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Roster and Record
Iowa Soldiers
Vol. 6 - Miscellaneous


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Historical Sketch

Twelfth Company U. S. Volunteer
Signal Corps

In June, 1898, Captain Frank E. Lyman, Jr., recruited a company of fifty men in Des Moines, Iowa, for service in the Volunteer Signal Corps of the United States.  The company consisted of expert telegraph operators, telegraph and telephone linemen, dynamo tenders, expert visual signalmen from an old National Guard detachment, two blacksmiths, two cooks, two photographers, and several men who had seen service as enlisted men in the Regular Army.  The compiler is indebted to Captain Lyman for the following condensed account of the service of the company:

The company left Des Moines, Iowa, June 25, 1898, under orders to proceed to Washington Barracks, Washington, D. C., and, upon its arrival there, to report to Colonel H. H. C. Dunwoody, in command of the United States Signal Corps.  Soon afterwards---by order of the War Department---it was designated as the Twelfth Company United States Volunteer Signal Corps.  After drawing uniforms and a partial field equipment, it was ordered to Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, where it was attached to the headquarters of the Third Army Corps, Major General Wade, commanding.  In August it was ordered to accompany General Wade's provisional division to Porto Rico, and entrained for Newport News, where it commenced loading on the United States Transport No. 21, but was ordered ashore again when the protocol with Spain was signed, and the war practically ended.  The company was then ordered to return to Chickamauga Park, where it stayed two weeks, encamped on top of Snodgrass Hill, in order to escape the typhoid fever epidemic.  It was then ordered to Camp Hamilton, near Lexington, Ky., where Captain Lyman reported to Brigadier General Joseph Sanger, as Signal Officer of the Third Division, First Army Corps.

The company remained at Camp Hamilton, building field telegraph and telephone lines, and performing other signal duty until November, when it was ordered to Macon, Ga., and, with the Sixteenth Signal Company, comprised the signal troops of the First Corps, for service outside the United States, Major General James H. Wilson, the great cavalry leader of the Civil War, commanding.  In December, 1898, the company sailed for Cuba with General Wilson's headquarters, landing at Matanzas January 2, 1899.  The subsequent service of the company on the Island of Cuba was of the most arduous character.  It was divided into detachments, and took charge of all the telegraph offices in the department of Matanzas, the operators taking charge of the instruments, and the linemen rebuilding the broken down lines.  On April 25, 1899, the company was mustered out of service of the United States, and its members returned to their homes by way of Havana and New York.

The record of the company is altogether a creditable one.  It served nearly one year, four months of that time on foreign soil.  Captain Lyman was a most capable and faithful officer.  The records show that he was on duty with the company every day during its term of service, and that he signed every morning report.  The subjoined roster was transcribed from the records in the office of the Adjutant General of Iowa, and shows the casualties and changes which occurred in the company.



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