Today I was invited to hunt near an old creek in Central KY. The spot looked promising but ended up offering only wheat pennies and this neat Spanish-American War Era find. This is a 1898 Camp Geo. H. Thomas Chickamauga Park Georgia Souvenir Medal. How it got to Kentucky is anyone’s guess. But people were at the camp from all parts of the region, so I’m assuming a Kentucky soldier brought it back with him.
This medal came in three varieties, and is made out of Bronze. It has “Schwaabs” stamped on the back, barely visible under magnification. It was located in a frequently flooded area and would have eventually been destroyed by water.
A bit about the camp….
“…..Chickamauga Park, near Chattanooga, Tenn., was the point of concentration for the regular troops which were gathered for the war with Spain. It was the initial camp where the mobilization took place, and from which soldiers and supplies were dispatched to seacoast towns within easy striking distance of Cuba. When orders went out from army headquarters at Washington for the movement of the regulars to Chickamauga a thrill of soldierly pride swelled the breast of every man who wore Uncle Sam’s blue uniform, and there was a hasty dash for the new camp. There is nothing an army man, officer or private, dislikes so much as inactivity. Fighting, especially against a foreign foe, suits him better than dawdling away his time in idleness, and word to “get to the front” is always welcome.
For nearly three weeks troops poured into Chickamauga on every train. They came from all parts of the country, and from every regiment and branch of the service. There were “dough-boys” and cavalrymen, engineers and artillerymen; some regiments were there in force, others were represented by detachments only. There were companies and parts of companies, squadrons and parts of squadrons, batteries and parts of batteries. It was a bringing together of Uncle Sam’s soldier boys from all conceivable sections of the country.
The camp was well named. “Camp George H. Thomas” they called it, in memory of old “Pap,” the hero of Chickamauga, and men and officers alike took a very visible pride in being residents of the tented city. The establishment of the community at Camp Thomas was much like the establishment of a colony in an unsettled land, in so far as domestic conveniences were concerned. Everything had to be taken there, and each regiment, which was a small canvas town in itself, had to depend entirely upon its own resources….”
And I’ll leave you with a bit of Chickamauga trivia… More American soldiers died in training on the Chickamauga Battlefield during the Spanish American War than died during that four month long war.
I found a couple other varieties of this medal on the web and here are those photos in case they get deleted. These are not my finds and were found online.
Great post and story…..enjoyed it Scott!
Two of my grand uncles, Frederick Mason Thomas, and his brother Letcher Thomas fought in the Spanish American war, were in the 2nd Regiment of the Kentucky Infantry Volunteers stationed at Camp Thomas. Both of my grand uncles were born in Scott County, Kentucky and lived in the surrounding counties in central Kentucky during the Spanish American War.
How amazing that this medal could have belonged to one of them at one point!
Thank you for sharing your find.
Russell G. Thompson
Naturally, if we could definitively connect your family to this medal, I’d give it over in a heartbeat (after we did a press release of course LOL!) I’m going to send you the coordinates where the object was found via email, please don’t publish them. Let me know if you have a way to connect your family to the spot.
I have also found this same medal. I was wondering if you found any more info about this medal, like the value or how rare it may be. Your story is all that I can find when I search for this. I found mine inside of a wall in SW Michigan. It also has a name engraved on the back. Thanks for your time and help.
Hi Nathan! I wrote everything I know about this medal. I would love to see a photo of your engraving however. These were given out (sold cheaply?) to soldiers and families to remember serving at this camp. There are at least 3 varieties of it. I found a photo of another variety and will add it to the post now. If I find more, I’ll add them. Congrats on the find and GL/HH!
Scott, I was very interested in your post concerning “dough boys.” I have a picture of my grandfather in 1898, in a “dough boy” uniform. I believe the picture was taken at Temperance Hall, Tennessee. My grandfather died in 1932 of “old TB.” I was born in 1948. My grandmother died in 1959. My father, and his siblings never mentioned that their father was in the military .
Is there, by any chance, a list of men that were in the Spanish-American War? Where could I find such a list?
I have been researching my family genealogy for more than 20 years, but I have not been able to find my grandfather prior to 1900 in Tennessee. His name has also been a problem: ELLICK (ALEX)SAMUEL “SAM”MANSFIEL HILL. You would not believe what a Google search shows for :Sam Hill.” LOL
I would appreciate any suggestions you might be able to give me.