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willgbirds

Troop F, 14th Cavalry Regt-Ft. Sam Houston

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I recently learned that my grandfather served in the U.S. Army during WW1. He was stationed in Texas and was assigned to Troop F, 14th Cavalry Regt. I would like to learn more, such as what was a typical day like at Ft. Sam Houston during time he served there (5/9/18 to 3/19/19)? What type of training did he undergo? Are there any regimental histories that describe this time period? Photos would be awesome.
  • Timothy Joseph Joseph Purcell served during World War I in the Army:
  • Enlisted: May 9, 1918
  • Discharged: March 19,1919 (the war ended Nov. 11, 1918)
  • The 14th Cavalry Regt was stationed at Ft Sam Houston, TX, Camp Travis, TX and then back to Ft Sam Houston in 1918.

 

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He was in the 14th Cav. when they were training for France, however the armistice was signed before they got there so they resumed border patrols.


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Thanks.

Any idea what kind of training they might have undergone--time period 5/9/18 to 3/19/19? What level of horesmenship? Did they have a single horse assigned to each enlisted man?

 

Any surviving photos Troop F, 14th Cavalry Regt?

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Willg;

 

I am the current Commander of the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, and we are the keeper of the Regimental History, Lineage and Honors. "Coldwarrules" is correct. The Regiment (still horse at the time) was stationed throughout Texas since 1912 and was a part of the Mexican Punitive Expedition and served under Black Jack Pershing. It was notified that it would deploy to World War I, but the Kaiser heard that the 14th Cavalry was coming and called the war off before we could put the beat down on him. So...the Regiment returned to patrol duty along the Mexican border until 1920 when it moved to Iowa and Illinois to train the National Guard and perform "interwar period training and operations." I would have to know your gradfather's duty title at the time of his service and whether he was enlisted or officer. That would tell me a great deal about what he did on a daily basis. I assume since he was in F Troop, that he was a scout. Scouts were assigned their own horse. His horse would have been brown in color, since the Regiment broke its loosely formed Squadrons down by the colors of its horse. 1st Squadron was Blackhorse, 2nd Squadron was Brownhorse, 3rd Squadron was something else...we can't find history on the matter. This allowed the Regimental Commander and Staff to quickly identify units on the battlefield, even if the troopers were mixed up in battle lines. He would spend the majority of his time, as every trooper does, in garrison performing some kind of tasking. Whether it is taking care of the horses, conducting rifle and saber drills, or more menial tasks like KP, area cleanliness, drill and ceremony, guard duty, etc. Patrolling was assigned by "sector." We do not have the breakdown of sectors, but the Troops were spread out over a large area. You can assume that F Troop had the border area south of Houston, but Fort Sam was more of a "staging fort" than anything. Given the very short amount of time he served in F Troop, he may not have even been on a patrol, as a "Shave Tail" is still in training for about a year before he becomes a real horseman. Do you know what he did before and after his time there?

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I remember my grandfather telling me that he "was tasked with transporting an African American man who was a prisoner, who possibly was going to be executed for his crime". It was a sad duty.
I am looking for some newspaper coverage of the executions of the Tillman trial that took place on September 16, 1918, just outside Fort Sam Houston.
I found a letter in the University of Michigan Clements Library from Alfred Schaller, 14th Cavalry Regt., Troop F, written Sept. 30, 1918:
"I did not see those Negroes as it was dark when they went by in the auto, and I could not see the scaffold as the bushes hid it, but I could hear everything."
I did some digging and learned that a series of court martial trials concerning "one of the largest race riots in American history" were held at Fort Sam Houston, TX, where Grandpa was stationed. The dates of the trials and executions fit exactly with his time there.
'The Houston Riot of 1917 was one of the saddest chapters in the history of American race relations. It vividly illustrated the problems that the nation struggled with on the home front during wartime." Three separate trials of the accused were held, all at Fort Sam Houston.
"Between November 1, 1917, and March 26, 1918, the army held three separate courts-martial in the chapel at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The military tribunals indicted 118 enlisted men of I Company for participating in the mutiny and riot, and found 110 guilty. It was wartime, and the sentences were harsh. Nineteen mutinous soldiers were hanged and sixty-three received life sentences in federal prison
The third trial, called the "Tillman case", drew national attention, leading President to intervene and limit the number of executions to six. The executions took place on September 16, 1918, just outside For Sam Houston, during the time Grandpa was stationed at the fort.

 

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I note that my grandfather enlisted at Fort Slocum May 19, 1918. He was sent to Fort Sam Houston and Camp Travis for training in the 14th Cavalry and attained the rank of private on Nov. 3, 1918. Does that mean he was in basic training from June to November? What would have been his status or rank before attaining private during those month?

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