The First Florida Volunteer Regiment 1898

In 1898, the U.S. government asked Florida to provide one regiment of troops in twelve companies for service in the Spanish-American War. All 20 officially recognized companies of Florida State Troops volunteered. The 12 companies finally accepted considered themselves lucky to be part of Florida’s 1st Regiment. At least they did in May of 1898; few cared by Christmas. Still, they were the first modern Florida regiment and should be remembered. Because many individuals were rejected for service on medical grounds, individual volunteers were accepted from the eight companies not selected.

First Florida Volunteer Regiment


Colonels William F. Williams (resigned June 1898)
Charles P. Lovell
Lt. Colonel Irvin E. Webster
Majors Robert E. Davidson
John W. Sackett
Adjutant Frank A. Ross
Surgeon R. P. Isler Asst. Surgeons Charles A. Dunham
Charles B. McKinnon
Quartermaster Andrew J. Harris (resigned June 1898)
Frank X. Schuler
Battalion Adjutants Albert Wright
Charles H. Chestnut
Henry W. Fowler
Chaplain William W. Eleway Company A The Ocala Rifles (Marion County)
Captain Robert E. Davidson
Company B The Leesburg Rifles (Sumpter, now Lake County)
Captain George E. Lovell
Company C The Shine Guards (Orange County)
Captain John N. Bradshaw
Company D The Gem City Guards (Putnam County)
Captain William M. Husson
Company E The Jacksonville Light Infantry (Duval County)
Captain John S. Maxwell
Company F The Jacksonville Rifles (Duval County)
Captain James Y. Wilson
Company G The St. Augustine Rifles (St. Johns County)
Captain Frank J. Howatt
Company H The Escambia Rifles (Escambia County)
Captain Richard M. Bushnell
Company I The Chipley Light Infantry (Washington County)
Captain R. M. Cary
Company K The Gadsden Guards (Gadsden County)
Captain S. F. Williamson
Company L The Suwannee Rifles (Suwannee County)
Captain W. L. Tedder
Company M The Bradford Guards (Bradford County)
Captain Eugene S. Mathews


Source: Hawk, Robert. Florida’s Army: Militia, State Troops, National Guard, 1565-1985. Englewood, Fla: Pineapple Press, 1986.