Sham battle
Return to Lone Fir Soldiers' Monument

Oregonian, 30 May 1903, page 11

In the presence of an immense throng of people, a very spirited sham battle was fought at the Twenty-fourth and Vaugh street baseball grounds between the Second Regiment Oregon Volunteers, or Spanish-American War veterans, and the Third Regiment Oregon National Guard. A small admittance fee was charged, but both bleachers and the grandstand were crowded. It was an interesting spectacle and the members of both regiments made a very creditable showing in point of drill and general style. A neat sum was realized for the Lone Fir monument and military plot funds.

The affair was preceded by a concert given by the Everest band of the Third Regiment. The musical selections rendered evoked hearty applause. Following the music came guard mount drill by the veterans, who went through the various evolutions with the ease born of service.

"Once a soldier, always a soldier," said General Summers, who was an interested spectator. "And when a man has been through a campaign of hard, active service he acquires soldierly qualities that he never forgets."

The men gave a realistic exhibition of going into camp and bivouacking. First a big campfire was built and a pot of beans set on. At the command of the bugle the boys lined up joyously beating discord with spoons against tin plates. At the word an orderly said, the assault began upon the bean pot and for a few momments thereafter the crop that makes Boston famous "gratified the inner man" of the veterans.

Next came a rollicking time in camp. One man was tossed high in a blanket to the great delight of the crowd. Suddenly the wicked Filipinos lurking in the darkness of the outer edges of the grounds fired upon the pickets, who returned the same with spirit. The hospital corps rushed off with stretchers and brought in the wounded, while the vets continued to enjoy the campfire sports with great disregard of the villainous enemy. Taps were sounded and to the music of "Home, Sweet Home" by the band, the soldiers cast themselves upon the ground while all lights went out. All at once from the far lefthand corner of the field came a belch of flame and volley after volley splendidly fired attested the careful drill of the Third Regiment boys over there. Then the battle began in earnest. Supported by a field piece the veterans advanced and fell back, charged and repeated their charges over and over again. The effect of the gun fire at night was bewildering and picturesque, each flash silhouetting the soldier that fired it. The smoke of battle hung over the grounds and the crowd cheered with great enthusiasm.

"We didn't stand up quite so much when there was a real enemy in front of us. A man never knows how closely he can hug the ground until bullets get to singing about him," said one of the veterans.

A final charge and the battle was over. Then the Third Regiment lads marched into view, making a fine appearance. They were highly complimented by General Summers for the fine volley firing.

Major C. E. McDonnell was in command of the veterans, supported by Captains J. Kemp, William Dunbar, J. L. May and J. A. McKinnon and Lieutenant W. W. Wilson. The Third Oregon boys were under Captain F. S. Baker, with Captains J. A. Welch and Scott and Lieutenant Gould.