The 69th Infantry Regiment was one of twelve New York State National Guard units federalized for service in the Spanish-American War. At the time of President McKinley’s call for volunteers, the 69th was already an organized regiment of eight companies with around 560 officers and men. Upon its selection by the governor of New York State for service in the war against Spain, the 69th proceeded to Camp Black, NY while it’s recruiters worked tirelessly to bring the unit strength up to the full twelve company standard. The recruitment was successful and the 69th was brought up to regulation strength. All twelve companies of the 69th were drawn from New York City and the regiment itself was predominantly Irish, as it had been during its long and distinguished career during the Civil War. On May 19th, 1898 the regiment was mustered in and officially designated the “69th Regiment Infantry, New York Vols.”
On May 24th the regiment was ordered to Chickamauga, TN where it arrived on the 27th of the same month. While at Chickamauga the 69th was attached to the Second Division of the Third Army Corp. and assigned a wagon train. On June 2nd the regiment entrained and moved south to Florida where it would encamp at Palmetto Beach near the town of Ocala. During its time in Florida the 69th was attached to the Fourth Army Corp. and brigaded with the 3rd Ohio and the 2nd Georgia. The regiment remained in Florida throughout June and July, improving their camp and taking in fresh recruits sent from New York. During this period the rains in Florida brought outbreaks of typhoid, which would be a constant irritant. In early August the regiment moved to Fernandina and then to Fort Wheeler in Huntsville, AL. The regiment never saw combat and remained attached to the Fourth Corp. for the remainder of the war, a model of camp efficiency and discipline.