U.S. soldiers camp at Kalapaki Beach in 1899

During the Spanish-American War, the 3rd Battalion, 2nd United States Volunteer Engineers was sent to Hawaii with orders to continue on to the Philippines, first to fight the Spanish, and after peace had been made, to quell insurrections led by Emilio Aguinaldo in behalf of Filipino independence.

But, when the war ended on Aug. 13, 1898, four days before the 3rd Battalion arrived in Honolulu on Aug. 17, 1898 — and the battalion was consequently no longer needed in the Philippines — it made camp at Diamond Head. Instead, and went on to construct quarters, offices, storehouses, buildings, stables, guard houses, a hospital, a bake shop, macadam roads, and sewage and water systems on Oahu before returning to San Francisco in April 1899.

One company of the 3rd Battalion — Company K — had the good fortune to be deployed from Honolulu to Kauai for one week in March 1899, where it marched over a great portion of the Garden Isle and visited several historical sites.

Led by Capt. Howard Springett and Lt. Antone Schnider, Company K debarked the inter-island steamer “W. G. Hall” upon its arrival at Waimea and set up camp within the walls of the Russian Fort.

Next morning the soldiers marched to Koloa, arriving there in the evening and making camp around the smoke stack at the site of the old sugar mill at the junction of Maluhia and Koloa roads.

They were on the march again on the following morning through the Gap to Nawiliwili and pitched tents for their headquarters at Kalapaki near the then-vacant beach house of the Honorable and Mrs. William Hyde Rice.

From Kalapaki, the unit took several hikes, one of which was to Wailua Falls, and another into Hanapepe Valley, before finishing their Kauai sojourn and returning to Honolulu.

By the way, one member of Company K — Joseph H. Moragne — although not deployed to Kauai, returned later to Hawaii and was for many years an outstanding engineer with Grove Farm Plantation and the County of Kauai.

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