Harry Clay Egbert

Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry

July 1, 1898 - March 26, 1899

 

 

 

The Official Army Register of 1898 gives the following record of Harry C. Egbert's military service:

He was offered a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 12th US Infantry on September 23, 1861,
which he accepted on September 24. He was promoted to Captain of the 12th Infantry on April 1, 1865.
Egbert was promoted to Major of the 17th Infantry on April 23, 1890. On May 18, 1893, he was
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 6th Infantry.

On July 1, 1898 he was officially assigned as Colonel of the 22nd Infantry
(the same day he was wounded while with the 6th Infantry).

On October 1, 1898 he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers, a position which he accepted
on October 8. On December 1, 1898 he was honorably discharged from the Volunteers.

He was an Original Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

 

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Born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 3, 1839, he joined the 12th United States Infantry
on September 23, 1861 (where he served with his brother-in-law, William A. Dove)
and served with distinction in actions at Gaines Mills, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Gettysburg, etc.
He was taken prisoner at Cedar Mountain and at Gettysburg, and was seriously wounded at Bethesda Church.
He remained in the Army following the Civil War and when the Spanish-American War broke out,
he was Lieutenant Colonel of the 6th United States Infantry, which he commanded in the Santiago Campaign
until he was shot through the body at El Caney, Cuba, on July 1, 1898.

He was promoted to Colonel, 22nd United States Infantry, and before his wound was completely healed,
he sailed for the Philippines. He arrived at Manila with his command on March 4, 1899,
and while leading a bayonet charge against Insurgents received a wound from which he died on March 26, 1899.

(Editor’s note: The above description of Egbert being killed while leading a bayonet charge was the
popular portrayal of the day. Research done by ther 1st Battalion website could not find any record in the
Reports to the Secretary of War confirming this account as actually having happened. In all reports
Egbert is mentioned only as being killed at Malinta. No account describing him as being killed
while leading a bayonet charge is in those reports. The official Regimental history of the 22nd Infantry
and the accounts recorded in the Annual Reports to the War department all indicate that Egbert
was killed during the exchange of gunfire between the 22nd Infantry and the Filipino insurgents
in the area of the churchyard and surrounding rice paddies at Malinta. )

He is buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery, adjacent to his brother-in-law and sister,
William A. and Julia Dove.

His wife, Ellen Young Egbert (1843-1913) is buried with him.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
EGBERT Avenue in San Francisco is named for Colonel Egbert, United States army.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harry Clay Egbert of Pennslvania
Appointed First Lieutenant, 12th United States Infantry, 23 September 1861
Captain, 1 April 1865
Major, 17th United States Infantry, 23 April 1890
Lieuenant Colonel, 6th United States Infantry, 18 May 1893
Colonel, 22nd United States Infantry, 1 July 1898
Brigadier General, United States Volunteers, 1 October 1898
Honorably discharged from Volunteer Service, 1 December 1898
Breveted Captain, 1 August 1864 for gallant service in the Battle of North Anna, Virginia,
and Major, 1 August 1864, for gallant service in the Battle of Bethesda Church, Virginia
Killed 26 March 1899 in action at Malinta, Philippine Islands
EGBERT, ELLEN YOUNG WIDOW OF HARRY C
DATE OF DEATH: 06/01/1913
DATE OF INTERMENT: Unknown
BURIED AT: SECTION OS/WS SITE LOT 280
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
WIFE OF HC EGBERT - COL 22ND US INF

 

Above information and photos used with permsission,
from Arlington National Cemetery Website


http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/

 

The 1st Battalion website is grateful to Michael R. Patterson,
webmaster for the Arlington National Cemetery Website,
for the use of the above.

 

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A portrait of COL Egbert, taken from a period magazine
note the 22nd Infantry Officer's Insignia on his collar

 

The following is a description of the action during which COL Harry C. Egbert was killed.
The narrative is taken from a history of the 22nd Infantry Regiment,
prepared under the direction of the Regimental Adjutant,
CPT G.C. Graham, 1922

 

Early in the morning of the 26th the enemy in front of Wheaton's brigade were in retreat.
Malabon, on the left front, was in flames; a stream of insurgent soldiers and natives of the country
was pouring north. The 22nd marched a short distance to the right of where it had bivouacked,
received the fire of the insurgents' rear guard, forded the Tuliahan river, and formed line perpendicular to the river
in order to flank the enemy's trenches. Advancing to the railroad, these trenches were found deserted.
The regiment changed front to the north; the first battalion moved forward to scout toward Malinta.
On commanding ground, 800 yards south of Malinta, the insurgents were strongly intrenched;
these works were charged and captured. Five hundred yards beyond was a stone church;
a breast-high stone wall surrounding the church bristled with Mauser rifles;
here the rear guard of the retreating insurgent army hoped to check the American advance.
The ground in front of this stronghold was a natural glacis, broken with only a few rice paddies;
each seventy meters of the approach was marked with nipa streamers flying from tall bamboos.
A galling fire, accurately delivered by a superior force, met the battalion
and forced it to seek the shelter of the captured trenches and rice paddies.
Return volleys directed at the crest of the stone wall seemed only to increase the intensity of the insurgent fire.
Meanwhile the remainder of the regiment was racing from the rear to assist the troops so sorely pressed.
Arriving on the line, they threw themselves on the ground, and at once poured over the stone walls a fire so accurate
that the well-directed firing of the insurgents promptly ceased.
There was no diminution of their fire—merely less accuracy in their aim.
During this stage of engagement, Colonel Egbert, the gallant commander of the regiment, was mortally wounded.
For twenty minutes the fusillade from both lines continued. At the end of that time, the insurgent fire slackened;
ten minutes later it ceased. Entering Malinta, great quantities of loaded and empty rifle shells were found
behind the stone walls of the church; only artillery could have forced a valiant enemy from this position.

 

 

     

Left: From an article which described the
fighting at Malinta, a description of Egbert's death.

The Day newspaper of New London, Connecticut,
Monday, March 27, 1899

 

 

Colonel Harry Egbert's decorations

 

 

 

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Fort Egbert, Alaska

Photo from University of Washington Digital Collections

 

In 1899 construction began on a military post at Eagle, Alaska.
It was named Fort Egbert, after COL H.C. Egbert.
At its height there were approximately 45 buildings erected at the post.
It existed as a military fort until abandoned by the Army in 1911.
A detachment of the Signal Corps remained at the location,
operating the telegraph and radio station until 1925.
Only three buildings remain today, and they are preserved as a National Park.

During its service in Alaska, elements of the 22nd Infantry Regiment
were stationed at the fort named for their former Commander,
during the years 1908-1910.

 

Officers' Row at Fort Egbert

from a postcard circa 1900-1911

 

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There is a memorial plaque for H. C. Egbert
on the Stone Water Tower at Fort Thomas, Kentucky.

Stone Water Tower, Fort Thomas, Kentucky
From a postcard photo taken circa 1900

The tower was constructed in 1890 at the entrance to Fort Thomas, and in that same year
the 6th US Infantry took station at the Fort. In April 1898 Harry Egbert, as a Lieutenant Colonel,
in command of the 6th Infantry, took the Regiment from Ft. Thomas to Tampa and then Cuba,
where he was wounded in the assault on San Juan Hill. In 1898 a bronze plaque was mounted on the
front side of the tower, commemorating the Soldiers of the 6th Infantry killed in Cuba. In 1899 a smaller plaque
was mounted on the side of the tower, commemorating Colonel Harry Egbert, after he was killed in the Philippines.

 

 

Photo of the memorial plaque for COL Egbert on the Stone Water Tower at Ft. Thomas
Note the 22nd Infantry insignia on his collar

The memorial plaque reads:

" COLONEL HARRY CLAY EGBERT, USA BRIGADIER GENERAL, WEST VIRGINIA, WHO FELL
MORTALLY WOUNDED UPON THE BATTLEFIELD NEAR MALINTA, LUZON, MARCH 25 1899
WHILE HEROICALLY LEADING HIS REGIMENT, THE TWENTY SECOND UNITED STATES
INFANTRY, AGAINST THE FILIPINO ENTRENCHMENTS * FOR THIRTY SEVEN YEARS AN OFFICER
IN THE REGULAR ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, DISTINGUISHED IN THREE WARS OF
HIS COUNTRY, TWICE GRIEVOUSLY WOUNDED IN ACTION, AT BETHESDA CHURCH
VIRGINIA, 1864, AND AT SAN JUAN HILL, CUBA, JULY 1 1898, WHERE HE COMMANDED
THE SIXTH REGIMENT UNITED STATES INFANTRY. "

 

 

View of the water tower showing the large plaque for the
6th Infantry above the entrance. The Spanish cannons
were taken from Havana harbor in 1898.

Photo from Entertaining View from Cincinnati

Side view of the tower
The plaque for Colonel Egbert can be seen
on the white stone base in both photos above.

Photo from the Apex Realty Group

 

 

 

Cigar box label from Colonel Egbert cigars, with Spanish American War motif.
Cigars were made in Newport, only four miles from Fort Thomas.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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