Diary of Clarence C. Childs
Sixteenth Ohio National Guard
Spanish American War
May 9 - May 23, 1899
May 9, ‘99
No practice, I got the full chill and fever making an interval of about 7 or 8 days my last fever. It was then on Daufuskie Isl. In the eveing Elder, Boyd, Zeigler, Buchlew and myself went over to the barracks after some water. I was about dead for a drink. I took over my canteen. After walking half around the place we were not allowed in as some fellows had stolen shot from the place in plain view of the commandants wife. The pump was broken anyway. The guard showed us around the guard house and explained many things about the regular army ordnance life. They handled over 40,000 arms there during the war. When I got back to camp I was about dead. The off duty men were citizens clothes.
May 10, Wed., "99
I didn’t play at reveille as I did not feel just right. We had a splendid practice in the A.M. After dinner the band marched over to the Doctors office near the 3rd Neb. and were examined. First my heart was tested by one man. My chest was not tested except that I inhaled and I was said to be all O.K. Other matters seemed to be slighted. Look for similar marks. I left my belt at the house but returned later and found it. An orderly said he swept many similar ones away. The band played at Lake View in the eveing and there was a large crowd out. We played well. We had sandwiches for lunch. Some few took off beer. Cotton Blossoms was the opening piece and took fairly well. I went to the city in the afternoon and the other fellows rode around the city in the special car before they went to the park. On the way home all kinds of pieces were played and one fellow started on "Marching through Georgia." He was soon stopped.
May 11, Thurs., "99
In the A.M. most of us slept. Some of us turned in our knapsacks canteens and haversacks. My overcoat straps were missing. I slept a good part of the day. I was very sick in the A.M. from eating something no good I guess. In the eveing we went to the Business Men’s Club of Augusta. I was surprised to see Pres. McKinley’s picture at the head of the stairs. We played No 6 on the front balcony, then retired to the banquet hall where we had artichokes and other nice things. The club was surprised to see so many lemonade men. It finally gave out but ice water was duplicated. After the supper we had a little fun on the bar. I found I was a little weak but made a few of the old turns. We then played good concert in the middle dome balcony. Many times we stopped for refreshments. Each selection was applauded, even old "Tiefen Kellar". After the concert we had some more banquet and exercise, also a cake walk by a young pair of Chocolates. It was simply fine, and we played Georgia camp meeting simply for them. After this Lewis our cook got a little overloaded and caused us a little embarrassment. About 11:30 we took our special home. The 3rd Neb. left for home this afternoon. Many stayed over awhile.
The 2nd Engineers come next. We are certainly whileing away our time.
May 12, Friday, ‘99
At reveille we had a poor band and didn’t even go to the end of the street, No practice. Most all tried to sleep. I didn’t feel first rate in the stomach. We had burned rice for breakfast. At noon our band was called out to get ready to give our sword to the Colonel.
Our first pieces were purposely all out of tune. The companies were lined up so:
The Colonel was carried into the ring and put down on his feet and then a Sergt from Co. H. gave an address to the Col afterwards presented him with the beautiful sword which contains 17 diamonds and is a presentation of the enlisted men of the regiment. The Col. acted like a 3 year old and then made a speech that brought tears to many eyes. The Sergt’s address was also well done. When brought forth our band was playing Cuba Libre – and the Col. made a horrible kick about that. The fellows made pretensive riot against the band after the first bad playing. The sword was shown around to the different Co’s. in their streets. It cost $300. After drinking several sodas and getting a hair cut I proceeded to the car line to wait for the band to change for Lake View. I met them at about 8:25 When we got to the Lake Side Boat Club there was a large crowd there and we soon started up with a piece. Boats were strung up along the beach gaily decorated with lanterns and the like. Shortly afterwards a steam launch pulled up and took in tow the numerous small boats which contained people of the club. After a little cake and cream the band played for some merry dancers. When we played dixie they yelled and howled. The people appreciated our music very much. On the way back to camp the band was scattered in 3 cars. There we heard some song very fine singing. I visited the Y.M.C.A. during the afternoon.
The fellows say I missed a good supper. I made a purchase of a diary in the city. From the way things look our band goes home broken up, also it is likely that Toledo wont see the twelve companies.
May 13, Sat., ‘99
In the evening I went to the city and got my Cuban hat and then put on my Cuban suit and made a call on a young lady friend. The people rather guyed me on the hat while the prettiest girl in the city walked past 4 or 5 times and smiled sweetly. Brailey left for quarters unknown. The band didn’t miss him during the day. He took his Camera and satchel.
May 14, Sun., ‘99
In the A.M. we played for church and I attended a good sermon by the chaplain. In the afternoon Zarly Heider and I were wanted at Lake View to play with the 6th Ga. Band. Zarly belongs to the Union so he wanted money. I agreed to stick by him so we didn’t play although we went out there for that purpose. We came back and the band boys felt mad about it. In the evening spent a nice talk with the 4th Mess.
May 15, Mon., ‘99
Left for the city at 10 A.M. Brailey came back from his unknown tour. We played a midday concert on stand No. 1- also played Cotton Blossoms into a phonograph. We ate a sumptuous meal at the inn restaurant after which Bert Groch and I had a little strawberry ice cream. The sodo fountains here are peculiarly run. Herald man saw us and said he had some music for the leader of our band to work us on. I think the scheme is to have us play it at sight. Bert and I are here at the Arlington writing and playing the piano. In the afternoon we played on a stand for several specialty acts. [In] the eveing we played for the Japs at the main stand. There were also fireworks displayed at this stand.
May 16, Tues., ‘99
We left for the city at about 10 A.M. taking 25 minutes for the ride. We played concert on the balcony of the Elks hall. At 12 oclock we adjourned for the Inn Restaurant. In the afternoon we practiced some pieces with some children who are to give an exhibition this or tomorrow eve. After supper we were put up on the main stand to play for the Japs and the others. The Japs did very good work. The grandstands opposite were well filled with people. The fireworks for the eveing were the special features and they were simply grand. Our band has been allowed free admission to all of the streets museums. One woman I saw had 20 toes and 20 fingers also 4 feet and 4 hands. Along about 3 oclock we left for a side street to meet the regiment which came in on street cars. Before they arrived we had our picture taken also were treated to ice-water by the people in the near-by residences. A troop of Cavalry went by us as we were forming. We started up with a lively march – and when we got to Broad street we played Caesars Triumphal. The bugles came out very well and we got rounds of applaud. After the street parade a dress parade was given. The men of course stood at attention on the sound off, making it very trying for them. We were reviewed by Gen.Young. The boys did grand all around and much credit was given us.
May 17, Wed., ‘99
The fellows are beginning to count the days, and it will soon be on one hand at that. We awoke very late in the A.M. and ate a breakfast of pork. Left for town at the usual time and played a concert at the Commercial club after which some of the boys were given refreshments. I didn’t take any but went to the restaurant and got a good dinner. I feel the fever breaking out on me again – and I have a languid feeling. After dinner we retired to provost head quarters where I took a sleep on Rhoades cot. At 2.30 Phil gave us each $2.00 in part payment. After that I went to the Arlington and wrote a letter home also wrote in my diary. The 6th Ga. Band plays simply horribly. At 5 oclock were marched to the wagon that was to haul us at the head of the floral parade. It was a four horse team and the wagon was to be trimmed but it was not, however, and consequently we were an odd sight at the head of the parade. Braily wanted us to hang our feet over the side to make room, but Phil objected.
The parade started rather late and we got through a little bit late. There were some beautiful displays. Those mounted were very well dressed. The Queen rode in a finely decorated carriage with four maids of honour. The horses hitched to the wagon were white and were also finely decorated. The parade formed on Green Street. We were laughed at all along the line on account of our rig, It was marked, "No. 6" with something else I forgot what. We received cheers from the Elks and Commercial Club and from other people along the line. One outfit was made up as a sleigh and was very nice. Some children riding in a flower shoe received a prize. In the eve played for specialtes. The queen was seated on the stage with us.
May 18, Thurs., ‘99
We left for the city as usual; after signing our muster out role. Each man was compelled to sign about 6 papers. Some of the fellows wanted to dress up in masks during the afternoon but it was knocked out by some of the more conservative. After reaching the city a little late we played concert in the hot sun near Kelly and Fields. We had the entire afternoon to ourselves so as I was feeling tired I did thereby partake of a short rest on Edgar Rhoades cot at the armory. I read a Fremont paper there telling of Co. K’s reception on arriving home on the 26th instant. At 5 P.M. we were to line up for the bicycle parade but it commenced rain so we lingered at Kelly and Fields store till the rain abated when we left for Green St. in the 4 horse wagonette No. 6. Before we left a runaway was narrowly averted but the driver was coolheaded. In the parade were several tramp out-fits with livestock etc. on also some finely decorated wheels ridden by both boys and girls. A guard headed the procession, After supper at the Inn we went to the main stand where there were beautiful fireworks. The masqueraders came on the stage and walked the cake a little then the Japs and other specialties were there too.
Some drunken men wanted to dance and Munch of Co. K chased them off and they became excited and wanted to fight Lieut Douglass took out his sword and trouble was narrowly averted. After drinking a soda – at the Arlington Annex on the house I took a car for home and went to sleep as soon as possible.
May 19, Fri., ‘99
I awoke feeling a little sore – as I had been drinking much ice water yesterday and I lay in the cook shack on Lewis cot and hollered intermittently for about 1 hour. When the band left I was told to come to the city if possible as this was our last day. I left shortly after the band. As I got on the car the Reg’ta’l, mailman gave me our mail I received a paper and read the preparation for the Sixth’s K. at Fremont.
I met the band going down Broad Street and their lines were fine, too. I joined them as they were about to mount a stand near the street car turn off for Monte Sano or our Camp. We played a nice concert there; playing Chicago Tribune and Cotton Blossoms. We were heartily appreciated. For dinner we went to the Planters hotel where our meals were in waiting. We had a nice dinner, but I couldn’t eat much on account of not feeling extra well since I drank the ice water. At 3 oclock we met a Kelly and Fields’ to go to the Arlington and play a short concert after which we loaded into a wagon and proceeded for Green Street where we headed the Firemen’s parade. We made the usual countermatch on Broad Street. We received the usual applause at the Commercial Club. After the parade we took supper at the Inn restaurant. After supper Groch and I went to the Arlington and bought a few articles. By so doing we were a little late for the concert. We arrived at the large elevated stage just about in time for the first piece however after playing a fair concert of big pieces we left the stand in favor of the 6th Ga band who played their old pieces over again for the troupes. The different troupes did their best work and were heartily applauded. After the stage performance the Japs gave a sliding trick on a slanting wire. It was very good. After that the fellow who has been doing the high wire walking at the Arlington gave an exhibition on the springing rope, but was stopped because of some one trying to break in the lines. Coming out on the car in the eve Grotz and I were eyewitnesses of some rough work done by some 9th Ill. soldiers. Some one has said it will be hard to get two bands together again such as the 6th Ohio and 6th Ga. Oh‘ Yes’ In the afternoon we took in the passion play.
May 20, Sat., ‘99
In the morning we awoke a little later than usual. There wasn’t such an appetite for dinner but more for the ice cold water. In the afternoon we used to sleep but we can’t do it now as there are none sleeping now, but are all on the hustle. In the eveing we were to give a concert, but some of the fellows were absent and some were sick. We were paid off to balance account today. 3 Co’s of the first bat. turned in their guns today.
May 21, Sun., ‘99
Awoke at the usual for eggs and tea. I went to church in Co K’s cook shack where the Chaplain gave a good sermon. Sergt Procter was painting a sign at the time, and caused at little excitement by not wanting to leave. Major Barker was in attendance. After the service I visited the camp of the 2nd Engineers, and took in their row of cook shacks’ Some of our fellows were over there painting signs for the cars. I sighted a nice box such as would accommodate Zeigler and my blankets. Immediately reported to Zeigler who helped me bring it over. I also got several papers that were laying scattered in one of the kitchens. I went to Co. K. to see about our berths home and Reinick said that we were sure of them. The Col is the one it is said, that wanted us to keep our instruments so as to play concerts last night and tonight. For dinner today we had cucumbers onions beef stake potatoes pea, tea or coffee fresh bread and and water to wash our dishes in. Oh’yes the towels look as though they had just come out of a round house. It is said the instruments are to be auctioned off here on the 26th Grotz is now outside scheming with a fellow to buy a horn for him. Munnel and Lewie, the cook had a argument and there came near being some trouble as Lewie said he had a knife he wanted to penetrate some one with. In the eve I spent awhile with Mr. Zarley talking about game hunting, fishing etc. He had some queer experiences in Switzerland.
May 22, Mon., ‘99
In the A.M. Zeigler and I left for the city to have our suits pressed. We went in most every clothing store so as to match his coat. We saw the head men of the Merry Makers with a subscription list for our banquet. We took a ride out to Summerville and walked through the Arsenal Park and lay down under a shade tree. We soon found ourselves in the sun but rolled over and went to sleep again. Co K. turned in their instruments I should say arms today. The provost waited at the arsenal quite awhile for them to come over. Our band turned in the instruments, music racks and pouches this A.M. Capt. Newman received them. They were then taken to the city. They are not to be auctioned off here as they don’t bring enough money at this place. Some of the fellows kept some attachments to the horns. In the afternoon I helped Harry Morgan and Alice Reinich to carry a box from the 9th I’ll to their tent. We got caught in the rain and stopped in a cook shack and bought some milk which was like water. We refused to take it. I slept the evening as it was nice and cool..
May 23, Tues., ‘99
The morning opened up very cool and our eggs and tea went very well for breakfast. The Col. addressed the battalions about going home and was heartily cheered.
End of Diary