ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
The regiment was now in the midst of a quiet New England setting after years of as varied, and at times turbulent, experiences as any organization ever underwent. Since the beginning of the Spanish-American War, the regiment was eight years and six months on foreign service, not counting the one and one-half years on the Mexican border just completed. Within a period of eighteen months, the type of service had moved in rapid succession from Moro fanatics to Mexican revolutionists. But now there was to be a period of comparative calm for three years before the World War again called forth this splendid organization.
Beginning on June 15, 1914, Troop M, under Captain Edward L. King, was assigned to duty for two months instructing the Students’ Battalion in Burlington, Vermont. In July the first squadron, under Major Charles W. Fenton, was on field maneuvers for eleven days at Hampton, Connecticut, with the National Guard of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, under the personal direction of the Commander of the Eastern Department, Major General Leonard Wood. The entire regiment took part in the field maneuvers in September at Plattsburg Barracks, New York, in which four other regiments of the regular army participated. Several troops attended patriotic celebrations during the year, noteworthy among which was the commemoration of the Battle of Plattsburg. The Band and Troop I, together with a horse-show team, were sent to Madison Square Garden, New York City, in December to take part in a horse show.
In February, 1915, the Machine Gun and Headquarters Troops were organized in accordance with tables of organization issued the previous year. In the first troop there were two officers and forty-eight men, while in the latter troop there were three officers and seventy men at peace strength. The Headquarters Troop was made up of the non-commissioned staff, the Band, and the field train, the latter including some attached Quartermaster Corps troops.
The work in the year 1915 was similar to that of the year before. In July the regiment participated in a joint camp of instruction for machine gun units on the Fort Ethan Allen reservation. Troops D and I were in attendance at the Students’ and Businessman’s Camp at Plattsburg Barracks, New York. The second squadron was on duty with the National Guard cavalry in July at Fishkill Plains, New York, where it arrived July 15 after a march of 244 miles. During the latter part of August and the month of September, the regiment, less Troop A, was maneuvering with the First Division and Businessman’s Camp at Plattsburg Barracks. The second squadron was engaged in military map work in the late fall, and did not return to Fort Ethan Allen until November 27.
The citizens’ training camp was continued during the summer of 1916 at Plattsburg, New York. These camps were the result of the efforts of Major General Wood to give military training to business and professional men. The regiment assisted in training that year over 13,000 of these patriots in five successive provisional regiments. Troop A was sent to Chicamauga Park, at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, on similar duty, as there was a growing demand throughout the country at this time for instruction in military subjects.
The first squadron was ordered to change station to Fort Meyer, Virginia, in March, where it arrived on the 28th. This post was maintained chiefly as a garrison adjacent to the capital.
Headquarters and Machine Gun Troops were reorganized in July, 1916, and the Supply Troop was organized for the first time. The Headquarters Troop now consisted of a troop headquarters, non-commissioned staff and band. The field trains were taken out of this troop and placed in the new Supply Troop. The Machine Gun Troop was increased in size to seventy men. This whole change in the units of the regiment was the result of the increase in size of the regular army.