Source: Indiana Spanish American War Records
Jesse Caplinger Private C'ville Ind Date Started: 26 April 1898 Date End 4 Nov 1898
Source: 1900 Military 6th Artillery Manila, Phillipines
Caplinger, Jesse C. Sgt born Crawfordsville, Ind Jan 1877 age 23 IN IN IN
Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 3-8-1901 p 12
In General McArthur's death list from the Philippines Saturday evening appeared the name of Sgt. Jesse C Caplinger of Battery A, 6th U.S. Artillery. His death occurred in the hospital at Manila on Jan 26, as a result of dysentery. Jesse Caplinger was a son of Mrs. G.W. Miles of West Main Street and was a bright and promising young man. He was born near New Market about 25 years ago but had passed most of his life in Crawfordsville. When the Spanish War broke out he was engaged at Corbin & Henry's saw mill but resigned his place to enlist as a member of Company M. When his company was mustered out he decided to remain in the service and enlisted as a member of the 6th Artillery. After a short stay in Florida his battery was ordered to Honolulu and was stationed in the Hawaiian Islands for sevearl months. It was then sent to Manila and has been on provost duty there ever since. Jesse Caplinger was a favorite with all the officers and men, and rose from private to corporal and then to sergeant, an exceptionally good record for a young man in the regular army to make in two years. Mr. Caplinger during his service was a correspondent of The Journal and very pleasing letters written from FLorida, California, Honolulu and Manila have appeared in these columns. His last letter, a highly interesting one, descriptive of native life in the Philippines, was published in January. With the letter were sent several good photographs of scenes in and about the city which had been taken by Sgt Caplinger. The first intimation his friends and relatives here had was not well was the published news of his death in McArthur's list. It came as a sad shock to his mother who is well night pro-tracted. Jesse Caplinger was a most excellent young man and had his life been spared he would undoubtedly have won in time a commission in the army for he made a caerful study of everything with which he came in contact and had frequently been highly commended by his officers for his devotion to duty and his proficiency in fulfilling assigned tasks. His body will in time be sent home for burial by the government.
Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal Friday, 4-5-1901
Frank Caplinger sends The Journal the following self explanatory letter regarding the death of his brother, Sgt Jesse Caplinger of this city: Manila, PI - Feb 20 1901 - Mr. Frank Caplinger, New Market, Ind - Dear Sir; I suppose you have heard the sad news of your brother's death. Sgt. Jesse Caplinger was drowned in the Pasig river on the night of Feb 16, 1901. It is supposed he fell from the water closet, which is over the river in rear of the barracks, where he had been seen the same night about 10 o'clock. While looking over the letters of my dead friend I found one from you, and that is how I happen to be writing to you now, for I assure you I should not have read his letters if it was not my most unpleasant duty. Jesse had a great number of letters, all from one young lady. All the letters which he had received from this one party for over two years, I believe were kept. I only read two or three of these letters, for I saw that they were important to the two only. I burned them all. All of his business papers and his pictures and photos that I could find I sent to his mother, Mrs. M. Miles, Crawfordsville, Ind. Caplinger and I had always been friends since we knew each other. We were private soldiers and slept together at St. Augustine, FL when we were in the 1st regiment of artillery. We transferred to the 6th regiment and were afterwards comrades together. Every man in Battery A regrets the loss of our comrade, and it seems to me that I have lost a brother. Tuesday, Feb 20, Caplinger was to be examined to determine his fiitness for 2nd Lt, and would soon have been an officer in one of the native regiments. The clothing and other personal property of his will be sold, and the proceeds sent to his mother or nearest relatives. In deepest sympathy, I am yours sincerely, A. MacDonald Quartermaster, Sgt Battery A, 6th Artillery.
Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal, Wednesday, April 10 1901
Capt. Wilhite writes Entertaingly and GIves the Details of Sgt Caplinger's Death The family of Capt. CO Wilhite are in receipt of the following letter from him written at Manila, where he is stenographer for the Philippine commission: Manila, PI - Feb 25, 1901 - Dear Folks - As there is another mail going to the states on the 1st of March, I take this occasion to drop you a few lines to let you know of my whereabouts and general condition. I am in the same room, eat at the same place and work in the same office as at my last writing. Nothing has occurred that would be of any interest to you except the death by drowing of Sgt. Jesse C. Caplinger, which was a very regrettable affair and made me feel very much grieved for a time. He was a good friend of mine and seeking a commission in the regular army. He was to appear for examination before the board of officers organized for that purpose, next month. He was drowned on the 17th and his body was recovered on the 18th and buried the same day. In a place like this one misses an old friend much more than in the states, where friends are so many. Of course, I have found many friends here but not such as my old friends, such as 'Cap'. He was much liked in the battery, Battery A, 6th Heavy Artillery by both officers and men, and his death cast quite a gloom over the entire battery. He made the best quartermaster sergeant the battery has had, at least since Caplinger joined it. His death is something of a mystery to everyone in the battery. A special friend of Caplinger, Corporal Colwell, and an old 158th Indiana man, told me ... he said that Cap was vigilant in breaking up the practice of gambling among the natives at a small market just above the battery barracks on the Pasig River, on which stream the barracks are also located, and that he sometimes made excursions up there after night even when not on duty. Some think that he made an excursion up there to see if there was a game in progress, and that on his way back someone struck him on the head and knocked or pushed him into the river. Of course this is only an imaginary supposition and was coined on the strength of the fact there was a bruise on the side of his head. But even the fact of a bruise is not a certainty, it being a rumor that no one in the battery seemed to verify with any degree of certainty. He was not a man addicted to the excessive indulgence in intoxicants, and no one can believe that he fell in on his way to the market, if he went there though no one seems to know where he was. Just before tattoo or the night roll call, the sergeant of the guard saw him just outside the Sally Porte, or outer entrance, but when the sergeant made his check roll call after taps he was missing from his bunk. One of the sentinels claims to have seen a man sitting in the 'closet,' which is over the river and one end unprotected with his head resting on his hads as though asleep or in deep thought and a member of the 4th Infantry claims to have seen a man in a like position about the same time and sitting in the same place, but neither knew who the man was. In the edge of the river at this point the water is waiste (sic) deep and the bed slopes downward or rapidly that in going 8 or 10' farther out it is considerably over a man's head. It was said that he could not swim. When found he wore his brown uniform which has loops on the trousers to pass a belt through like bicycle pants, the belt was not fastened but hung loose in these loops, his coat was unbuttoned as was also two of his shirt buttons. For this reason, he is supposed to be the man seen by the sentry and the 4th Infantry man. It is supposed that he arose in his sleepy condition after sitting there a while and accidentally walked off the landing into the river, and the bed being so steep there, after falling in he made a sort of a dive, caused by the fall, which carried him into deep water, and being unable to swim was drowned. I did not see him before he was buried. In fact, he was buried before I knew of his death. He is the first Crawfordsville boy who has met his death in the Phillipines. Charles Bird, an old Co. M boy of the 34th Infantry goes home tomorrow on the Logan to be mustered out. You may see him before many moons. I called on him several times while he was here and gave him some letter paper, some evenlopes, some postage, stamps and some American thread and needles out of the lot you gave me and sent him on his way rejoicing in the thought that he was homeward bound. Since beginning this letter, I have made arrangements to change both my board and my room. In the transaction I will save $5 on my room rent and about $10 on my board. We are to join a "mess" for our meals at 118 Callie Real and our new room is on Callie Audiencia, both inside the walled city. Our new room is in a very pleasant and pretty locality overlooking the drill ground of the artillery. The wather is still very fine here and some tell me there is no terrors in the rainy season and that it is much exaggerated,. More stenographers came over on the Grant two of whom have been assigned to our office and this will make our own task much easier than it has been. I am very glad that I came over when I did, as I am now fourth stenographer in our office. Two of the boys are talking of going home and then I will be 2nd whereas if I had come on the Grant I would have lost this prestige. I am much amused at the fire department here. It is a hand cart system -- that is, pulling the hose cart by hand. We have waterworks and hence no fire enginer, as the buildings are generally but two stories high. The natives make no great rush in puling the cart to a fire; in fact, it seems of no importance to them. The chief carries the coupling wrench in a sheath in his belt and seems to stick to it like a soldier to his gun. Once, it is said, he chanced to leave the wrench behind when at a fire, and he walked as leisurely after it as though the fire would wait until his return for the water to be turned on. "We have had no rain yet and I am feeling very well and enjoying my stay on the island very much. In a letter written a few days previous to the foregoing, Mr. Wilhite says, "Jim McCall, an old Company M boy who went out with Capt. Allen's company is here in Manila on the police force, as is a boy named Holmes, also from Crawfordsville. Gen. MacArthur told me the other day that the 44th regiment, in which Harry Miller, Ollie Fry and all that Company M crowd enlisted will not come to Manila at all, but will be sent home directly from the island of Cebu, it being out of the way to bring them here!"
Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal 7 June 1902 p 4
Charles Wray received word this monring that the body of Jesse C. Caplinger, who was killed over a year ago in the Phillippines, would arrive here the first of next week for burial. Caplinger was found dead in a river and it was thought that he was muredered, the matter remaining a mystery. Further particulars will be obtained Monday.
Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal 13 June 1902 p 5
The body of Jesses Caplinger, who was drowned in the Phillippines on Feb 16th of last year arrived here this morning from San Francisco. The body lay at Carver's Undertaking establishment. At 7:30 a.m. Sunday the body will be taken to the Indian Creek Cemetery where a short service will be conducted by Rev. McCalip.
Source: Crawfordsville Daily News-Review June 19, 1902 p 1
“New Market item” – Jesse Caplinger’s remains passed through this place Sunday morning and were buried at the Indian Creek Cemetery. A large crowd was in attendance.
Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Friday, 20 June 1902
The interment of the body of Jesse Caplinger, who died in the Philippines about eighteen months ago, took place at the Indian Creek Hill Cemetery last Sunday morning.