“On April 25, 1898, President William McKinley issued the first call for volunteers for the Spanish-American War. Oregon responded at once by furnishing one complete regiment of infantry, which was designated the Second Oregon. The regiment was mobilized at Irvington Park in Portland, which was named Camp McKinley, where troops were equipped and trained. Under the command of Col. Owen Summers, the regiment was ordered to San Francisco and departed from that port on May 25, 1898. The expedition arrived at the Philippine Islands on June 1. The Oregon troops played an important part in many engagements, including the occupation of Manila.” ~ The Oregon Blue Book, 1921.
“W. E. Lee, a very promising young man, who passed the teachers examination in May, has recently enlisted for Manila. Still Sherman county has furnished only three volunteers for the Spanish war and neither is from our militia. Come boys, who is to be the hero of the hour? What comes of all those years of drill, drill, drill? Will the militia boys not see to it that Wasco shares in the glory of Manila?” ~ The People’s Republic, Wasco, Oregon, Thursday, July 14
When the Sherman County newspapers were preserved on microfilm many issues were not available. No Spanish-American War death notices or obituaries for Sherman County troops were found in the existing microfilmed issues of the Moro Leader, People’s Republic, Wasco News, Grass Valley Journal or Sherman County Observer, 1898-1899.
Private William E. Lee was a private in Company L, 2nd Oregon Infantry Regiment.
State National Guard organizations (militia) were consolidated into a volunteer army of Oregon National Guard in 1898. In Brigadier General C.U. Gantenbein’s The Official Record of the Oregon Volunteers of the Spanish War and Philippine Insurrection, it is noted that Congress declared a state of war with Spain to exist on April 21, 1898. Oregon furnished one regiment of infantry, two battalions of light artillery and one company of engineers. Of the 56 officers and 1,296 enlisted men accounted for on muster-out rolls, 13 were killed in action, three died of wounds, three were captured and killed, 43 died of disease while in service, one died by accident and one drowned. Following the war United Spanish War Veterans’ organizations were formed around the state.
Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light. – Joseph Pulitzer