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 [from the 1998 Souhrada Family Newsletter]

Contributed by Velma Vanicek Flynn

Members of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry pose in camp with their .47-70 Trapdoor Rifles.
(photo courtesy of Judy Landauer) at

This regiment was composed of the twelve companies which formerly constituted the First Regiment Iowa National Guard. It was mustered into the service of the United States at Camp McKinley, Des Moines, Iowa, by Captain J.A. Olmsted, of the Regular Army, June 2, 1898. It left the State on June 11, 1898, and was conveyed by rail to Jacksonville, Florida, (Camp Cuba Libre) and, upon its arrival there, was assigned to the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps. It was assigned to the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps. It moved from Jacksonville to Savannah, Georgia, on October 25, 1898, and from thence to Havana, Cuba, December 19, 1898. The following account of its movements and operations, during its term of service, is condensed from the official report of its commander. Colonel William G. Dows.

Upon the arrival of the regiment at Jacksonville, June 14, 1898, Colonel Dows reported in person to Major General Fitzhugh Lee for orders, and was assigned to the Third Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Henry C. Hasbrouck, of the Regular Army. The location of the first camp proved to be a mistake, for, as soon as the rains began, the ground was flooded, and it was found necessary to move to higher ground, which was done and the new camp, near Panama Park, about three miles from Jacksonville, was found to be a great improvement; but the long hot summer which followed proved a severe test to the health and strength of the men, who had been brought up in a more temperate climate. During its stay at this camp the regiment was recruited to the maximum strength, and was brought to a high standard of drill and discipline. On October 25, 1898, Colonel Dows received orders to proceed with his regiment to Savannah, Georgia. The camp at Savannah was pleasantly located, and the officers and men of the regiment greatly enjoyed their stay there. On December 19, 1898, the regiment was ordered to embark on transport, and was conveyed to Havana, Cuba, where it arrived December 21, 1898. Two days later the regiment marched through the city of Havana, and thence to a small station called Quemadas - a part of the town of Marianoo - eight miles from Havana. The subsequent service of the regiment, while it remained on the Island of Cuba, was of a more or less arduous character. Companies were detailed for the purpose of guarding the water supply for the city of Havana, performing provost guard duty, and taking charge of some of the forts and public property that had been surrendered by the Spanish Government. During this period the regiment enjoyed a brief realization from the monotony of camp and garrison life. With its brigade and division it was ordered on a march, through a part of the island, which occupied several days.

On January 1, 1899, the regiment participated in the parade of troops, and the formal ceremonies attending the lowering of the Spanish flag and the raising of the flag of the United States, in the city of Havana. The regiment remained on the Island of Cuba until April 4, 1899, upon which date it received orders to return to Savannah, Georgia, at which place it was mustered out of the service of the United States, on May 13, 1899.

In concluding his official report, Colonel Dows commends in the highest terms the conduct of the officers and men of his regiment, and calls attention to the fact that the Regular Army officers, under whom it served, had given the regiment many compliments in their reports to the War Department, for it efficiency in drill and discipline. It will thus be seen that the Forty-ninth Regiment made the most effectual use of its limited opportunities. It maintained the high record established by Iowa soldiers in the Civil War, and, had the opportunity come to it, would no doubt have won distinction of the field of battle. It is, therefore, fully entitled to an honored place in the history of those Iowa regiments which performed such service as was required of the, in connection with the Spanish-American War.

Total Enrollment -1385
Wounded – 0
Died of wounds – 0
Died of disease – 54
Discharged for disease, wounds or other disease – 259
Buried in National Cemeteries – 0
Captured – 0
Transferred - 43

Mustered into the service of the
United States at Camp McKinley, Des Moines, Iowa, June 2, 1892, by Captain J.A. Olmsted, USA
Mustered out of service
May 13, 1899, Savannah, Georgia

COMPANY M of the 49th regiment Iowa volunteer infantry
Souhrada, Michael. Residence Oxford Junction. Enlisted July 18, 1898. Mustered July 18, 1898. Mustered out May 13, 1899, Savannah, Georgia.
Yonda, James. (Editor’s note: This name appears as Yanda in the Company M Roster) Residence
Oxford Junction. Enlisted July 18, 1898. Mustered July 18, 1898. Mustered out May 13, 1899, Savannah, Georgia.
To view the complete roster of
Iowa volunteers from Company M, click here à Company M

(copied from - Oxford Mirror - Thursday, May 18, 1899)

Two of our representatives with the 49th Iowa, Mike Souhrada and J.F. Yonda, returned home last Monday evening, having been mustered out of Savannah, Georgia, on Saturday. The boys are looking hale and hearty, and although they suffered comparatively little during their then months' service with the volunteers in Cuba, they were glad indeed to get home, and their many Oxford friends were just as glad to see them. The new Bohemian band, together with scores of their friends both old and young, met them at the depot and on Tuesday night a dance was given in their honor. The boys will now settle down to private life among their Oxford friends. They have done their share to uphold the honor of the nation, and are entitled to the peoples' thanks.

(copied from - Oxford Mirror - Thursday, May 18, 1899)

Having just returned from our ten months' service in the Volunteer Army, and in view of our most cordial and hospitable reception tendered by the people of Oxford Junction, we take this means of showing our appreciation of your kindness. We have been with Iowa's crack regiment, the 49th, and have tried our best to conduct ourselves in a fitting manner, always having in view the honor of our nation and flag. We have returned to private citizenship with considerable more knowledge of military tactics and army life, than we ever knew before. Again thanking the people for their cordial greeting and welcome, we are,

Yours for Army Stories,

Mike Souhrada and J.F. Yonda

(copied from - Oxford Mirror - Thursday, January 16, 1908)

Mike Souhrada, of Hale, Iowa, has undertaken a work that will be greatly appreciated by all Spanish-American soldiers and should receive the hearty support of all partook people of the state. It relates to the matter of exemption of taxes for the soldiers of late was similar to that of soldiers of the Civil and Mexican wars.

On looking over the legal sections of the code of Iowa covering the subject, it is found that the contention is for so little that it should be granted at once. The law allows the older soldiers or unmarried widows the amount of $800 in actual value untaxed unless they hold other property to the value of $5,000 when they are allowed no reduction. We can see no reason why one soldier should receive better treatment than another and would advise all Spanish-American soldiers to write their representatives in Des Moines concerning the matter, also consult Michael Souhrada as to what they have done or had done for them. Those who chance to read this and have friends interested will do them a good turn by calling their attention to the effort that is being made to give them the "honors" of other soldiers.