The federal volunteer regiments that fought in the Philippine insurgency from 1899 to 1901 were the product of intense political infighting, negotiation and compromise at the highest levels of the American government. Oddities among military units, these regiments were neither state militia r regular army. They were national units filled with state volunteers. The federal volunteer regiments were fleeting organizations. They had history and future. Not only did they lack unit legacies to inspire their soldiers; they were disbanded within two years of their creation. Yet, in 1899, 1900 and 1901, the United States Volunteer regiments bore the preponderance of the American national effort in the Philippines. By following one of these federal volunteer regiments from inception, though deployment and employment, to demobilization we can learn about our past as well as find lessons that may apply to the present. The existence and success of volunteer regiments that were federally raised, organized, trained and led points to the efficacy of American democratic processes to create the right kind of forces for difficult conflicts. Meanwhile the specific experiences of the 32nd Infantry Regiment (United States Volunteers) provide important lessons about manning, training, and fighting with volunteer soldiers in a counterinsurgency.