The Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief

Twenty-Fifth Regiment of Infantry

By Capt. George Andrews

« Return to Table of Contents

The Act of July 28, 1866, added to the nineteen regiments of infantry then in service, "Eight new regiments of ten companies each, four regiments of which shall be composed of colored men." Accordingly the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st were so composed, while the 42d, 43d, 44th and 45th were designated Veteran Reserves. The eighteen regiments between the 19th and 38th were provided by erecting the second and third battalions of each of the three-battalion regiments (11th and 19th, inclusive) into separate regiments. The same Act contained the following provision, which has not since been modified: "The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint a chaplain for each regiment of colored troops."

The Act of March 3, 1869, provided for the consolidation of the forty-five regiments into twenty-five, and also that "The enlisted men of two regiments of infantry shall be composed of colored men." General Orders issued from Army Headquarters in May, 1869, directed the "Twenty-fifth Infantry (colored), to be composed of the 39th and 40th Regiments," and ordered "The 39th, now in North Carolina, will be relieved as soon as possible and will proceed to New Orleans, there to be consolidated with the 40th, now in the Department of Louisiana. The field officers will be: Joseph A. Mower, colonel; Edward W. Hinks, lieutenant-colonel; Zenas R. Bliss, major."*

The 25th Infantry of 1866 conveyed its personnel to the 18th; probably its records and colors were returned to the War Department. Although from a legal standpoint the 25th Infantry has had a continuous existence since 1866, it is evident that for all purposes of tradition, the present regiment sprang into existence in 1869, and has no connection with any regiment that has previously borne the number. The regiment is, therefore, the lineal descendant of the 39th and 40th Regiments.

By the end of April, 1869, the organization of the regiment had been completed and the special return shows a full complement of officers and 1045 men. Colonel (and Bvt. Major-General) Mower was commanding the

*The first regiment of this number and name was raised in Connecticut and organized under the Act approved June 26, 1812; it was discontinued by the Act approved March 3, 1815. The officers retained in service were transferred to other regiments May 17, and the rest discharged June 15, 1815, with three months' pay. From brevets conferred upon its officers it would appear that the regiment participated in the battles of Chrystler's Fields, Upper Canada, Nov 11, 1813; Chippewa Falls, U. C., July 5, 1814, and Niagara Falls (Lundy's Lane) U. C., July 25,1814.

Under the provisions of the Act of July 28, 1866, the 2d Battalion of the 16th Infantry was constituted the 25th Regiment, which was merged in the 18th by the Act of March 3, 1869.


1045 men. Colonel (and Bvt. Major-General) Mower was commanding the Department of Louisiana with headquarters at New Orleans; Lieutenant-Colonel (and Bvt. Brigadier General) Hinks commanded the regiment with headquarters, Companies D, G and K, at Jackson Barracks, La,; Major (and Bvt. Lieut.-Col.) Bliss with Companies E, F and I garrisoned Ship Island, Miss.; Company A was at Fort Pike, La.; Companies B and H at Fort Jackson, La.; Company C at Fort St. Philip, La. By the end of the year, 532 men had been discharged by expiration of service alone, and as little recruiting was done, the effective had fallen to about 500 men, from which it has not since varied materially.

General Mower died at New Orleans January 6, 1870, and was succeeded by Colonel (and Bvt. Major-General) J. J. Reynolds who was placed in command of the Department of Texas the following April, without having joined the regiment. In May, 1870, the regiment was on its way to that department, going by steamer to Indianola, Texas, thence marching to San Antonio. Colonel Bliss with Companies B, C and G arrived at the latter place on June 3 and encamped at San Pedro Springs where they were joined by the rest of the regiment, under General Hinks, on the 9th. The march to stations began June 22d. The main body took the Fort Clark road, while Companies C and H diverged on the road to Fort McKavett. At Rio Frio, Companies E and I marched for Fort Duncan, under Colonel Bliss. July found Headquarters, Companies D and F established at Fort Clark; Company K at Fort Stockton; Companies A and G at Fort Davis; Company B did not reach its distant station, Fort Quitman, until August.

In December, 1870, General Reynolds transferred to the 3d Cavalry and General Hinks retired from active service; they were succeeded by Colonel John D. Stevenson and Lieut.-Col. George L. Andrews; the latter becoming colonel of the regiment January 1, 1871, vice Stevenson resigned. Colonel Andrews joined the regiment at Fort Clark June 19, 1871. In May, 1872, the regiment marched to Western Texas and established its headquarters at Fort Davis. Company I, Captain Lawson commanding, participated in the engagement with Indians at Wichita Indian Agency, Ind. Ter., Aug. 22 and 23, 1873, having one man wounded. Company B, Captain Bentzoni commanding, was with General Mackenzie's expedition into Mexico in June 1878.

The history of the ten years' service in Texas is the record of a continuous series of building and repairing of military posts, roads and telegraph lines; of escort and guard duty of all descriptions; of marchings and counter-marchings from post to post, and of scouting for Indians which resulted in a few unimportant skirmishes.

In April, 1880, the regiment was ordered to the Department of Dakota, exchanging with the 1st Infantry. Headquarters and four companies took station at Fort Randall, S. D., in June and remained there until the arrival of the 15th Infantry in November, 1882, when they were transferred to Fort Snelling, Minn., relieving the 7th Infantry. During this period four companies were stationed at Fort Meade, S. D., and two at Fort Hale, S. D. The latter post was abandoned in May, 1884, and the garrison transferred to Fort Sisseton, N. D.

In May, 1888, the regiment was transferred to Montana, exchanging sta-


tions with the 3rd Infantry. Headquarters and four companies were located at Fort Missoula, while four companies went to Fort Shaw and two to Fort Custer.

In September, 1890, companies I and K were skeletonized pursuant to orders from the War Department. Lieutenant-Colonel Van Horn, with companies C, E, F and H, arrived at Fort Keogh the last of November, 1890, and remained there in camp until February 5, 1891, when they returned to their stations, nothing further having been required of them during that short but eventful campaign against the hostile Sioux.

Of the original officers of the regiment there are now but six on the rolls, viz.: Captains John W. French, Charles Bentzoni (Bvt. Lieut.-Col.), and Gaines Lawson (Bvt. Lieut.-Col.), and 2d Lieutenants (now captains) David B. Wilson, Owen J. Sweet and Henry P. Ritzius. It may also be interesting to note that Colonel Andrews, who has been colonel of the regiment for over twenty years, is the only colonel who ever commanded it; that during its 22 years of existence, the whole regiment has been together but fourteen days, and that but one captain (Van Valzah) has attained his majority by regular promotion.

« Return to Table of Contents