Henry A. Dobson Papers


Henry A. Dobson



Download Full Text (8.7 MB)

Publication Date



A letter from Henry Dobson to his mother about his illness and life in the camp.


Spanish-American War (1898), Military life


6 page letter

Physical Collection

Henry A. Dobson Papers


Tampa Fla,

June 18, 1898

Dear Mamma:

I am well. shirts (2), drawers and band, arrived O.K. I have just spent my last cent or rather dollar to have one of my front teeth quieted Dr. Cowart on Franklin St.- he took out a thimble full of matter, had to take out old filling, put in by Tommy Songster. It occurred 10 minutes ago. I am in rooms of Y.M.C.A. I wrote you a card from here the other P.M. My company is on guard. I am free till morning. I have not slept for

[NOTE in top margin: Mr. Ritchey sends regards. He got a letter from his house.]

two nights on account of that tooth. I’ve got to go again Monday to have it finished-another “William”- where it will come from, I don’t know. Regardless of what the papers say, the food is miserable, for 6 days I have been living on one meal per day, having to buy that one. Once in a while we get something good. Very seldom. Coffee rank; have not touched any for 10 days, except to taste it. Before your letter came, I had to buy drawers and thin black shirt, now I have plenty of those and towels etc. under-shirts are not much good here, too hot. Heat here is heat.

Between 10 and 5 you can hardly move

[NOTE in top margin: We think of home- then stop and think again—take a long, long breath and try to stop thinking. You can’t eat slop and not when you think of your own dining table. Love to everybody. No- I'm not homesick or blue but mighty lonesome]

other hardware. Perhaps you read of the stampede the other night. That showed what the companies were. The boys were all asleep. I was writing when I heard the peculiar roar the horses’ hoofs. I know what it was, and proceeded in my blue shirt to the captain’s tent and awakened him. A moment later came the crash of the fence and the cry of the sentinel “guard no.6” followed by the “bang” of his rifle sounding the alarms. In an instant all was confusion, the trumpets sounded the call “To arms” and men came springing from their tents to answer their first call at night.

[NOTE in top margin: Pay day I’m afraid. I should not have sent money home this time, while my stomach is weak. I’ll try to borrow some some where. I’m glad I don’t drink. I have so much trouble with the stuff in 6 of my men. Well good by. Love to all Henry A. Dobson]

In 30 seconds, I had on pants, shoes (unlaced), hat and belt. Another 30 seconds and my men were in line, and I was calling the roll, that quieted the boys. Meanwhile my cooks with excellent presence of mind started large fires to keep off the rushing animals. Others followed their example and camps was safe on the coral side, but the horses circled the camps and entered the officers street and came plunging down it. [diagram] they passed within 2 yards of me and the right of our company. But my boys never moved. Not a man. The Co. in front broke and ran back into our street, but my men are men. We expect another stampede anytime as someone is keeping the mules excited at night. If they get loose, well, I hope not. As I said Tampa is bum, but I’ll write more this P.M. and tell more about it, please write and tell everybody to, too.

Tell Papa I’ll have card ready.

[Note in top margin: I’m broke- can you help me at all. Our good boys like me better than ever. But there is one man who if I see turn around in battle I’ll shoot right away. He thinks I’m down on him and is vengeful. Wait till he threatens over more. I’ll have him court-martialed. All the boys dislike him for his actions toward me, but I’m O.K. Never fear.]

Someone wrote to Wash. papers about plentiful fruit etc. It was a lie. Everything is very high. The fruit is very poor – green and small.

I hope papa’s heel will soon get well. I didn’t say anything about it before, but. I took I cubic inch of my own right heel out the other day. It was terrible. I had to walk. But I treated it carefully and it had stopped hurting and the surgeon says will not bother me anymore. My tooth feels 200000000% better now than it did 20 min ago. So, everything seems brighter, or

[Note in top margin: A MD man was shot this A.M. accident]

as this is Fla. Shadier, which means cooler and nicer. My arm is getting very well thank you, swelling all gone except in immediate vicinity of wound. I’m glad it was done – also glad that it is over.

Tampa is, collectively speaking, a BUM place, its map is like this. [NOTE: Diagram is given]

Our camp on the right. Coral behind, water filled with glass before. Sun on top. Sand beneath.

2nd N.Y. on our side 5th MD. on other, Total- rather bum. Dotted line – the way I go to swim. Old sunken tug (x), water very salt, 20 ft deep at tug. Bottom good – informal assemblies morning and night. The water in front of camp is shallow and filled with shells, hoop iron, glass and







Media Type

Letters (Correspondence)



Letter, Henry Dobson to Mamma, June 18, 1898



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.