and bones.

  13. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking chevy.

  14. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking bellin.


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