Spanish-American War/Conflict

Company G, 49th Iowa

Clagg, Ben 1880-1959

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LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
June 30, 1898

Some of the boys will go to the front in spite of obstacles.  Jas. Padmore, who failed to get accepted at Sheldon, left on a freight train Monday night for Iowa City.  He wrote his father from Ft. Dodge that he was going to Des Moines to try and get in there.  Ben Clagg has been exceedingly anxious to enlist, despite the entreaties of his mother, who did not want him to go. He has disappeared and it is supposed that he went away with the view of enlisting.  It is reported that Jos. Mohan has gone off on the same errand. 

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, Sept. 8, 1898


Several of the Boys From the Front Arrive in LeMars on Furlough.

Ben Clagg, of company G, 49th Iowa, was another boy, the sight of whom
Monday morning gladdened the hearts of his parents and many friends. Ben
Clagg came home on a thirty day furlough. He obtained leave to accompany
the body of his chum and old schoolmate, Louis Brick. Ben looks splendid,
appearing manly and bronzed from his southern experience and has never been
sick a day since he left home and is in love with a soldier’s life and is
pleased that his regiment is ordered to Cuba. Ben says there were 35,000
down near Jacksonville just as hale and hearty as he and that in his
regiment there has not been much sickness. He saw Oldham a week ago Sunday
and says that though still ill, he is on the mend and will probably recover.
His regiment was close to the 50th, but have now been moved three miles

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
January 5, 1899

Ben Clagg, of the Forty-ninth Iowa, Describes His Christmas Day at Camp Columbia, near Havana.

Mr. William Clagg, of this city, handed us another letter from his son, Ben Clagg, of the Forty-ninth Iowa regiment and as it contains an excellent description of the way the soldiers of his regiment spent Christmas, we take pleasure in publishing it and think it will prove of interest to a great many.  The letter is written on Cuban paper and the sheets of paper contain a floral emblem at the top composed of flowers, and two hands are depicted in the act of shaking hands and the word “Recuerdo” or “remember” is printed underneath.  In his letter Ben says:

Well today is Christmas and will write home.  And, as I have said all the morning, this day is so calm and quiet reminds me of Memorial Sunday at home.  At church call this morning the regiment assembled at the band quarters for Christmas services, our first Sunday and Christmas in a foreign land.  Around us were the tall palm trees waving gently in the breeze and near by great clusters of ferns, while along an old stone wall near at hand, upon which some of the boys were sitting, waved the dark olive colored branches of some orange trees.  The chaplain and colonel sat in front of one of the drab tents with which we are supplied and every thing in the whole scene seemed to blend, even to the ruins of an old Spanish house a little distance away.  The services were opened by the band playing, “How Firm a Foundation.”  Then the chaplain read Math. II, the Christmas chapter, and the band played, “The Star Spangled Banner” and the chaplain gave a short, earnest prayer.  Then Capt. Rozine of Company D sang a solo.  Capt. Mason, the chaplain, took for his text, “We Have Seen His Star in the East,” and “Peace Goodwill Toward Men,” and gave us a beautiful patriotic talk.  Reminded us of the loved ones at home of whom we were thinking today; of the cause of humanity and justice for which we had come to the land, and in all gave us the best talk I have ever heard him give.  Then a short prayer and we sang, “My Country Tis of Thee,” and then had the benediction.  (unreadable word)    ….and still today and we are all writing letters and talking. Our tent is nice, large and cool and we all like each other.  One of our boys is called Frank Wood.  He is nicknamed “Becky Tod.” He is a handsome boy and looks a great deal like Wesley, only much prettier.  Then there are two Grinnell college boys, Lou Peterson and Jesse Fellows, and Cort Bickel now Sergt. Bickel, whose picture I sent home, and Jack Wychoff, a nice fellow somewhat older than the rest of us.  Well, we have received no mail yet.  We are getting fine grub and have fine tents and good cot beds.  Better fixed in every way than any camp we have had before.  We expect mail tomorrow and I suppose I will hear from you then.  Well I must close. I suppose you are now sitting down to a nice Christmas turkey.

“G” 49th Iowa, Camp Columbia, Havana, Cuba.