Sgt. Harry M. O'Keefe and his horse

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Harry enlisted on September 19, 1898 when he was almost 22 years old and served until January 25, 1899 in "F" Troop, 2nd U.S. Calvary. After basic training and because the Spanish American war ended December 10, 1998, he was discharged in Huntsville, Alabama and returned to Cleveland. However, shortly after The Philippine Insurrection began in February 1999 he re-enlisted in Cleveland on March 13, 1899 in "M' Troop, 4th U.S. Calvary. His enlistment papers show his height as 5' 6½" and 5' 7¼" respectively with brown eyes on one document and blue eyes on the other. It seems they could agree on brown hair and fair complexion. It took six days to travel by train from Cleveland to the Presidio in San Francisco. On June 28, 1899, Harry shipped out on the troop transport "Valencia" which made a short stop in Honolulu on the way to the Philippines. The voyage took 32 days. Harry kept a journal almost daily from March 13, 1899 to May 12, 1900 and again from February 22 to March 13 in 1901. He chronicled what it was like serving during the Philippine Insurrection, which many still referred to as the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. It is very interesting reading. A copy of his journal has been transcribed and is available in computer readable form. His handwriting showed the artist in him and the journal is in excellent shape considering the severe conditions he endured during the war. He contracted malaria, suffered malnutrition and food poisoning while he served in the Philippines. This could explain some of the gaps in his journal. He also served in "G" Troop, 15th U.S. Calvary and after attaining the rank of sergeant was finally discharged on March 18, 1902 in California and then returned to Cleveland.


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