OUR TRIP FROM SIOUX FALLS TO SAN
We left Sioux Falls S. D. Saturday morning May 29, 1898 at about 10:30 A.M. The rain was pouring down in torrents. While the long trains waited for the signal the start, hundreds of friends and relatives remaining on the platform at the depot regardless of the heavy downpour passed boxes of fruit and other dainty eatables through the car windows to us, which was gladly accepted by us.
Some of the new soldiers could hardly wait for the train to start. Others were thinking of the folks at home whom they had left only a few days before. Some were talking with friends who were waiting to say goodbye, not knowing when they would have an opportunity of doing so again. At 11 o'clock we heard the long whistle of the engine and before we had time to realize it we were moving.
Cheer after cheer was given by the boys in blue as we moved out. All those left behind waved us a God speed and good luck. We were off. We were really on our way to the war. Some of us were thinking of the past or future in a serious manner; Others were singing songs, telling stories, etc. Each one seemed to amuse himself in his own peculiar way.
We arrived at Sheldon Iowa at one P.M. where we stopped and took our first rations of hard tack and coffee. We arrived in Sioux City at 5:30 P.M. and stopped for about two hours. Hundreds of Sioux Cityites were at the depot awaiting our arrival. Our short stay in this city was made very pleasant by people.
We arrived at Norfaulk Nebraska at about nine o'clock P.M. were we stopped for supper which consisted of coffee and hard tack, but as we still had quite a supply of pies, cakes, etc. we did not pay much attention to the hard tack. Instead of eating it we issued it out as souvenirs to the crowds around the train.
Our next stop was made at Wayne Nebraska where we were met at the station by thousands of patriotic citizens headed by a brass band. The people of this place presented each of us with a beautiful boquet. One of our boys made the remark that he was not at all partial to anyone but laying all Jokes aside he thought the prettiest girls he ever saw lived in Wayne Nebraska. All day we had passed through one of the richest farming districts of the U.S.
Daylight Monday morning found us at the city of North Platte Neb. where we dined on army rations. This being Decoration Day "May 30" the people of this place were all preparing to take part in the Memorial Exercises. We were received with a hearty welcome, good luck and God speed by the citizens and especially by the G.A.R. men. These old soldiers with gray hair, some with empty sleeves, some walking on crutches and others with battle scars of all description.
These were the men who said "boys, you look just like we did thirty years ago only you are better looking" -- yes maybe so --" you are going on the same mission that your fathers did in the dark days of '61 and '65" Those who were wearing the G.A.R. badges are the men who said to us "stand by your country's flag, boys, and remember the Main and to hell with Spain".
We were by this time boiling over with patriotism and assured our old comrades that we would protect the flag that they had saved and to the best of our ability do our duty as soldiers. They told us that they had never ending confidence in us. AS the train pulled out we gave three roaring cheers and a more patriotic body never traveled the valley of the Platte that the 1st. S.D.V.'s
The Platte river is muddy, not unlike the Missouri, and from the car windows we could see large patches of alkali or alkili beds and now and again a praire dog town and a few sod houses dotted the valley. This does not include the entire Platte valley but only a small portion.
One of the interesting sights is the ranch of Buffalo Bill which is located near the town of North Platte. This ranch is supposed to be one of the finest in the U.S.
Monday noon found us at old Fort Sidney where we slacked up for coffee. Fort Sidney is one of the old pioneer stations of the West, being named in honor of the noted Indian fighter Gen. Sidney. Our next stop was at Cheyenne Wyo. where we stopped for supper and to have a short drill. Cheyenne is a thriving western city. We were met at the depot by a number of citizens who were very friendly to us, but they made no attempt to kidnap any of us, they having seen soldiers before we got there and perhaps were aware that soldiers were no better than other people. Fort Russell is located about two miles from the city, but while we were not received with as much curiosity as Barnums circus would have been, we were treated very nicely and our Cheyenne friends will long be remembered by the 1st.. S.D.V.'s
Our next stop was made at Larmie City, Wyo., William Nyes old home. Bill's old paper the "Boomerang" is still in existence and continues to grind out funny jokes once a week. I always had an idea that Bill was a great liar but when I saw the sage hens, the sage brush, the alkili and the Utee Indians I began to think that William never exagerated a great deal in his stories of Wyoming. Nevertheless Larmie City is OK. A beautiful surrounding country and the most sociable class of people forgotten by those of us who stopped off that evening.
Our next halt was at Green River Wyo. Where we stopped for breakfast and company drill. Some of the boys dropped down in ranks while at drill, the air being no light it was almost impossible for us to breathe. After leaving Green River we began to pass through snow sheds in the mountain some of which were several miles in length. The car windows had to be closed to avoid suffocation by smoke and damp air. The biggest elevation of the R.R. is at Hillard, Wyo. Being 7256 feet above sea level. At this place a regular S.D. blizzard was raging.
Echo City was the next place reached of any importance, this being the place where Brigham Young preached his first sermon in Utah. The historical rock on which he stood while delivering the sermon was pointed out to us by the citizens of Echo City.
We reached Ogden about three o'clock and laid over at this place for a couple of hours, marched through one of the principle streets, put up an exhibition company drill and had a short visit with the Smiths and Youngs. After leaving Ogden we rolled along the great salt lake basin or Ogden valley. Here we witnessed the of the grandest scenery that we have ever seen. The Salt Lake Valley is a garden of Eden --"If one can live on scenery".
There are old churches and tabernicles of all descriptions dotting the valley as far as the eye can see, and as the sun was sinking in the west it cast its red rays on the valley and reflected a picture beautiful to behold.
After seeing so much that day were were tired and sleepy and as soon as darkness closed in on us the noise ceased and long before taps a thousand Blue Coats were whizzing along toward the Pacific Coast sound asleep.
We awoke the next morning and learning by inquiring that we were nearing Palisade, N.M. where we would take breakfast. It had been reported that there was Spanish sympathizers at this place and that troops who had passed through previous to us had been poisoned and as a result we were not allowed, under any circumstances, to accept anything to eat or drink from the people of this place. We now began to think we were nearing the enemys country and were on the lookout for broken rails and all kinds of imaginary trouble. At the place we saw long train loads of silver ore on the side track. This was quite a sight to many of us farmers. Here we began our collection of relics.
The next town was Sumit. Here we again ran into a blizzard. This place is called the divide in the mountains. After leaving this place we were going down grade into the Sacramento Valley. we reached the city of Sacramento, California for breakfast. here the oranges were hanging on the trees, the flowers were blooming, the farmers were in the midst of their wheat and hay harvest. We could hardly realize that the night before we had gone to bed in the midst of a snow storm with the thermometer registering 30 degrees below. It was almost like going from one world to another.
Our next important stop was at Oakland. Here we transferred to a big ferry boat and steamed across the San Frisco Bay, this being the beginning of our long voyage by water.
We were received in San Frisco by the Red Cross at the docks where they had a great feast prepared for us and after a couple of hours of Frisco's hospitality we slung our knapsacks and started on our march to Camp Merritt, a distance of about five miles. Our march through the principle streets was cheered by multitudes of patriotic people. The streets on either side were lined with flags, bunting and banners from one end to the other. We at last after a hard march reached our camp. The sand lots of Camp Merritt.
OUR ARRIVAL IN THE ORIENT
[Sully County Spanish-American War volunteers in the