The San Franciscans who commissioned this monument dedicated in 1903 to the valor of California's soldiers in the Spanish American War evidently didn't share the contemporary sense that death in war is a terrible waste. Hence the detail in the photo. Those who commissioned the memorial were apparently wildly enthusiastic about the 1898 conquest of the Philippines and Cuba and thought the war worth the price of some of their young men. Where we see squandered lives, they saw heroism.
The United States lost a little over 3200 soldiers and sailors in that adventure, nearly 3000 of those to disease.
The young Frank Sidway cut a handsome figure in his dress uniform. I never knew him; he died, as a 68 year old civilian, a decade before I was born.