By 18 February 1867, "A" Company was organized. Following the organization of "B" and "C" Company, the regiment relocated to Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory. The remainder of the companies, "D" through "H" were organized by 21 July.
The dates of organization, Company Commanders and color of mounts for these new companies of the 10th Cavalry Regiment were:
|UNIT||DATE||COMMANDER|| HORSE |
|"A" Company||Organized 18 Feb 1867||Cpt. Nicholas Nolan||Bay|
|"B" Company||Organized 01 Apr 1867||Cpt. J. B. Vande Wiele||Bay|
|"C" Company||Organized 15 May 1867||Cpt. Edward Byrne||Bay|
|"D" Company||Organized 01 Jun 1867||Cpt. J. W. Walsh||Bay|
|"E" Company||Organized 15 Jun 1867||Cpt. G. T. Robinson||Bay|
|"F" Company||Organized 21 Jun 1867||Cpt. G. A. Armes||Gray|
|"G" Company||Organized 05 Jul 1867||Cpt. H. T. Davis||Bay|
|"H" Company||Organized 21 Jul 1867||Cpt. L. H. Carpenter||Black|
Following organization, the troops are posted at Ft. Hays, Ft. Harker, and other points along the Smokey River, Kansas, on the line of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, then in course of construction. They had been put in the field for the protection of the railroad as fast as they were organized.
The first engagement in which any part of the regiment participated occurred
a few days before the regimental headquarters left Ft. Leavenworth. "F"
Troop, under Captain Armes, numbering 34 men and two officers, fought a party
of 300 Indians near Saline River, 40 miles northeast of Ft. Hays. The
engagement lasted six hours and resulted in the troops being forced to
retreat. On the 21 July, forty men of "F" Company, together with 90 men of the
18th Kansas Volunteers, engaged about 500 Indians northeast of Ft. Hays.
During its last month at Ft. Leavenworth the regiment lost heavily from
disease, caused in the main by a cholera epidemic.
The dates of organization, Company Commanders and color of mounts for these last four companies of the 10th Cavalry Regiment were:
|UNIT||DATE||COMMANDER|| HORSE |
|"I" Company||Organized 15 Aug 1867||Cpt. G. W. Graham||Gray|
|"K" Company||Organized 01 Sep 1867||Cpt. C. G. Cox||Gray|
|"L" Company||Organized 21 Sep 1867||Cpt. R. Gray||Sorrel|
|"M" Company||Organized 15 Oct 1867||Cpt. H. E. Alvord||Mixed|
On 17 April 1868 the Headquarters of the regiment relocated to Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory. At this time General Sheridan was in the field directing military operations. The 10th participated in the winter campaign of General Sherman against the Arapahos, Comanches and ended with the destruction of the band of Cheyenne Indians led by Black Kettle, the worst lot of Indians in the territory. Units of the 10th prevented the Cheyenne from fleeing to the northwest, thus allowing Custer and the 7th Cavalry to defeat them at the decisive battle near Ft. Cobb, Indian Territory.
The 1868-69 winter campaign on the Great Plains was a successful one, and as
a result, the entire 10th Cavalry was moved into Indian Territory early in
1869. In January 1869, several companies of the 10th arrived at the site on
Medicine Bluff Creek and began constructing temporary shelters. The new post
was named Camp Wichita and regimental headquarters was transferred there on
31 March. Permanent construction began shortly thereafter, and in August the
camp was renamed Ft. Sill. By that time, the regiment was divided between Ft.
Sill and Camp Supply, six companies at each post. For the next 6 years, the
10th Cavalry remained in Indian Territory, acting as "an army of occupation"
among the various Native American tribes removed to the reservations. The
Buffalo Soldiers were charged with keeping Native Americans on the
reservations, and keeping whites out. Various companies were stationed at
Ft. Dodge, Ft. Gibson, Ft. Arbuckle, Ft. Sill, and Camp Supply, and at the
Cheyenne Indian Agency in accomplishing these duties.
In 17 April 1875, the 10th Cavalry moved its headquarters to Ft. Concho in west Texas. Other companies were assigned to various forts throughout the area. In Texas, the mission of the regiment was to protect mail and travel routes, control Indian movements, provide protection from Mexican revolutionaries and outlaws, and to gain a knowledge of the areas terrain. The regiment proved highly successful in completing their mission. The 10th scouted 34,420 miles of uncharted terrain, opened more than 300 miles of new roads, and laid over 200 miles of telegraph lines. The scouting activities took the troops through some of the harshest and most desolate terrain in the nation. These excursions allowed the preparation of excellent maps detailing scarce water holes, mountain passes, and grazing areas that would later allow for settlement of the area. These feats were accomplished while having to be constantly on the alert for hit-and-run raids from the Apaches.
The 10th Cavalry played an important role in the 1879-80 campaign against Chief Victorio and his renegade band of Apaches. Victorio and his followers escaped from their New Mexico reservation and wreaked havoc throughout the southwest on their way to Mexico. The 10th Cavalry attempted to prevent Victorio's return to the US, and particularly prevented him entering New Mexico where he could cause additional problems with the Apaches still on the reservations.
The campaign called for the biggest military concentration ever assembled in
the Trans-Pecos area. Six troops of the 10th Cavalry were assigned to patrol
the area from the Van Horn Mountains west to the Quitman Mountains, and north
to the Sierra Diablo and Delaware Mountains. Encounters with the Indians
usually resulted in skirmishes, however the 10th engaged in major
confrontations at Tinaja de las Palmas (a water hole south of Sierra Blanca)
and at Rattlesnake Springs (north of Van Horn). These two engagements halted
Victorio and forced him to retreat to Mexico. Although Victorio and his band
were not captured, the campaign conducted by the 10th was successful in
preventing them from reaching New Mexico. The 10th's efforts at containment
exhausted the Apaches. Soon after they crossed the border, Victorio and many
of his warriors were killed by Mexican troops on 14 October 1880.
Without debate, African American regiments served with distinction in Texas,
Arizona, and New Mexico. especially in combat. The nickname "Buffalo
Soldiers," bestowed upon the black cavalrymen by the Native Americans, attests
to their valor in battle. Since the buffalo was a sacred animal to the Native
Americans, they would not bestow its name on the soldiers unless they were
When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, the 10th Cavalry Regiment was recalled from its outlying posts and assignments. Within a matter of days the Regiment was assembled at Ft. Assinniboine, Montana. Moving by rail, the first stop of the regiment was in Wisconsin where they received flags and flowers from well wishers.
The Army had arranged for two mobilization centers; Tampa, Florida, and Chickamauga Park, Georgia. Through these two camps would pass 65,000 regular soldiers headed south. While the Army was preparing its invasion force the 10th Cavalry regiment was expanded. The cavalry regiments sent to Cuba consisted of two squadrons of approximately 400 men. As the regiment expanded, logistical difficulties were experienced. New recruits to the unit took time to equip and then it was weeks before these new troopers had all of their personal and weapons gear.
The men of the 10th Cavalry regiment waited in Lakeland Florida prior to their departure for Cuba. In preparation for war training days where started at 0500 hours and ended at 1845 hours. During the training period the average trooper accumulated a kit consisting of: a blanket, shelter half, poncho, extra clothes, food and utensils, cartridge belt and 125 rounds, canteen, weapon and haversack. His uniform consisted of flannel shirts, canvas over blouse, high leather boots with gaiters and a campaign hat.
The Army had given V Corps, under General Shafter, the task of invading Cuba.
Shafter had gained a reputation as a fighter during the Indian wars. However,
Shafter had become obese and in no physical condition to engage in a serious
military campaign. Shafter made the transition from the small army of the
frontier to the large army of the invasion badly. He was totally unprepared
for the logistics of moving an army overseas. Transport was so poorly
organized that food supplies had to be reduced to make room for 20 pieces of
artillery. Trains operated without clear cargo manifests making it impossible
to determine which supplies were on which trains. All of which had to wait for
the single line of track that went to the port at Tampa. It was a matter of
luck that the troopers of the 10th Cavalry rode from Lakeland to the pier at
Tampa in fancy railroad coaches with ice water.
The troopers of the 10th Cavalry who stayed in Florida did not necessarily stay out of combat. A detachment composed of 50 members of "A", "H", and "M" Troops were sent to resupply insurgents in Cuba island. The mission involved landing Americans, as well as 375 Cuban soldiers, 65 mules and packs, rations, clothing, and ammunition. Similar missions would be executed throughout the war.
On 21 June, a small convoy sailed with the transports Florida, Fanita and gunboat Peoria, under the command of Lt. Johnson. On 29 June a landing at Cienfuegos was attempted but repulsed by the Spanish. The next day the convoy moved down the coast to Tayabacoa. The Cuban commander General Nunez sent 300 Cubans and 28 Americans ashore, under cover fire from the Peoria. The Spanish responded quickly and engaged this force heavily. The Cuban/American force was cut off by the Spanish who were only kept at bay by the Peoria's off shore artillery. Neither side was willing to let go of what it had. The Spanish kept the original force pinned down and repulsed four rescue attempts by the Cubans from the ships.
The situation of the landing party looked hopeless. There was however, one last hope. five troopers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment volunteered to attempt a rescue. Prior to this action none of these soldiers were considered exceptional. Moving under cover of darkness. the long boat was slowly lowered into the water and the oars were carefully pulled through the water so as to reduce noise.
"The party of five regulars", made it to shore and located the survivors in the landing party. Shortly thereafter the Spanish detected the rescue party. The rescue party worked quickly and was able to retrieve all survivors and wounded amidst a hail of Spanish fire.
What awaited the invading army at Cuba was no novice force. The Spanish Army
made effective use of cover and concealment. Their fortifications consisted of
rifle pits, entrenchments, earthworks, barbed wire fences, and block houses;
that included inter-dependent units known as Fortins. The Spanish Army under
Generals Linares and Weyeler was battle hardened from fighting Cuban
insurgents. The individual Spanish soldier was better equipped than his
American counter part. He wore a light weight blouse and trousers, straw hat,
and rope soled shoes. The Spanish soldier used the Mauser, a smokeless powder,
rifle and short bayonet. This weapon was superior to the US rifles in service
at the time.
The debarkation process was slow. Troops had to use portholes in order to get to the landing boats. This was made even more difficult by the fact that every soldier was carrying his entire kit on his back. Most of the troops landed in long boats. The sea was rough and caused two men of the 10th Cavalry to fall into harbor waters. Despite a rescue attempt, two troopers drowned becoming the first causalities of the campaign. The horses which made the trip suffered badly during debarkation. Most were thrown overboard, many of which tried to swim out to sea. A few of the horses were saved when a quick thinking bugler sounded "Right Wheel", which made several of the horses turn toward shore. Owing to a lack of horses the 10th Cavalry regiment was dismounted, acting in a similar capacity as infantry. Once ashore many of the troopers threw away equipment they thought was unnecessary like blankets and ponchos.
On 23 June, 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, V Corps, which was the commanding unit of the , 1st, 10th and 1st Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Rider) Regiments, established its headquarters at Siboney. The Corps Cavalry Brigade moved towards the ridge at Las Guasimas in order to conduct a reconnaissance. Through Cuban intelligence, it was found that the ridge was defended by the Spanish Brigadier General Rubin who commanded one echelon of seven companies comprised of approximately 1,500 infantrymen and artillerymen with two artillery guns, well fortified and positioned to fight a delaying action. The 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry along with the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, followed a northern route to the ridge, while the 1st Volunteer Cavalry followed a southern route.
On 24 June at 0300 hours, the troopers of the 10th Cavalry held a silent
reveille. After a quick breakfast of hard tack, bacon, and coffee, they began
their deployment at 0600 hours. The path taken by the units of Brigadier
General Joseph W. Wheeler was through dense jungle, and all three units
emerged from the treeline at about the same time facing the main blockhouse at
Las Guasimas. General Rubin had already placed scouts forward of his position.
These scouts had allowed US forces to pass them, signaling that the enemy was
approaching by using bird calls.
With the Spaniards extricated from Las Guasimas, the Army moved northwest
toward Santiago, and six days later, settling on the outskirts of a plain,
just below San Juan Heights. The total Spanish force in Santiago under General
Linares was 6,000: 4,000 regulars, 1,000 volunteers, and 1,000 marines and
sailors from the ships. Of the 6,000 troops, 600 or thereabouts were at El
Caney, and 900 in the forts at the mouth of the harbor. As the Army advanced,
the Spaniards were busy positioning themselves on three strategic hills: San
Juan, El Pozo (named Kettle Hill by Americans because of a sugar refinery on
top, which resembled a kettle from afar) and El Caney which formed the outer
defenses of the capital city. The capture of these hills was crucial to the
continuance of the invasion of Santiago.
Within an hour and a half all of the attacking infantry units were in position
for the assault. As the cavalry units took positions on the far right of the
line, Spanish fire was rained down on the American positions all along the
line. The 10th Cavalry Regiment actively engaged the enemy at a range of 600
yards with its detachment of Hotchkiss guns which were placed 100 yards past
the San Juan river, aimed against the blockhouse and entrenchments.
While Roosevelt and his highly political volunteers of the "Rough Riders" got
more press attention, the 10th Cavalry commanded by Col. John J. Pershing was
instrumental in taking San Juan Hill. Many white officers refused to command
black units thinking it would hurt their careers. Col. Pershing was given the
nickname "Black Jack" because of his loyalty to the 10th and its troopers. It
could hardly have hurt his career since he went on to command the American
Expeditionary Forces in France in WW I and became the most famous American
general of the first half of this century.
|US Army Victors on Kettle Hill - 03 July, 1898|
On 03 July 1898, after the battle of "San Juan Hill(s), the US Army victors of the Battle of Kittle Hill - Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders take a "breather" at the top of the hill which they had captured, following a long uphill campaign. Left to right is the 3rd US Cavalry, the 1st Volunteer Cavalry (Col. Theodore Roosevelt center) and the 10th US Cavalry. (from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.).
Officers outside the regiment praised the 10th Cavalry troopers as "doing as well as any soldiers could possibly do. They were among the deadliest fighters of the war." By the end of the war, the 10th Cavalry Regiment had in its ranks five Medal of Honor recipients, and 26 members of the unit received Certificates of Merit. Theodore Roosevelt said of the 10th Cavalry "...brave men worthy of respect, I don't think any Rough Rider will ever forget the tie that binds us to the 10th cavalry." The men of the 10th Cavalry soon returned to duty in Cuba as part of the occupying forces under General Wood.
On 04 January 1899 the United States announced that it was taking possession
of the Philippine Islands which had become a protectorate as a result of the
Spanish-American War. This action caused the Filipino Leader, Emilio
Aquinaldo, to revolt against American rule. In an attempt to accomplish their
goal of independence in an alternate manner, the Filipinos set on a campaign
of guerrilla operations. Elements of the 10th Cavalry were subsequently
transferred to the Philippines Islands. By 15 April 1901, "E", "F", "G" and
"H" Troops of the 10th had arrived. Over 70,000 American forces, including
cavalry units of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and eventually
the 12th regiments, were assigned to the theater. Most of the fighting was
over by March 1901, allowing the units to return to the States.
On the morning of 09 March 1916, the regiment was alerted that Poncho Villa
had attacked Columbus, NM, burned half the town, and killed several civilians
and soldiers. Orders. directing the 10th Cavalry Regiment to set out at once
to join the forces of the Punitive Expedition Campaign that were staging at
Culberson's Ranch, located in the southwest corner of New Mexico, were issued.
By evening, "A" though "K" Troops and the Machine Gun Troop, fully equipped
for the field, departed Ft. Huachuca.
Passing through Douglas, AZ and Slaughter's Ranch, the regiment reached
Culberson's Ranch on 13 March. Amazingly, all of the forces assigned to the
Punitive Expedition were assembled along the border in just five days. "Black
Jack" Pershing had been selected for the assignment of leading the campaign
into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa who had expanded his operations of
rustling cattle, robbing banks and killing into the United States. The
invasion force was composed of two main columns. The western column,
designated as the Second Cavalry Brigade, staged from Culberson's Ranch and
was made up of the 7th and 10th Cavalry regiments and "B" Battery, 6th Field
Artillery attached. Pershing himself commanded this column, which numbered 16
officers and 1,501 men.
On 15 and 16 March, the two columns crossed into Mexico and converged on the
city of Colonia Dublan in Chihuahua, Mexico. This marked the beginning of a
year-long adventure that would be filled with hard marching, some singular
military triumphs, and the loss of some brave comrades. The mission of chasing
Villa proved to be one of the toughest assignments given to the 10th Cavalry.
Finding Pancho Villa was like trying to catch a rat in a cornfield. Villa
always seemed to stay ahead of the Army and avoid capture.
The American troops were operating in the domain of Pancho Villa where many of the peasants held pro-Villa sympathies. The Mexican government officers likewise questioned the right of Americans to be there. Even though American officers carried and distributed a proclamation by Mexican Secretary of War, Obregon, extending a vague permission to operate in Mexico, almost no Mexican official believed the expedition to have any legitimate right to be maneuvering through their territory.
The leaders of the United Stares soon lost interest in the Mexican Campaign and focused their attention to Europe, where World War I was raging. However because the Europeans had been unable to find a suitable mission for the Cavalry troops which were already in the theater, the 10th Cavalry spent the war in the United States.
Following World War I, the 10th Cavalry began a set of assignments leading to spending the next twelve years performing routine training and garrison duty along the Arizona-Mexico border. On 13 September 1921, with the initiation of the National Defense Act, the 1st Cavalry Division was formally activated at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Upon the formal activation of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 10th Cavalry Regiments was among the first regiments assigned to the new division. On 18 December 1922, the 10th Cavalry Regiment was relieved from assignment and replaced by the 5th Cavalry Regiment.
On 24 March 1923 the 10th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division, remaining until 15 August 1927 when it was relieved from the 2nd Cavalry Division and immediately assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Division.
In July 1937, initiating the second stage of expansion, Japan launched a major invasion of northern and central China. After a costly resistance, the ill-prepared Chinese armies were forced back from eastern China and in December 1937 the Nationalist capital, Nanking, was subjected to an orgy of rape and destruction. At this time the rest of the world remained neutral, and some western countries, including the US, were still selling scrap materials to Japan, which were converted into armaments for use in additional expansion plans. Further, Nazi Germany had annexed Austria and was now threatening to seize Czechoslovakia.
From 1931 to 1941, the 1st Squadron of the 10th Cavalry served at Ft. Leavenworth, KS as essential support troops for the Command and General Staff College. These units became efficient in riding and marksmanship, winning many competitions while fulfilling their duties as service troops for the cavalry school at Ft. Riley, Kansas while other elements of the regiment were detailed to various stations in Virginia, and New York.
The winds of war and mutual agreements continued to swirl. On 23 August 1939,
in the presence of Stalin, the Foreign Minister of Germany, Joachim von
Ribbentrop, and the Commissar of Foreign Affairs of Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (USSR), Vyacheslav Molotov, signed the Russo-German Pact. The pact,
a complete surprise to France and England, was not only a non-aggression pact,
but also contained a secret protocol providing for the division of Eastern
Europe between the spheres of influence German and Soviet. This mutual
agreement was a marked contrast in the ideology of Hitler, who from the
beginning of his political life, had declared the destruction of Communism as
one of his primary objectives.
In the meantime, isolationist politics remained strong in Congress. In spite of this, major priorities were placed on building up the industrial capacity to supply equipment to the Allies in Europe. In the summer of 1940, the United States began preparations for war. As part of the nation's overall defense plans, the Army was assigned the task of safeguarding the continental United States against invasion. Preparations focused on protecting the country against naval bombardment, air raids, and assault by ground forces. The Army also coordinated civil defense plans, and guarded vital non-military installations - public works and utilities - whose continued operation was essential to the war effort.
More evidence of the global nature of the war began to materialize when on 27 September 1940, in Berlin, the governments of Germany, Italy and Japan signed a Three-Power Pact. They agreed to stand by and cooperate with one another in regard to their efforts in greater East Asia and regions of Europe respectively. Their prime purpose was to ostensible establish and maintain a new order destined to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned. Additionally the pact was not to impact any previous political agreements which existed, such as that between Germany and the USSR.
In the wake of the German military successes, the Unites States accelerated
preparations for its own buildup of all military forces to wartime strengths.
As part of the Protective Mobilization Plan, the 2nd Cavalry Division was
reserved for activation at Fort Riley, KS. In October 1940, the first
activations of elements for the Division was initiated with the organization
of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade and the assignment of the 2nd and 14th as its
cavalry regiments. In further preparation, on 10 October 1940, the 10th
Cavalry Regiment was relieved from the 3rd Cavalry Division and provisionally
assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division. The overall mobilization of the country
represented a transitional phase which blended the increased manpower with the
growing industrial output of material and weapons.
In March 1941. over 300 selective service men were assigned to the 10th Cavalry. In April the regiment reached its full strength of over 1300 men and over 1200 horses. The regiment consisted of Headquarters and Service Troop, Special Weapons Troop, Machine Gun Troop, Headquarters Detachment, 1st and 2nd Squadrons, Medical Detachment, and "A", "B", "C", "D", "E", "F", and "G" Troops
On 01 April, 1941, the 2nd Cavalry Division was activated at Ft. Riley, KS. Combat elements consisted of the 3rd Brigade, composed of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment from Ft. Riley and the 14th Cavalry Regiment from Ft. Des Moines, IA, the 4th Brigade, composed of the 9th Cavalry from Ft. Riley and Ft. Myer, VA, 10th Cavalry from West Point, NY and Ft Leavenworth, KS, the Division Artillery composed of the 3rd Field Artillery Battalion from Ft. Riley and the 16th Field Artillery Battalion from Ft Myer, VA, along with other support units of the 9th Engineer Battalion from Ft. Riley, 24th Ordnance and 110th Quartermaster.
In late August the 10th Cavalry Regiment participated with the 2nd Cavalry Division in the Second Army Maneuvers as a component of the Red Forces facing the VII Corps' Blue Army. Given the task of capturing Arkansas and Louisiana, the training mission of the 2nd Division ended on 09 September with divisional elements located at Chatham, Louisiana. During the next week the Division became part of the Second Army's Red Force, now challenging the Blue Force of the Third Army. The first goal of Second Army was to defeat and remove the Blue Forces from southern Louisiana, and then to keep the enemy from capturing Shreveport, LA. At the close of these maneuvers the 2nd Cavalry Division returned to Kansas, having stopped the Blue Forces still forty miles from the city.
Returning to Ft. Riley and Camp Funston, KS, the 10th became involved in another set of field training maneuvers. Operation, "PRACTICE BLITZKRIEG" was based in Kansas and ended with the capture of Topeka, KS. and surrender of the state by the governor. The Army's plan for increasing the strength of the 10th Cavalry and the field training was well timed for the events to come which came about as a result of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on 07 December 1941.
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