Remembering Dorchester May 30, 2018

This 1955 photo was taken of the Peachblossom Elementary School’s 5th grade class. Do you see anybody you know? Maybe you are one of these kids. It was taken from the Cambridge Maryland Memories Facebook Page and was posted by Mary Etta Creighton.

This 1955 photo was taken of the Peachblossom Elementary School’s 5th grade class. Do you see anybody you know? Maybe you are one of these kids. It was taken from the Cambridge Maryland Memories Facebook Page and was posted by Mary Etta Creighton.

From the pages of The Banner

49 years ago

One of the great heroes of the Spanish-American War (1898-1900) was Major Henry A. “Hal” Barber, Dorchester-born son of the Rev. Theodore P. Barber and Anna C. Hooper of Cambridge. He attended Episcopal High School of Virginia, later joining the U.S. Army in Baltimore as a private on March 5, 1885.

He was determined to win an officer’s commission – a pretty difficult assignment in those days. On July 1, 1898, as lieutenant of the Ninth Cavalry, he was “the first man up San Juan Hill.”

This supporting statement was made through a letter of the late Dr. Nathan R. Gorter of Baltimore to our comrade Hal Barber. It is as follows:
“My dear Hal,
On the 29th of September, 1898, I was called to see Mr. Robert Baker, who was a soldier in the Sixth Cavalry, and who, just before his death, gave me an account of the San Juan fight which should interest you, as you were the officer who wore the white helmet.

“Baker said, ‘I want to tell you of the most heroic thing in the Spanish War. We were all lying in the grass, at the foot of San Juan Hill.
‘I was in the Sixth Cavalry; on our left was the Seventy-First, New York, behind them a regiment of regular infantry, which charged over the Seventy-First, the men of which lay upon their faces.

‘Two companies of this regiment, however, went up with us. To the right was the Ninth Cavalry, a negro regiment, the Tenth Cavalry.
‘The bullets were ringing around us and no one dared to lift his head, when suddenly, a young man sprang from the ranks of the Ninth Cavalry; he ran 50 yards ahead of his men – took off his helmet, put it upon his sabre and stood, a target, with Spanish bullets hailing around him.

‘Boys, will you follow me?’

‘The negroes shouted back, ‘We will.’

‘He then gave a yell and led up the hill, we, with the Rough Riders and the Tenth, closing in behind them. That young man was a lieutenant…and he led with his helmet on his sabre.

‘He was the only man who wore a white helmet, and he was on San Juan Hill fully 50 yards ahead of anyone else.’

“I send this thinking it may some day be of use to you. With kind regards, believe me, very sincerely yours, ‘Nathan R. Gorter’

And this is the story of one of our great heroes, Major “Hal” Barber, who is buried in Christ Church graveyard.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 9th Cavalry Regiment still exists. It includes active duty reconnaissance units of the United States Army.
It was constituted on July 21, 1866 as Company D, 9th Cavalry, and was composed originally of African-American servicemen. Later, the unit came to be known as “Buffalo Soldiers.”

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