Legion of Spanish War Veterans
Ritual of Initiation
The floor of the Camp shall be clear of all furniture other than that
necessary to carry out the work. The Camp colors should be in the sockets on a
line, about six feet apart, and about ten feet in front and centre of Commander’s
station. If the Camp possesses Guidons they will be displayed in the sockets, in
front and centre of guard-quarters.
Distances as laid down in this Manual may be changed to suit circumstances,
as halls vary both in size and shape.
The time having arrived for the opening of the Camp, the Commander will
notify the O.D. without ceremony, who will immediately post the O. G. and O. W.
and return to the centre of the Camp.
O.D.: Camp, fall in.
At this command the officers will take positions as follows:
on a line directly behind the color line, from left to right, Paymaster,
quartermaster, Junior Vice Commander, Commander, Senior Vice Commander,
Adjutant; the Commander slightly in advance, the O.D. about three paces in front
of, and facing Head-quarters. The Sergeant Major and quartermaster Sergeant take
position six paces in front of color line, and with a sufficient interval
between to allow of the passage of the color sergeants.
The Camp will form in column of fours, the Sergeant Major and quartermaster
Sergeant making the second and third men of the first four.
Having verified the formation, the O.D. faces the Commander, salutes and
says: Sir, the Camp is formed.
Commander: You will see if all present are entitled to remain
O.D. salutes, and faces about: By file, forward column, left,
The first file passes between the O.D. and the body of the Camp (the O.D.
having posted himself in front of and facing the last file); the second file
following immediately behind the first, until the Camp has re-formed in its
original position. As each Comrade passes the O.D., he will communicate the
password and grip; in case of failure to do so, the Comrade will be placed to
one side, until he is reported to the Commander. The Commander vouching for his
staff and visiting officers, the O.D. salutes and reports: Sir, all
present are entitled to remain or …
Comrades present are without the pass-word.
The Commander having made inquiry of the quarter Master, as to the standing
of the Comrade or Comrades, instructs him to communicate the pass-word, if the
Comrade or Comrades are in good standing, or directs the officer of the day to
escort Comrade or Comrades to the ante-room, if not eligible to remain.
Commander: O.D., what is your first duty?
O.D.: To see that the Camp is properly guarded, that no one may
pass the guard lines without proper authority.
Commander: Have you performed this duty?
O.D.: I have, sir.
Commander: You will escort the colors to the line.
O.D., facing about: Color Guard, fall in.
At this command the color sergeants and guard who will constitute the last
four; will take the colors from Guard-quarters and form in twos, in readiness to
march to head-quarters at the command.
O.D.: Forward March.
The color guard will march between the second and third files, halting one
pace in front of the color sockets.
The Commander will then step forward, and taking the national emblem in his
hand, will say: Comrades, behold the emblem of our national unity;
let its presence in this Camp ever admonish us to be loyal to the great
democracy which it represents; to be good citizens and true men, and never to
forget the many sacrifices which were made beneath its folds, ere it was enabled
to take its place among the flags of the nations of the world.
He then deposits flag in socket, and taking the naval emblem says: And
beside it place the ‘Jack’ in commemoration of the achievements of the
American Navy, which have been great and glorious, in all the wars this country
has undertaken, but more especially in this last war, which called this Legion
He deposits this flag in the other socket.
The Commander will then step back to his previous position and command: Camp,
If the Camp Bugler be present he will sound To the Colors, without further
At the completion of the salute, the O.D. says: Color guard, about
face, Forward, march. And on their arrival at guard
quarters he will order: Post. At which they
will resume their position in the column as before.
Commander: Camp, attention to the Chaplain.
O.D.: Camp, left face, parade rest.
Chaplain offers prayer as follows: Direct us, O Lord in all our
doings, with Thy most gracious favor, and further us with Thy continued help;
that in all our works begun, continued and ended in Thee, we may glorify Thy
holy name, now and forevermore, Amen.
O.. D.: Camp, attention, right face.
Commander: O.D., declare the Camp open.
O.D.: By order of the Commander I declare this Camp open for the
transaction of all business that may legally be brought before it.
Camp, fall out.
The Camp will then be seated, and proceed to its regular order of business.
Order of Business
Reading of the Records of previous meeting
Communications read and referred.
Applications for Membership read and referred.
Reports of Investigating Committees.
Balloting on proposed recruits.
Mustering of recruits.
Reports of Committees received and acted upon.
Good of the Order.
It is advisable that, before a recruit is presented for this ceremony, he
remove his outer garments, including outer linen, and that in place thereof he
wear such costume as shall be furnished by the camp. The surgeon should be
supplied with a stethoscope, or something that will convey the impression that
such an instrument is being used, a watch, two tin horns, one with tongue
removed, other in good condition, and a tape measure. The recruit should be
blindfolded during this ceremony. Camps may add to this ceremony at their own
discretion, provided no feature is introduced which will result in bodily or
mental harm to recruit.
Three raps at inner door.
Officer of the Guard: Who is there?
Officer of the Day: Officer of the Day with recruit.
O. G.: Commander: Officer of the Day with recruit.
Com.: Admit them.
Officer of the Day and recruit enter and march around hall until arrival at
point opposite Commander’s station. thence towards Commander’s station,
halting about centre of hall.
Com.: Halt! Who is there?
O.D.: Officer of the Day with recruit, sir.
Com.: Who is this recruit ?
O.D.: His name is …
Com.: What does he desire?
O.D.: He desires admission into the Camp.
Com.: By what right does he make this request?
O.D.: By reason of having served in the U. S. army (or navy)
during the Spanish-American War.
Com.: In what organization does he claim to have served?
O.D.: In … (Give organization or ship.)
Com.: Are you positive that he has thus served?
O.D.: No, Sir. But he comes here highly recommended by comrades of
Com.: Very well. But before proceeding further it is necessary
that the recruit be examined as to his physical fitness to become a member of
this camp. … (Name) are you willing to
undergo such an examination by the surgeon of this camp?
Recruit: I am, sir.
Com.: Officer of the Day, you will conduct the recruit to the
station of the surgeon. Officer of the Day salutes,
faces recruit aid marches around hall. The surgeon takes position, with
equipments, in centre of ball, and, when ready, the Officer of the Day
approaches with recruit.
O.D.: Sir, by order of the Commander, and with his compliments, I
present to you for physical examination …, who desires admission to this camp.
Surg.: Officer of the Day, you will prepare the recruit for
examination. The Officer of the Day removes surplus
dress and equipment recruit may have carried, turns down inside shirt
preparatory to examination of chest and lungs; also removing headgear but still
leaving the recruit blindfolded. A good man acting as surgeon can improve on the
following, but without injury to the recruit.
O.D.: Sir, the recruit is prepared for examination.
Surg.: Officer of the Day, you will kindly take notes.
Surg., to Recruit: What is your full name
Surg.: In what organization did you serve during the late war?
Recruit : In … (Gives organization or
Surg.: Where were you enlisted ?
Recruit: At …
Surg.: What, in your opinion, is the state of your health at
Recruit: Good, sir.
Surg.: I will see. Is your eyesight good ?
Recruit: Yes, sir.
Surg.: Can you see me?
Recruit (blindfolded): No, sir.
Surg.: Officer of the Day, O.D., V.—O. O.D.,S.—O.
Surg. to Recruit: Is your hearing good?
Recruit: Yes, sir.
Surg., placing watch to Recruit’s ear: Can you hear this watch
Recruit: Yes, sir.
Surg., placing the watch back in pocket: Can you hear it now?
Recruit: No, sir.
8urg.: Officer of the Day, hearing very bad.
Surg. to Recruit: Extend your arms and breathe deeply. Surgeon
measures Recruit’s chest with tape measure. Inspiration 25,
Expiration 24; something wrong here. Proceeds to
examine chest whit stethoscope and by slight pounding on chest and back. Very
weak lungs. Takes good horn from table and blows a loud
Surg.: Can you heir that?
Recruit: Yes Sir.
Surg. takes useless horn from table and places it in hand of Recruit:
Very well, now you take it and blow as loud a blast as you can. Recruit
tries ineffectually to make a noise. Surgeon takes horn away.
Surg.: That will do—Lungs are in much worse condition than I
Surg., to Commander: Commander, I have partially examined this
recruit and from what I have found out there is no need for me to continue
further. His general appearance is very bad, as you can readily see. His
eyesight is almost entirely gone, he not being able to see me at a distance of
only two feet. His hearing is very bad indeed, he not being able to heir a watch
tick except it be held close against his ear. But what concerns me most, and
leads me to suspect this man of not being what he represents himself, is the
condition of his chest and lungs. I have been a practicing physician for over
fifty years, serving in many hospitals and treating numerous cases, and I will
stake my professional reputation that this man never was, and never could have
been in the service of the United States during the Spanish-American War.
Therefore, Mr. Commander, I denounce and accuse this man of being a spy,
endeavoring to gain admittance to this camp in order to become familiar with the
workings of this organization, and I respectfully request that a board of
officers be immediately convened in general court to determine the punishment to
be meted out to this spy.
Com.: Surgeon, I am astonished that your report on this recruit is
so unfavorable. In glancing over his application I find he is highly recommended
by two comrades of this camp. He must, indeed, have perjured himself greatly to
obtain the signatures of two such honorable comrades. One of the first teachings
of our organization is that no comrade shall, by word or act, do anything to
injure another comrade or his family, in his person or in his reputation. By
your prompt action in calling to my attention the physical defects of the
recruit, you have opened the eyes of this camp to his many defects, and it gives
me pleasure to act promptly on your request. Officer of the Day, you will place
the recruit under arrest. The officers of this camp are hereby ordered to
convene in general court to hear the testimony and prescribe the punishment to
be meted out to the prisoner.
O.D.: Guards, seize this man and convey him to the guard quarters.
If camps desire,
another opportunity is offered hereto add to the pleasure of the evening by
placing the candidate on trial before the members of the court. Nothing harmful,
morally or otherwise, should be indulged in, but the candidate should be
impressed with the object of this initiation ceremony—That the feeling of true
comradeship should prevail at all times throughout the organization, and that
lying, cheating, or any other moral or physical abuse, will not at any time be
tolerated. While this portion of the ceremony is proceeding the Officer of the
Day will prepare wet paper balls, placing them behind table in centre of hall,
for use of guards.
Com.: Officer of the Day, you will bring tie prisoner before the
court. The Officer of the Day places the prisoner about
four feet from table in centre of hall, facing Commander.
Com.: …, the officers of this camp, in general court assembled,
have considered the charges against you and have found you guilty. Adjutant, you
will read the findings of the court.
Adj.: …, you have, by methods entirely foreign to this
organization, obtained the signatures of two good and loyal comrades to your
application blank. Although in poor physical condition, you have endeavored to
gain admittance to this camp by using same. The board of officers, in general
court assembled, have carefully considered the evidence in your case and have
unanimously found you guilty of being a spy. The sentence of the court is that
you shall immediately be shot.
Com.: Officer of the day, do your duty. The
Officer of the Day salutes, faces recruit to the right,
and, accompanied by slow music, marches once around hall, halting recruit at
point about two paces from table in centre of hall. A poncho should now be
wrapped about recruit, but leaving face exposed, eyes still blindfolded.
O.D.: Guard, Fall in. Guards fall in
directly in front of station of the Officer of the day. Forward,
March. Guards proceed
forward, dividing to right and left on passing recruit and table in centre of
hall. When beyond table, towards station of Commander, the Officer of the Day
commands: Guard, Halt—About Face. He
then turns toward recruit and says: …,
have you anything to say as to why the sentence of this court should not be
carried out? (This will be cue for guard to arm themselves with ammunition,
consisting of wet paper, tissue paper preferred.
The recruit, presumably responds: No, sir.
O.D.: Then may the Lord have mercy on you. Guard, Ready, Aim,
Fire. The guard
should be careful to fire at command, and aim to hit exposed portion of face of
recruit. At completion of execution guard is dismissed and the Officer of the
day removes poncho and blind Fold from the eyes of the recruit. A towel would be
very acceptable at this time.
Com.: …, the object of this initiation ceremony is to impress on
your mind that punishment, dire and swift, will be meted out to the comrade who,
by his words or actions, violates the laws of this organization. Let the lesson
sink deeply into your heart, and prove by your future actions that it has not
been taught in vain. Officer of the Day, you will now repair, with the recruit,
to the ante-room and prepare him for the ceremony of Muster In.
Muster In of Recruits
Having reached the mustering of recruits in the order of business, the O.D.
will immediately upon its announcement take post in the centre of the Camp
facing the Commander and salute:
Commander: O.D., you will retire to the ante-room, and ascertain
if there are any recruits awaiting muster.
O.D. retires and on returning announces to the Commander the number of
recruits and their names.
Commander: O.D., you will take a detail and after having the ‘intention’
of the recruits duly expressed and witnessed, will present them to me for
O.D. selects detail and marches same to ante-room, he then causes the
recruits to raise their right hands and give assent to the following:
1. You the recruit here pronounces his name in full
upon your honor as a soldier (or sailor) declare in the presence of these
witnesses that it is your earnest desire to be received as a member of the
Legion of Spanish War Veterans?
2. That you have served honestly and faithfully in the war with Spain and
have received a full and honorable discharge, (or are still in the service.)
3. That you will, if admitted to membership, conform to the c6nstitution and
laws of the Legion, the by-laws of this or any other Camp, of which you may be a
member, and the orders of all officers elected or appointed over you, given in
the proper discharge of their duties.
The recruit will signify his assent to the foregoing by saying I do, after
which he will drop his hand.
The O.D. will then signify his readiness to enter the Camp-room by giving
three distinct knocks on the door.
The O.G. will then announce: Officers of the day with recruits for
Commander: Admit the O.D. with recruits. *
* *. At the discretion of the Commander the comrades may sing one stanza of ‘America’.
O.D. will then conduct the recruits around the hall to a position in front of
Commander, rising, *: O.D., who is there?
O.D. saluting: Mr. Commander, I present to you … gives
name or names who desires (or desire) admission to this Camp. He (or
they) has (or have) served honorably during the war with Spain, and is (or are)
highly recommended by comrades of this Camp.
Commander: Has his (or their) applications taken the regular
course, and has he (or they) been duly elected, and has he (or they) expressed a
desire to become a comrade (or comrades) of the L. of S. W.V.?
O.D.: He has (or they have).
J.V. Commander, rising: Recruits, you are now to be instructed in
loyalty. Having given the nation sublime proof of your loyalty, be it now your
duty to preserve and promote that spirit in the actions of your fellow citizens.
You have been loyal in your country’s defence, now be as loyal to its civil
institutions, and to this order, of which you are about to be a member.
S.V. Commander, rising: Recruits, having suffered the pain and
hardships incident to honorable service in time of war, you are now to unite in
fraternal bonds with those who have likewise served. In your conduct to all you
will now exemplify that which should be supremne in every veteran’s breast,
The O.D. will then conduct the recruits to the station of the Chaplain.
Chaplain, rising: Recruits, be it your duty henceforth to assist
your sick and needy comrades, and their dependent relatives, to look with a
forgiving eye upon their failings and to be glad of their successes. To remember
ever that though a soldier of the flag you are nevertheless a soldier of the
cross. This sentiment is charity.
The O.D. will then conduct the recruits in single file around the hall to a
position in front of and facing Headquarters.
Commander, * * *: Such being your desire and intention, F do
hereby on behalf of the L. of S W. V. accept you as a member (or members).
Commander to O.D.: O.D., you will place the recruit (or recruits)
in the proper position to receive the obligation.
The O.D., if there is but one recruit, causes him to grasp the folds of the
National color with his left hand, his right hand uplifted. If more than one,
the others will place their left hands upan the shoulders of the men on their
left, with their right hands uplifted.
Commander: You will repeat after me, using your name where I do
mine, the following obligation: I, ... do solemnly promise and swear that I
will, according to the best of my ability, strive to advance the objects and
purpose of the Legion of Spanish War Veterans, and to promote the interests of
this and all other Camps of which I may be a member; I further promise and swear
that I will conform to and obey the Constitution, laws and regulations of the
Legion, the by-laws and rules of the Division and Camp of which I may be a
member, and the lawful orders of all officers elected or appointed over me,
given in the proper discharge of their duties. So help me God.
You may now drop your hands.
Commander, advancing from his post: Comrade, having received the
obligations of the order, it now becomes my duty to communicate to you the grip
and countersign of the Legion. Gives it.
The O.D. takes same from each one so as to insure accuracy.
In case of stress of business the ceremony may be concluded at this point by
ihe introduction of the newly mustered comrade to the Camp.
If, however, the time will permit, the following information may be imparted
by the Commander, or, if he so choses, by some past Commander of the Camp.
My Comrades, for now I can so term you, I congratulate you on having so far
successfully passed the ordeal of muster into this Camp. There are several
things to which I will now bring your notice. In every Camp of the Legion you
will see prominently displayed these two colors. The one on my right, the emblem
of our national unity, whose presence in this camp should ever admonish us to be
loyal to the great democracy which it represents, to be good citizens and true
men, nor to forget the heroic sacrifice so freely made beneath its folds, which
was necessary before it could take its place among the flags of nations. The
other, the naval Jack, is placed here, in commemoration of the great
achievements of the American Navy, in every war the country has undertaken, but
more especially in the last one, which called the Legion into being. These you
will salute on entering or leaving the Camp. You do not salute the Chair. The
pass word given you in secret must be kept so. Remember it carefully and guard
it well, as by it you are identified as a comrade in good standing in any Camp
of the Legion. It must be given only to gain admission to the Camp or when
required by the O.D. through order of the Commander. This word is changed from
time to time, in order that those who are delinquent in their dimes shall not
have the privilege of active membership. You should therefore never divulge it,
even to a comrade of your own Camp, as he may not be in good standing.
The great objects we expect to attain by our association in the Legion of
Spanish War Veterans, are as follows:
I. To perpetuate and strengthen the bonds of comradeship among those who have
2. To establish and create the same fraternal relations among those whom the
chances of war assigned to widely different scenes of action, who are now united
under our colors.
3. To honor the memory and preserve from neglect and oblivion the last
resting place of the dead.
4. To perpetuate the history of the war with Spain, and to collect and
preserve the records of the individual service of the members of this Camp.
5. To assist all needy comrades, their widows, orphans or dependent
6. To represent and demonstrate to the people of the United States the
interests of all veterans and in all lawful and dignified ways to urge the
enactment of such legislation as will secure the comrades such honors,
privileges and exemptions as may appear justly due.
7. To inculcate loyalty to our country, reverence to its institutions,
obedience to its laws, and respect for its magistrates, and to discountenance
whatever tends to weaken these sentiments among our people.
As the last step in completing the ceremony of your muster-in, the O.D. will
conduct you to the desk of the adjutant, whereby, affixing your signature to the
Constitution of the Legion and the By-Laws of … Camp, you have become an
enrolled member and entitled to all its rights and privileges.
O.D. conducts candidates to desk of adjutant, and on finding that all have
signed, he returns with them to the Commander’s station.
O.D. introduces candidates.
Candidates are then conducted to seats.
Closing Ceremony for Camp
Commander: O.D., prepare to close the Camp.
O.D.: Camp, Fall in.
Camp will fall in, along the side (opposite and facing the chaplain) in
double rank. The officers will stand at their respective stations.
O.D.: Right dress, Front, resumes
position, faces Commander, and salutes.
Commander: O.D., what is your last duty?
O.D.: To visit the outposts and instruct the sentinels to permit
all comrades to pass at the conclusion of our ceremonies
Commander: You will do so.
O.D. retires and communicates the orders to the O.G. and W., then returns to
his post (centre of room, facing Head-quarters), and reports: Sir,
your order has been executed.
Commander: Attention to Chaplain.
O.D.: Camp, parade rest.
Chaplain offers closing prayer, as follows: Oh Thou, great
Commander, whom all must obey, look with a kindly eye upon this gathering.
Remember in mercy our comrades departed, and grant that all that has been done
here this night shall be to the glory of Thy name, of the nation we fought for,
and of the Legion we love, Amen.
Commander: O.D., escort the colors from the line.
O.D.: Camp, attention, color guard fall in, forward march.
The Commander will step forward and take the colors from the sockets and pass
them to the color sergeants.
O.D.: Color guard, about face.
Bugler, sound retreat, and at the last note of the
Commander: Camp salute.
O.D.: Color guard, forward march, and, at
arriving at guard-quarters: Case colors. O.D.
will then return to his post.
Commander: O.D., declare the Camp closed.
O.D.: Bugler, sound Taps, and at the last
By order of the Commander I hereby declare this Camp closed until its next
regular meeting unless sooner called together on some special emergency, of
which due notice will be given. The Camp is dismissed.