10 inches wide by 8 inches high
(20.3cm x 25.4cm)
Camp Columbia, Cuba
These three U.S. Army infantrymen were - according to a very faint caption on the lower edge of the photograph - members of Sergeant
Holden's squad. Holden appears at far left of this image which was taken at Camp Columbia, Cuba sometime between 1899 and 1902. The
dates are based upon the time period when elements of the 7th U. S. Cavalry was stationed at Camp Columbia. An unidentified trooper or
officer of the 7th complied the album in which this photograph originated.
This sergeant appears to be Sergeant James Holden of Company "F", 8th United States Infantry. Holden was born about 1870 in Kilkenny,
Irelandand enlisted in the 8th U.S. Infantry at New York City on 5 June, 1896. He was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal at
Havana, Cuba on 4 June, 1899. He reenlisted the following day and served until 4 June, 1902 when he was honorably discharged at the rank
of sergeant. At the time of both discharges his character was listed as "excellent".
Interestingly a somewhat shaky handed ink inscription on the photograph's reverse side reads: "Obnan brothers, Liberty Pa." My
assumption is that the two men on the right or possibly all three of the soldiers with Sergeant Holden were in fact brothers - they do bear
resemblances to one another to a certain degree. Unfortunately as is the case with Sergeant Holden I have been unable to find any records
of anyone, let alone two or three brothers by the name of Obnan serving in Cuba at the time or living in Liberty, Pennsylvania in the time
periods before or after the approximate date of the photo.
All four men are armed with either Model 1896 or Model 1898 U.S. Krag-Jorgensen Rifles. Sergeant Holden and two of his men wear dark
blue, double-looped Mills Cartridge Belts while the Private second from right wears a khaki version of the same belt. All four men seem to
be wearing Khaki service tunics of the type adopted in August of 1899. Additionally all four men wear U.S. issued tropical service helmets.
So far I have been unable to find a definitive or authoritative reference outlining the various models and issuance of these helmets within
the U.S. Army.
|An enlarged section of the above photograph showing the subjects in greater detail.