Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 


The Spanish American War
On a Friday the thirteenth in 1898, 13 of Haddonfield's young men boarded the S.S. Resolute and headed for Cuba.  They had volunteered for active duty when the United States had declared war with Spain on April 21, 1898.

The Spanish-American war proved to be a different war than any of our other conflict, in that malaria and yellow fever were more deadly than bullets, but it was still a war.  Since the American Revolution the country has been involved in wars that have been dramatized in novels, motion pictures and on television, but the Spanish-American War, at the end to the nineteenth century has not been documented to any extent and is not too well known and remembered.

Our nation was then still young and expanding and ready to show its ability to become a power in the world.  So when the Cuban insurgents rose to protest the rule of Spain, we were ready to assist them in their uprising.

The S.S. Resolute was an ammunition supply ship.  The Haddonfield men who are remembered as being in her crew are: J. Fithian Tatem, Edgar Cuthbert, Mr. Blaker, Gerald Hopkins, Franklin Wayne, Stanton Kirkbride and Mr. Boyer.  Mr. Tatem was a reserve naval officer.  Everyone of these young fellows returned home safe and sound.  The only casualty was a shattered eardrum on one boy, that was caused by an explosion.

Mr. Tatem often related to his children how he was the officer of the day on the deck of the Resolute in the harbor of the bay when the Spanish fleet surrendered at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, July 17, 1899.  He told of the formality of the surrender; how the Spanish general handed his sword to his assistant, who turned it over to Mr. Tatem, officer of the day, and he presented it to his admiral.  When the public school was built on Glover avenue it was named the J. Fithian Tatem Elementary School.

This saga is one that Haddonfield is proud to join with the Tatem family in remembering.


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