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.
Orders came to the Second Cavalry in the summer of 1884 to change station to the Division of the Pacific. In compliance with G.O. No. 33, War Department, April 17, 1884, Regimental Headquarters, Band, and Troops E, F, G, H, I, and L assembled at Fort Ellis, Montana, and then marched to Fort Missoula, Montana, where they were joined by Troop B, before proceeding to their new stations. Troops A, C, K, and M assembled at Helena, Montana, before being distributed to their new posts. Troop D exchanged station with Troop E, First Cavalry which was at Fort Boise, Idaho. The two troops exchanged wagon transportation at old Fort Hall and shipped their baggage by rail.
Before leaving the Department of the Dakota, General Terry wrote the following letter to the regimental commander, Colonel Hatch:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF DAKOTA,
Fort Snelling, Minn., June 16, 1884
General: ”I cannot suffer the 2d Cavalry to leave this Department, for another sphere of duty, without expressing to you and to your officers and men my sense of the value of the services which it has rendered while it has been under my command, and my respect and admiration for its character. It is now fifteen years since a portion of the regiment came into this Department; it is seven years since the whole of it reported to me. During all these years it has been constantly called upon for duty in the field, often for service in active campaigns against hostile Indians; and in all this service, whether in field or garrison, it has displayed soldierly qualities of the highest order, gallantry in action, patience under hardship, subordination to authority, and a quiet, unassuming devotion to duty worthy of the highest praise, and worthy also of the splendid history which it had made for itself in the past.
I beg of you to accept for yourself, and for your officers and men, my most hearty good wishes for your and their prosperity and happiness, and also the expression of my belief that no regiment in the service has ever won a more honorable reputation than that which is deservedly borne by the Second Cavalry.
(Signed) ALFRED H. TERRY
The service required of the troops at their new stations was of the most peaceful kind. As the railroad and water transportation became more extensive, isolated posts were abandoned. In the Department of the Columbia, the principal posts where Indian hostilities were most likely to occur at this time were Forts Walla Walla, Spokane, and Coeur d’ Alene. In the summer, marches were made to unexplored areas and in the winter training was varied by having gymnastic drills and exercises.
In December 1884, the regiment was distributed to the new stations as follows:
Regimental Headquarters, Band, and Troops B, E, F, G, I, Fort Walla Walla, Wash.
Troops A, K, Presidio of San Francisco, Calif.
Troop C, Fort Bidwell, Calif.
Troop D, Boise Barracks, Idaho
Troop H, Fort Spokane, Wash.
Troop L, Fort Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Troop M, Fort Klamath, Ore.