Monday, November 5, 2012

Military Monday - "The Fighting 20th," the 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry

Recently I was putting together a post on my 2nd Great-Grandmother, Cora Ozias. In gathering facts I re-read the obituary for her mother, Christine (Potterf) Ozias.
From The Seneca Tribune dated Thursday, January 26, 1899.
The obituary mentions that two of her sons, Joseph and Ernest, are members of the 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry and were currently serving in Manila. Now here is a new military avenue for me to research. I am not familiar with the late 19th century military actions, other than I know that A Message to Garcia was written around this time.

The 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service on May 16, 1898. Joseph W. Ozias and Ernest Ozias, brothers to my 2nd great-grandmother Cora Ozias Kuhn, were assigned to Company H.
A list of the Soldiers in Company H, 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry, as printed May 17, 1898 in the Kansas Weekly Capital in Topeka, Kansas 
The Spanish-American War was spurned by America's desire to protect it's western shipping lanes and a long-standing disdain for the treatment displayed by Spain towards its territories. The war was declared in April 1898 and ended four months later. Many historians claim that it was this war that officially made America a global power. America gained the Phillipines, Guam and Puerto Rico as territories from Spain and also annexed Hawaii as a result of war.
The 20th was made of volunteers from the state of Kansas. The Fighting 20th, History and Official Souvenir states that the 20th was the first regiment mustered in to service from Kansas where not a single man signed with "his mark." Mustered in May 1898, the unit was sent to San Francisco for training and was there for five months in preparation to head to the Phillipines. Pay close attention to the dates and you will note that the 20th did not participate in the Spanish-American war because by the time they arrived in the Phillipines the war was "officially" over. Following the war, Spain was forced to cede the Phillippines to the United States. This disappointed many Fillipinos and they clashed with American forces for the next three years. Therefore, the eight months the Fighting Twentieth spent in battle were part of the Phillipine Insurrection or the Phillipine-American war.
"Philippine Islands: A regiment of sure shots - the fighting 20th Kansas repelling an attack," call Number: LOT 11522-1, Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Both of the Ozias brothers participated in the regiment's training in San Francisco and both went to the Phillipines. Records show that Ernest Ozias was discharged in Manila and for some unknown reason stayed there.
Following his service, Joseph Ozias stayed active in the Fighting 20th veteran's group serving in various leadership positions. Ernest Ozias was admitted to the Veteran's home in Leavenworth, Kansas, based on his service. Both men also have veteran's headstones.
Joseph Ozias' headstone in Oak Hill Cemetery, Lawrence, Kansas. His date of death is unknown.
Ernest Ozias' headstone in Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth, Kansas
For more information on the Fighting 20th or the Spanish-American war visit the following links:
The World of 1898 - The Spanish-American War, a Library of Congress presentation
The Spanish American War, 1898, U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian
Crucible of Empire, The Spanish American War, a collection of information by PBS
The Fighting Twentieth, Kansas GenWeb

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