Finding Aid: July/August 1985


The complete issue

Vol. VIII, No. 1
(32 pages)

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Cover image
Second Lieutenant Kenyon Ashe Joyce from the 6th U.S. Cavalry is the subject of this image, taken in about 1900.

Editor’s Desk (p. 1)
The editor announces this current issue as the “long-awaited all-cavalry issue.” It features a mix of biographies, unit histories, insignia, uniforms, and many items submitted by the readership. There was such a huge response, that another cavalry issue is in the works for 1986. Upcoming will be another issue on Zouaves and Chasseurs as well as a feature on National Guard uniforms from 1870-1900.

Mail Call (p. 3)
The readers of Military Images submitted a number of letters, ranging from the identification of a mystery Civil War monument from a previous “Stragglers” feature to a request for how to clean images from the early years of photography (with a comprehensive response). The discussion regarding faked ambrotypes and tintypes also continues.

Vignettes: Short Biographies of American Mounted Troops by Richard Rottenbury, Wendell W. Lang, Jr., Richard K. Tibbals, and John R. Sickles (pp. 4-6)
Starting with an image of five Confederates, four of which were from Company C, 8th Texas Cavalry, the pictorial includes the images and stories of these and six other Civil War cavalrymen. Some of them died during the Civil War, such as Sgt. Lamister Milan Parks, who died in Andersonville in August 1864, while others went on to other careers, such as Lt. Col. William R. Parnell of the 4th New York Cavalry, who went on to fight in the Indian Wars of the 1870s.

“Come On, You Wolverines!”: Custer’s Michigan Cavalry Brigade by Gregory J.W. Urwin (pp. 7-15)
The history of the Michigan Brigade is illustrated with the images of 16 members of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Michigan cavalry, including one of its most illustrious commander, General George Armstrong Custer. Combined with the 1st Michigan Cavalry and Light Battery M of the 2nd U.S. Artillery, when Custer took command, the Michiganders took soon took to the field against “Jeb” Stuart three miles east of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Breaking Stuart’s lines with a head-first charge, Custer led the men of the 7th Michigan into the fray while units from the 5th and David Gregg’s 2nd Cavalry Division hit from the flanks. Days later, they attacked Heth’s units at Falling Waters during the Confederate retreat after Gettysburg, inflicting a great deal of damage. Other engagements are described in the article, which takes the Michigan Cavalry through fighting in the Civil War and beyond. They were sent directly after the Grand Review of the Army to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and into action in the Great Plains until their enlistments were through. A sidebar article describes the origins of the Custer Badge, which was a solid gold Maltese cross with a brigadier’s star, inscribed with Custer’s name, these were presented only upon Custer’s personal order, making them a very sought-after distinction among the Michigan brigade’s officers.

The Pawnee Scouts: Auxilliary Troops in the U.S. Cavalry, 1864-1877 by Thomas R. Buecker and R. Eli Paul (pp. 16-19)
Seven images from the Nebraska State Historical Society illustrate the story of Pawnee who assisted the U.S. Army in its fighting against several hostile Native American tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe. Starting in 1864, uprisings in Indian Territory led the Army and the Pawnee, also targets of the Sioux, to join in putting down the uprisings. Eventually, these Pawnee Scouts were officially enlisted as soldiers beginning in 1866 under the command of Frank North, a civilian from the Pawnee Agency who simultaneously garnered military rank. Although provided with weaponry and uniforms like their white American counterparts, the Pawnee wore them as they desired inside the forts, but stripped to the bare minimum for recognition when about to engage in battle. Saddles and uniform boots were removed, and hats were often replaced with bandannas.

Boots and Saddles: A Survey of Images of the U.S. Cavalry from the Civil War to the Great War by Dennis Bender (pp. 20-29)
This pictorial article features 28 different images of the American cavalryman taken between 1861 and 1912. One quarter-plate ambrotype taken in 1861 features friends Alan G. Copenhaven of the 8th Virginia Cavalry, C.S.A. and Charles S. Venable, who was to eventually become an aide to Robert E. Lee. Images of the uniforms (Private Levi Scott, trumpeter of the 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment), insignia (a farrier wears a hammer and tongs within a horseshoe on his sleeve and a first sergeant with a rare star buckle), and weaponry of all types are shown. The troopers of the Spanish-American War era are depicted in full uniform and also in parade, seen with the all-black 10th Cavalry and a troop of “Rough Riders” in Philadelphia after the war. One page shows the cavalryman with his horse in various forms, from posing with a dog in the saddle, to the horse taking a defensive position on the ground for his rider to use for protection while firing, to taking jumps on a beach in the Philippines.

Passing in Review (pp. 30-31)                                                                                   This issue of Military Images features three publication reviews, beginning with The Spanish War: An American Epic, 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole. The reviewer found it to be a useful work, that saw Americans joining together again after the Civil War – both Fitzhugh Lee and Joe Wheeler joined as commanders for the U.S. Army. The author looks at the domestic and international concerns of the time, especially the impact of a rising Germany into the international arena. Second is Unto This Hour by Tom Wicker, a novel of the Civil War that seems to be fraught with errors that those knowledgeable about the conflict will note easily, leaving the reviewer to not recommend the book for the readership? Finally, Sons of the Morning Star by Evan Connell, is reviewed and comes away with a much different review. Written about Custer in the Indian Wars, the novelist’s approach is solid and is factually based, giving the reader an accurate account of both sides of the conflict. It should satisfy both those knowledgeable about Custer and those who want to read a balanced view of the Plains Indians and their lifestyle as well.

Back Image
Lt. W.B. Brainerd of the Chicago “Black Hussars” in 1891 is featured astride his mount.

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