Library of Congress

Early Motion Pictures

Item 1 of 1

Troops embarking at San Francisco

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United States : Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1898.


38256 U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright: Thomas A. Edison; 22Jun1898; 38256.

Duration: 0:52 at 15 fps.

Photographed: May 13, 1898. Location: Pacific Mail Steamship Company Dock, San Francisco.

This film shows troops of the First Regiment, California Volunteers, boarding the Pacific Mail steamer City of Peking to serve in the Philippine theater of the Spanish-American War. The film was shot at the Pacific Mail Steamship Company Dock between 10:50am and 1:50pm on Friday, May 13, 1898. The dock was located at First Street between Brannan and Townsend streets, and is now a segment of First Street called Delancey Street in the newly- developed South Beach neighborhood. The camera is probably facing north, from the shade of the pier into bright sunshine. The film begins with flag-waving relatives in the foreground [15955] that seem more interested in the camera than in the departing soldiers. The troops are seen climbing the gangplank with full travel kits and rifles [16377]. As the crowd watches the troops, at least one woman raises a handkerchief to her eyes [16413]. In the bright background between the ascending soldiers, troops are seen lining the ship's rails and a lifeboat is visible [16705]. On this midday, over a thousand troops boarded the City of Peking after marching across San Francisco from their bivouac at the Presidio army base. An estimated thirty thousand people watched the embarkation from the Pacific Mail Dock and several nearby piers. After loading, the steamer pulled out into San Francisco Bay and re- anchored, awaiting the loading of two more steamers, the Australia and the Sydney, with the Oregon Volunteers and US Army regulars. The fleet departed for the Philippines on Sunday, May 15th. Built in 1874, the City of Peking was a long-serving 5,070-ton steamer of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. The ship made 116 round trips between San Francisco and Hong Kong before being scrapped in 1920.

Received: 6/22/1898; paper pos; copyright deposit Paper Print Collection.

Spanish-American War, 1898.
Soldiers--United States--California.
Ships--California-- San Francisco.
Piers--California-- San Francisco.
San Francisco (Calif.)

Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) DLC

1 roll (70 ft) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. paper pos.

LC 65 (paper pos)