A native of Chicago, Frederick Wild began his military career in 1887 after a two-year stint in the Illinois National Guard. During the next seventeen years, Wild served in the American West, in Cuba, and in the Philippines. He moved up in rank from Private to Second Lieutenant by 1890 and was promoted to Captain in 1899. Wild served as a company commander in the 13th U. S. Infantry fighting in the Philippines against the Spanish and, then, Filipino insurgents. Although he demonstrated abilities on the battlefield and as an administrator, Wild was court-martialed and reprimanded for his recalcitrance toward civilian authorities.
The papers in this collection provide information about Wild's family background and his career, and offer important insights into the United States' involvement in the Philippines. In 38 letters written to his parents, Wild describes the misery of the jungle climate and the difficulty in fighting a guerrilla war. He revels in his battlefield success, but complains about the tedium of daily army life, his lack of recognition, and his distaste for U. S. policy in dealing with the insurgents.
Patricia Tarsitano of Danville, Ill., donated the collection to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1986. Tarsitano's husband had grown up in the Chicago home formerly owned by Wild's parents.