The original First Infantry was first organized under Resolve of Congress of date June 3, 1784, to serve twelve months, and was continued by subsequent Resolves until it was recognized by the Act of September 29, 1789, as the "Regiment of Infantry" in the service of the United States. The Act of April 30, 1790, more fully completed its organization and when a second regiment was formed under the Act of March 3, 1791, the older organization became the "First Regiment of Infantry."*
Brevet Brigadier General Josiah Harmar was the first "lieutenant colonel commandant" of the regiment and commanded it until his resignation in 1792. He was also "General in Chief of the Army," and in that capacity conducted the expedition against the Miami Indians in Ohio in September and October, 1790. His regiment was with him, Captain John Armstrong and a detachment of 30 men taking part in the engagement on the Miami River, October 19; and a detachment of 60 men under Major Wyllys being engaged, October 22, near the same place. In this action Major Wyllys was killed.
Arthur St. Clair, Who had been a major general in the Revolutionary Army was appointed "General in Chief " in March, 1791, superseding Harmar.
St. Clair in his turn proceeded against the Miamis, and was even more thoroughly defeated than Harmar had been, suffering a loss in killed and wounded of nearly 900 out of his total strength of 1400. The battle took place near the sources of the Maumee of the Lakes, and the fugitive army did not halt until safely within the palisades of Fort Jefferson, 29 miles to the rear, where the First Infantry, about 300 strong, was found in garrison.
The Act of March 5, 1792, gave the army a new organization, with the title of "Legion of the United States." The Legion provided for a total strength of 5120 officers and men and was divided into four "sub-legions," each of which was composed of one troop of dragoons, one company of artillery, two battalions of infantry and one of riflemen, each battalion having four companies. The First Infantry was merged into the First Sublegion.
The Legion participated in the Battle of the Maumee Rapids under General Wayne, August 20, 1794, in which the Indians were utterly defeated and disheartened. The First Sub-legion was at this time commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. F. Hamtranck [sic], and among the officers mentioned by General Wayne in his report of the battle as deserving special mention,
* See page 40 of the "Historical Register of the U. S. Army," F. B. Heitman, Washington, 1890. Also, Appendix "First Infantry-A Correction."
were Colonel Hamtranck, Captain Prior, and Lieutenant W. H. Harrison (afterwards President of the U. S.) all of the First Sub-legion.
The Act of May 30, 1796, discontinued the Legion, and the line of the military establishment was made to consist of the "Artillerists and Engineers," two companies of dragoons, and four regiments of infantry, the First Sub-legion resuming its old designation of the "First Regiment of Infantry." Colonel Hamtranck was continued as the lieutenant-colonel commandant of the regiment until the reorganization of 1802, when he became its first full colonel. He died April 11, 1803, while commandant of Detroit and its dependencies.
Colonel Hamtranck had the faculty of inspiring men with confidence, and although he was a rigid disciplinarian, was beloved by his men, for he was kindhearted, generous and brave. The officers under his command placed a stone upon his grave, which is in the grounds attached to St. Anne's Orphan Asylum at Detroit, as a "grateful tribute to his merit and his worth."
In the year 1803, the Government determined to explore the newly acquired territory, known as the Louisiana purchase, as far as the course and sources of the Missouri River are concerned, and to determine upon the feasible water communication to the Pacific Ocean. To accomplish these purposes, the Lewis and Clarke expedition was organized by the President. Captain Meriwether Lewis, the head of this expedition, was an officer of the regiment, and at the time secretary to the President, Thomas Jefferson. The party proceeded in boats from St. Louis, examining the country along the Missouri river to its sources, thence through the Rocky Mountains and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. The expedition set out on May 14th, 1804, and reached St. Louis on its return, September 23, 1806.
In 1807, Captain Lewis was appointed Governor of Louisiana, and by his firm but just conduct, soon harmonized the various factions which at one time threatened serious trouble in the territory. Captain Lewis inherited hypochondria, and whilst suffering under a temporary derangement of mind, he put an end to his life, while en route from St. Louis to Washington, in September, 1809.
For many years following General Wayne's victory the Indians appear to have given little or no trouble. and the regiment remained in garrison at Detroit and vicinity until the outbreak of the War of 1812.
On the 25th of July, 1812, the first blood of the War of 1812 was shed in a skirmish not far from Detroit, and in August General Hull sent an expedition from that place to open communication with the River Raisin and to escort an expected supply train into Detroit. Among the troops so sent were two detachments of the First Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant D. Stansbury and Ensign R. A. McCabe. The enemy was met at Maguaga, August 9, and defeated, yet the troops were recalled to Detroit without accomplishing anything farther, and on the 16th of the same month were included in Hull's disgraceful surrender of the troops under his command.
Heald's Company of the First Infantry was at this time stationed at Fort Dearborn (now Chicago), and Captain Heald had received orders from General Hull to evacuate his station, distribute the government
property among the Indians, and proceed to Detroit. He obeyed orders but had hardly begun his march (August 15) when he was attacked by ten times his force of Indians, and after two-thirds of his men had been killed or wounded was forced to surrender.
Later in the year (September 5 to 8) the Indians attacked Fort Madison, a short distance from the present city of St. Louis. Lieutenants Hamilton and Vasques of the First Infantry with a small detachment of the regiment garrisoned the fort, and after a gallant defense drove the enemy away.
A general "Return of the Army" of date Ju1y 1, 1814, reports the First Infantrv, 214 strong, as under orders to join the "Division of the Right," which garrisoned the Lake frontier from Buffalo to Sacketts Harbor, and it is probable that the detachment of 99 men under Captain John Campbell, First Infantry, which was attacked by the Sac and Fox Indians while in boats near the mouth of Rock River on the Mississippi, was moving in obedience to these instructions. The detachment lost 36 in killed and wounded.
The regiment joined General Brown's army on the Niagara River on the day of the battle of Niagara, July 25, 1814, and during the action was not attached to either brigade. At this time it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel R. C. Nicholas, as its colonel—Jacob Kingsbury—was the inspector general of the military department in which it was serving. The regiment took part also in the siege of Fort Erie,—August 1 to September 17, 1814.
The war had no sooner come to an end than the army was reduced (Act of March 3, 1815) to a total of 10,000 men, to consist of artillery, infantry and riflemen, in such proportions as the President should judge proper. He fixed the proportion by the order of May 17, 1815, at one regiment of light artillery, the Corps of Artillery (32 companies), 8 regiments of infantry and one of riflemen. Special pains appear to have been taken in this reorganization to prevent any continuance in the new organizations of the regimental traditions of the old, for not a single regiment of infantry retained its original number. The First Infantry of the preceding pages became a part of the new Third Infantry, while the old Second, Third, Seventh and Forty-fourth, were united to form the new First Infantry. The old Fourth went into the new Fifth; the Fifth into the Eighth; the Sixth into the Second, and the Eighth into the Seventh.
The present First Regiment of Infantry was organized pursuant to Act of March 3, 1815, and General Orders of date May 17, 1815, from the Second, Third, Seventh and Forty-fourth Regiments of Infantry, and was assigned to duty in the Division of the South with headquarters at Pass Christiana, La. Not one officer of the old First Infantry was assigned to it nor were any from the old Second or Seventh, although the reorganization order would seem to require it. Seventeen officers of the 3d and 44th Regiments which had so recently greatly distinguished themselves at the battle of New Orleans, were so assigned, and the remainder were apparently selected from the army at large.
Brigadier General Daniel Bissell was retained in the army with reduced
rank, being made colonel of the First with the brevet of brigadier-general. Lieutenant Colonel George Croghan, who afterwards became the inspector general of the army, was made the lieutenant-colonel; and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Thomas K. Jesup, who was afterwards quartermaster general was the major.
The Act of March 2, 1821, again reduced the army, the ordnance and artillery being consolidated into four regiments, the number of infantry regiments reduced to seven, and the rifle regiment being disbanded.
General Bissell left the service and was succeeded by Colonel Talbot Chambers. Lieutenant Colonel Croghan had resigned in 1817 and had had several successors; Lieutenant Colonel Z. Taylor was now assigned to the regiment. Major Jesup had been promoted in 1817 to the Third and had been succeeded by Major R. Whartenby, who now retained his place as major of the regiment. Many changes also took place in the lower grades.
The headquarters of the First Infantry were established at Baton Rouge, La., and appear to have remained in Louisiana until 1828, when the regiment relieved the Fifth at Fort Crawford (Prairie du Chien), Fort Snelling, and Fort Winnebago (Green Bay). In 1831 the garrison of Fort Winnebago was moved to Fort Armstrong (Rock Island, Ill.).
The Black Hawk War of 1832 took place in the region garrisoned by the First, and Companies A, B, G and K were with General Atkinson at the battle of the Bad Axe, August 2, 1832. In this action Major Bliss commanded the battalion, and Colonel Taylor, who was now the colonel of the regiment, the brigade to which it was attached.
In 1837 the regiment was transferred to Florida and, with the exception of Company C, was present at the battle of Okeechobee, December 25, 1837. On this occasion Colonel Taylor commanded the entire force engaged, and Lieutenant Colonel Davenport the regiment, which was held in reserve until the action was nearly over in this report Colonel Taylor says:
Early in 1840 General Taylor requested to be relieved from duty in
Florida, and his request was granted to take effect on the 1st of May. The regiment was still in Florida in November of that year, but early in the summer of 1841 returned to its old stations,—Forts Winnebago, Snelling, Crawford and Atkinson,—in the northwest. General Taylor was given higher command from this time forward and his immediate connection with the regiment ceased, so that when Lieutenant Colonel Davenport was promoted to the Sixth in 1842 and was desirous of remaining with the First, a mutual transfer was arranged and Colonel Davenport became the colonel of the First in July, 1843. In 1845 regimental headquarters were moved to Jefferson Barracks, and the regiment garrisoned that station and Fort Scott, Mo.
During the Mexican War a part of the regiment continued to garrison these stations and Fort Snelling, but Companies C, E, G and K, under Lieutenant Colonel Henry Wilson, joined General Taylor in Northern Mexico and did gallant service at the capture of Monterey. In this battle Colonel Wilson commanded a brigade and Captain Abercrombie the battalion, which suffered a loss of 43 officers and men killed or wounded. Lieutenant Territt was killed, Lieutenant Dilworth mortally wounded, and Captains Abercrombie and Lamotte were wounded.
When General Taylor sent all his regulars to join General Scott early in the year 1847, this battalion went with them and was present at the siege of Vera Cruz (March 9 to 28, 1847), and was afterwards designated as the garrison of the City and Castle, where it remained until the end of the war. It was then stationed upon the line of the Rio Grande where it remained for many years.
On the 31st of January, 1850, Colonel Davenport resigned from the army and was succeeded by Brevet Major General Bennett Riley, who was then commanding the military department of Upper California. General Riley died June 9, 1853, and was succeeded by Colonel Joseph Plympton.
In January, 185o, the regiment garrisoned Forts Merrill, McIntosh, Duncan and Ringgold Barracks, and early in this year the Indians became very troublesome, murdering settlers and stealing stock, and many attempts were made to punish them.
Captain King of the First, commanding at Fort McIntosh, sent Lieutenant Hudson, with a detachment of Company G in pursuit of Indian horse thieves, April 3, 1850. They encountered a party of Indians on the 7th and had a severe fight in which one soldier was killed and Lieutenant Hudson and three men were wounded.
Captain Plummer of the First, commanding at Fort Merrill, sent out Lieutenant Underwood with a sergeant and 12 men June 8, 1850, to open a direct road between that post and Laredo. He met and exchanged shots with Indians on the 8th, and on the 12th had a fight with them in which he was wounded and seven of his men were killed or wounded.
From this time until the year 1856 there appears to have been little of interest in the history of the regiment.
In September, 1856, a scouting party from Fort Clark, which included Captain Gilbert and 18 men of Company B, surprised three parties of In-
dians near the junction of the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers, killing four and wounding four of them.
In July, 1857, the Indians, numbering from 80 to 100, attacked a mail escort from the 8th Infantry, and a wood party consisting of a sergeant and six men of the 1st Infantry, at a place called the "Ripples."
A detachment of 40 men of the 1st Infantry at Fort Lancaster under Lieutenants Haskell and Sherburne, with 40 men of the Eighth from Fort Davis, was sent out against them. The men were placed in the wagons and the column was given the appearance of a provision train. The ruse was successful and the Indians, supposed to be Mescalero Apaches, attacked the train, July 24, 1857, and were driven off with loss.
Lieutenant J. E. Powell, 1st Infantry, left Fort Arbuckle February 23 1859, with a detachment composed of men from Companies D and E, 1st Cavalry, and E, 1st Infantry, in pursuit of Comanche Indians. He met and defeated them the next day, killing five, with a loss of three men wounded, one mortally.
On May 7, 1860, Sergeant T. G. Dennin, Company K, 1st Infantry, in command of the escort to a train going to Fort Lancaster, was attacked by 40 or 50 mounted Indians, who were repulsed. The sergeant and party were commended for their courage and cool judgment.
Colonel Plympton died June 5, 1860, and was succeeded by Colonel Carlos A. Waite, who, on the 1st of January, 1861, had his headquarters with a part of his regiment at Fort Chadbourne, Texas. The other companies were then at Fort Lancaster, Camp Cooper and Camp Verde, in Texas, and at Forts Cobb and Arbuckle in the Choctaw Nation.
Texas seceded from the Union, February 1, 1861, and appointed commissioners to confer with General Twiggs in regard to the surrender of all Government property and the removal of all U. S. troops from the State. General Twiggs was relieved from the command of the Department of Texas January 28, and was succeeded by Colonel Waite, who found everything military in a chaotic condition and devoted his whole energy to getting his troops safely out of the State and back into loyal territory. But five companies of his own regiment were in Texas,—A, G, H, I and K,—the remainder being in the Indian Territory. The Texas companies were ordered to rendezvous with other troops of the Department at Green Lake, 20 miles from Indianola, and succeeded in reaching that place.
Companies A, H and I got safely away, but the non-commissioned staff and band, with Companies G and K, were captured April 25, on transports, at Saluria, Texas, by the Texan forces. They were immediately paroled , engaging not to serve against the Confederates until exchanged, and sailed on the schooner Horace, reaching New York May 31.
The first transport that got safely away was ordered to leave two companies of the First at Key West, and probably did so, for a Return of the Department of Florida of date December, 1861, reports a part of the regiment at Fort Taylor. These companies were relieved early in 1862 and in April of that year Companies A, H and I, had joined the other companies of the regiment in the West.
Company G was reorganized in 1861, and in October of that year formed
a part of the city guard of Washington, D. C. It was still in Washington in May, 1862, but for Pope's campaign in Northern Virginia (August 16 to September 2, 1862) it was attached to the 6th Infantry battalion, and with it formed a part of the 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 5th Corps. At the Second battle of Bull Run it was under the command of Captain Marston and lost eleven men killed and wounded.
On the night of September 16-17 at Antietam the battalion was on picket duty, and on the 20th took part in the action near Shepherdstown.
At the battle of Fredericksburg Company G was attached to the 2d Infantry battalion and with it crossed the river December 13, and on the 14th was under fire all day within short range of the enemy's line. It recrossed the river on the 16th.
This company remained with the 2d Infantry in the Army of the Potomac until after January 31, 1863.
The five companies of the regiment in the Indian Territory at the outbreak of the war,—B, C, D, E and F,—marched to Fort Leavenworth, reaching that post May 31, 1861, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Emory, who had been directed (April 17) to collect all the troops in the Indian Territory and take them to that station.
On the 24th of July, 1861, the organization of General Nathaniel Lyon's army at Springfield, Mo., was announced, and Captain Plummer's battalion, consisting of Companies B, C and D, 1st Infantry, and a company of recruits for the Mounted Rifles (3d Cavalry), formed a part of its third brigade.
This battalion was present at the battle of Wilson's Creek, Mo., August 10, 1861, losing 80 officers and men killed, wounded and missing. It was in the advance from the first, and in the battle was on the left of the line. The conflict lasted six hours almost without interruption and left the Union forces in full possession of the field. Captains Plummer, Gilbert and Huston, and Lieutenant Wood were mentioned for gallantry, the two first being wounded.
At the siege of New Madrid, March 3 to 14, 1862, Companies A, B, C, D, H and I, 1st Infantry, were present and were not assigned to any division, but were detailed, March 4, as a support to the artillery. Companies A and H, under Captain Mower, manned a siege battery, and the men of this command were the first to enter the enemy's works, March 14, 1862.
Immediately after the capture of New Madrid the Union forces were pushed down the right bank of the Mississippi and batteries were constructed, the lowest being on Ruddle's Point nearly opposite Tiptonville, through which latter place all the enemy's supplies for Island No. 10 were received. On the 17th of March, five of the enemy's gunboats
Later in the same month Companies A, B, C, D, H and I were at Hamburg, Miss., under Captain George A. Williams, and on the 24th the battalion was detailed to man the heavy siege artillery, consisting of two 20-pounder Parrotts, four 30-pounder Parrotts, and four 24-pounder siege guns. With the exception of the 20-pounders, which were attached to the reserve, the heavy batteries were directed to remain temporarily at Hamburg and to place the guns in position to protect the storehouses there. On the 13th of May the battalion was before Corinth with its siege train, and on the 15th the 60th Illinois Volunteers were detailed to support its guns. On the 29th the 20-pounders and 30-pounders opened fire, doing considerable execution, and on the 30th the enemy evacuated the place. The works were at once occupied by the Union forces and the First Infantry battalion with other troops took station there.
When the five companies came in from the Indian Territory they were stationed at Fort Leavenworth and Brevet Major W. E. Prince, captain of Company E, 1st Infantry, commanded that post for many months.
This company under Lieut. Offley was sent with other troops, August 12-14, on a reconnoissance [sic] to Independence, Mo., but did not come into contact with the enemy.
It was also sent August 17-27, 1862, with an expedition to Kansas City, which place was reported in danger of an attack. The company manned a light battery on this occasion and was commanded by Lieutenant C. S. Bowman, 4th Cavalry. The expedition moved August 17 and after repairing the fortifications of Kansas City, moved on in search of the enemy, who was finally found in an almost impenetrable forest about fifteen miles from Independence, Mo. Colonel Burris, who commanded the column, reports :
Companies A, B, C, D, H and I, at Corinth were still in charge of the heavy artillery in position for the defense of that place when the Confed-
erates attacked it, October 3 and 4, 1862. Company C under Lieutenant Robinett manned Battery Robinett; Companies D and I, Battery Williams, and Companies A, B, and H, Battery Phillips. Captain G. A. Williams, was in command of all the siege artillery, and reports as follows:
"During the time the enemy were being repulsed from the town my attention was drawn to the left side of the battery by the firing from Battery Robinett, where I saw a column advancing to storm it. After advancing a short distance they were repulsed, but immediately reformed and, storming the work, gained the ditch. They then reformed, and, restorming, carried the ditch and the outside of the work, the supports having fallen a short distance to the rear in slight disorder.
"The men of the First U. S. Infantry, after having been driven from their guns (They manned the siege guns) resorted to their muskets and were firing from the inside of their embrasures at the enemy on the outside, a distance of about ten feet intervening; but the rebels having gained the top of the work, our men fell back into the angle of the fort as they had been directed to do in such an emergency. Two shells were thrown from Battery Williams into Battery Robinett, one bursting on top of it and the other near the right edge. In the meanwhile the 11th Mo. Vols. (in reserve) changed front, and, aided by the 43d and 63d Ohio Vols. with the 27th Ohio Vols. on their right, gallantly stormed up to the right and left of the battery, driving the enemy before them. The battery could not open on the retreating enemy, for its commander,—Lieutenant Robinett,—was wounded, and 13 of the 26 men that manned it were either killed or wounded."
During February, 1863, the battalion, still consisting of Companies A, B, C, D, H and I, under Major Maloney, moved from Corinth to Memphis and, later, to the vicinity of Vicksburg. It was nominally a part of the 1st Brigade, 14th Division, 13th Corps, but was actually in charge of a siege train throughout the siege of Vicksburg and never served with its brigade.
On the 22d of March, General McClernand was directed to forward at once to the Yazoo Pass expedition four 30-pdr. Parrotts, with not less than 80 men of the 1st Infantry, to be under the command of Captain G. A. Williams, 1st Infantry; but as General Grant wrote on the same day that "It is now clearly demonstrated that a further force, in by way of Yazoo Pass, can be of no service," it is probable that this order did not go into effect.
Captain E. D. Phillips of the First reports, under date of April 22, 1863, from "Camp at Millikens Bend, La.," that on the 17th April he had opened fire upon the court-house and railroad depot in Vicksburg with two 30-pdr. Parrotts placed in a casemate battery opposite the town, and had continued the ring with increasing accuracy until the night of the 20th, when, in obedience to instructions, he had embarked his detachment, guns, ammunition, etc., on a transport and had reached the camp of the First Infantry on the date of the report.
At the time of the first assault upon Vicksburg (May 22), Captain Offley with a detachment of the regiment was in charge of a sunken battery containing two 30-pdr. Parrotts, situated on that part of the line occupied by the 3d Division, 17th Corps, afterwards known as Battery Logan; while Major Maloney, with the remainder, was opposite the point assaulted by the 2d Brigade, 14th Division, and the 2d Brigade, 10th Division.
General McClernand reports concerning this assault that "A portion of the 1st U. S. Infantry, under Major Maloney, serving as heavy artillery added to their previous renown. Neither officers nor men could have been more zealous and active. Being in the centre, they covered in considerable part the advance of Benton's and Lawler's brigades and materially promoted their partial success."
This battery was on an elevation about 600 yards distant from the salient of the enemy's line which was assaulted, and commanded a fine view of all the movements in its front. General Grant afterwards frequently visited one of the batteries served by the battalion during the siege, to watch the effect of its fire and that of the other batteries in sight. His favorite seat was on a certain log which soon became known as his and was always reserved for him.
On the 17th of June the 30-pdr. Parrotts were moved to a redoubt far advanced in the sap, where they were established under the command of Lieutenant Branagan, 1st Infantry, while Captain Offley was given two 9-in. Dahlgrens in Battery Logan.
On the 25th of June, at 4.30 o'clock in the afternoon, a mine was sprung under one of the enemy's works and the 45th Illinois Volunteers charged into the gap thus made. Hand grenades were freely used on both sides in this fight, Private William Lazarus of Company I, 1st Infantry, being detailed on the Union side to throw them. After throwing about twenty he was mortally wounded, when three men were detailed from the same command to continue the work.
The regiment added greatly to its reputation for gallantry and efficient service during the siege and, though always on duty at the front, met with little loss.
With the successful termination of the siege (July 4, 1863), the besieging army was at once made use of in other directions, and the First Infantry finally went to New Orleans where it became the provost guard and was quartered in Odd Fellows' Hall, opposite Lafayette Park. Here it was joined by its colonel-R. C. Buchanan-who had been promoted to the regiment from the 4th Infantry, February 8, 1864, by the retirement of Colonel Waite. In December, 1865, however, Colonel Buchanan left the regiment on detached service and was succeeded in command by Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Wood.
At the close of the war the regiment went to Jackson Barracks, where it remained till 1869, actively engaged in the stirring events of early reconstruction times, in which it rendered efficient service.
In the early spring of 1869 it was transferred to the department of the Lakes, with headquarters and five companies at Fort Wayne, two companies at Fort Porter, two at Fort Brady and one at Fort Mackinac.
In April of this year the regiment was consolidated with the 43d Infantry, under the Act of March 3, 1869. The 43d was a Veteran Reserve regiment, and many of the officers received into the First by the consolidation had been disabled through wounds received or disease contracted during the war. One effect of the consolidation was that Lieutenant Colonel Pinkney Lugenbeel succeeded Lieutenant Colonel Wood.
On the 15th of December, 1870, Colonel Buchanan was retired from active service and was succeeded by Colonel Thomas G. Pitcher (late 44th Infantry) from the unassigned list.
In May, 1872, Companies I and K were sent to Houghton, Mich., to quell a riot which had developed among the miners of the Calumet and Hecla copper mine. The mere presence of the troops was sufficient to prevent the destruction of property of great value and the proposed flooding of the mine.
The regiment served in the Department of the Lakes until July, 1874, when it was transferred to the Department of Dakota, exchanging stations with the 22d Infantry. The headquarters and six companies took station at Fort Randall; A and B companies were sent to Fort Hale; while F and H garrisoned Fort Sully.
On July 6, 1875, a detachment of eleven men of Company G, 1st Infantry, under Sergeant Danvers, who had been sent to the Ponca Agency to protect the Poncas against an anticipated raid of the Sioux, had a fight with the latter in which several Indians were killed or wounded. The detachment loaded an old cannon with pieces of iron, and with this improvised ammunition repulsed three assaults after which the attacking party withdrew.
In consequence of the Custer Massacre (August, 1876), Companies G and K were sent to Standing Rock Agency, now Fort Yates. Here some of the officers and the few men remaining from the war period, renewed an experience gained during the war,—the building of log huts for occupancy during the winter.
In May, 1877, Companies B, G, H and K, were sent to the cantonment on Tongue River, Montana, and during the summer these companies
thoroughly explored the country between the Yellowstone, Tongue, Powder, and Little Missouri rivers and the Black Hills, and formed a part of the command which drove the remnant of Lame Deer's band into the agency, for which service it received the thanks of General Sheridan. It was owing to the long and continued marches made by these companies that General Miles did not take the battalion with him when he left Tongue River to head off the Nez Percés. Lieutenant Maus, 1st Infantry, was, however, selected by General Miles to accompany him and was with the scouts when the Indian camp was discovered. He rendered most valuable service in the series of fights which resulted in the surrender of Chief Joseph and his band.
Colonel Pitcher was retired from active service June 28, 1878. The Act of June 17, 1878, had prohibited all promotion above the grade of captain, and in consequence the First Infantry was without a colonel until the restriction was removed in the spring of 1879, when Lieutenant Colonel W. R. Shafter of the 24th Infantry was promoted to the First to date from March 4, 1879.
Companies F and K formed a part of the garrison of Fort Meade, Dakota, while that post was building in the fall and winter of 1878. Officers and their families, and the men, lived in tents until well into the winter, and whenever the thermometer dropped below -30°, as it frequently did, the experience, to say the least, was not pleasing.
In June, 1880, the regiment was sent to the Department of Texas, and, during the summer of that year, the companies, with the exception of C and F at Ringgold and B at San Antonio, were engaged in opening up a wagon road and the country between the mouth of the Pecos River and the Chenati Mountains. Upon the completion of this duty the companies took station at Fort McKavett, and a few months later at Fort Davis and sub-posts.
The Indian outbreak in Arizona in the spring of 1882 caused the regiment to be sent to that Department, where it remained until July, 1886, the companies garrisoning Forts Grant, McDowell, Bowie, Huachuca, Lowell, Verde, Thomas, Apache, and Whipple Barracks. During this period the companies did garrison duty, detachments being frequently sent out to guard water-holes. Several of the officers, notably Lieutenants Maus, Pettit and Faison, rendered valuable service in the field during the Geronimo campaign.
In July, 1886, the regiment was transferred to the department of California, where it is at present (January, 1895) serving. The Indian troubles in Nebraska and South Dakota took the regiment to those States in December, 1890. Companies A, B, C, D, E, G and H, formed a part of the command which was employed in the field until the early spring in guarding the Pine Ridge Agency and aiding to avert what threatened to be one of the most serious conflicts in which the Sioux have at any time been concerned. The band of the regiment accompanied the command from California, and was the means of giving much pleasure to the officers and men of the different organizations located in its vicinity. It was the only band present at the review of all the troops under General Miles' command,—
some three thousand or more,—which was held before their departure from the agency.
First Lieutenant John S. Mason, Jr., died in camp at Pine Ridge Agency. February 13, 1891.
Upon being relieved from this duty the companies of the regiment returned to their stations in the Department of California early in March, 1891.
The regiment has had numerous summer camps of instruction, frequently joining with the National Guard of the State in this duty. The camps have been located at Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and Monterey.
The recent railroad strikes took the regiment into the field. Owing to the bitter feeling prevailing in California against the Southern Pacific Railroad company, the strike in that State early developed a serious phase which was intensified by the failure of tile National Guard to respond properly to the demands made upon it by the State authorities. Under these conditions the services of the regular troops were peculiarly valuable, and much useful information can be derived from a study of the arrangements made for the journey of the headquarters and five companies of the regiment from Oakland to Los Angeles when escorting the first train through after the inauguration of the strike.
Companies of the regiment have been stationed at Alcatraz, the Presidio and Gaston, and they now form the garrisons of Angel Island and Benicia Barracks and San Diego.
The following officers and enlisted men of the regiment have been mentioned in orders from the War Department for distinguished service.
Captain Marion P. Maus, General Orders No. 39, 1891, "For gallantry in action against Geronimo's band of hostile Apache Indians, near the Aros River, Mexico, January 10, 1886, and in the encounter with Chihuahua troops on the following day (11th) and for the marked skill and ability with which, after the death of its commanding officer, he conducted the expedition back to the United States."
General Orders No. 41, 1891. "May, 1885, and eleven months following," for services in the field in Arizona and Sonora.
Captain Thomas H. Barry, Private George Klinhaus and George Wilkensen, Company A, and Frank Hennessy (now out of service) Company B, General Orders No. 70, 1893, "For meritorious conduct in saving a sailor from drowning in San Francisco Bay, California, October 2, 1892."
Lieutenant Samson L. Faison, General Orders No. 41, 1891, 11 May, 1885, and eleven months following," for services in the field in Arizona and Sonora.
Lieutenants Lewis H. Strother and Sydney A. Cloman, General Orders No. 100, 1891, the former, for highly efficient services while conducting a band of Cheyenne Indians from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, to Fort Keogh, Montana; and the latter, "For the excellent judgment and discretion with which he executed the instructions of Major General Miles in the arrest, at White Clay Creek, South Dakota, of the Indian Plenty Horses."
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