SOUTH DAKOTA NATIONAL GUARD
AUGUST 17-28, 1906
The corps was commanded by Sergeant J. A. Hendry of Gary, a man most ably fitted for the position and who has seen active work in the "Johnnie Bull" army and also for Uncle Sam. The sergeant has been with us since the organization of the camp at Watertown six years ago.
Our corps this year consisted of four men, Private Conn Allen of Watertown proved himself to be a most efficient corps man as did likewise Private Bruce MacDowell of Watertowne, always being on the spot when needed to take care of the sick and wounded and all in all the corps proved to be one of the most successful branehes of service in the Fourth infantry, South Dakota National Guards. Captain Riley, our mascot rooster, is alive and will be with us at camp in 1907.
"TO THE WAR WE MUST GO."
This cry of the South Dakota National Guard as it went into Watertown on August 9th, was kept up to such good effect, that not only were arrangements made for taking practically the entire regiment down to Ft. Riley, Kas., but a large majority of the members of the command went to Riley after successive winnowings, due to the work at Watertown, and sour stomachs from overeating. Six full companies of forty men and three officers each, were organized into two battalions for the trip. Aside from the practice march around the lake, and the target practice, the instruction at Watertown was largely along extended order lines, which fitted the regiment for the field maneuvers to come.
Despite all this, however, when Camp Roosevelt was struck on August 10, and the provisional companies started for Riley, it was with a feeling of going into a new experience, more than with any idea of winning the honors which were afterwards heaped on this regiment.
A large factor in securing the compliments was the gentlemanly and orderly conduct of the men, both going, coming and at the Maneuver Camp. Too much cannot be said for the individual members of the regiment in this regard. Their prompt obedience and cheerful willingness, made it possible to make the entire trip without having had a single case of insubordination, or a single man in the guard house.
Passing briefly over the trip to Riley, which occupied two days and nights, the splendid train of five tourists and one Pullman, and which was noticeable chiefly by the loss of some bills belonging to Col. Stewart, which blew out of the wildow, the regiment arrived at Riley at 12:09 Sunday morning. None but the guards knew it, however, as the command slumbered on until 5:30, when preparations were made to leave the train. Each car was cleaned up, and at 6:15, the baggage wagons arrived and the work of unloading the baggage commenced. The train was alongside the 30th camp, and our boys had a chance to see what a regular camp looked like.
At 6:30 the order to detrain was given, and a short five minutes after the commamd was in motion towards its camp which was to be its home the next eight days. The South Dakota camp was on the extreme right of Maneuver Camp, on Pawnee Flat, some three miles from the headquarters. Sheridan's Bluffs rose back of us, and for a while it seemed hot as Hades. This feeling soon wore off, however, and by the time camp was made all felt at home, and could see many things in which our site had the best of it. Company streets were laid out perpendicular to the line of water taps, with kitchens on the other side. The headquarters row had a nice flat space, in marked contrast to some camps farther down. After making camp, Sunday was taken leisurely, guard mount and retreat occurring at 4:30 and .5:20 respectively. The officers called on Brig. GeIn. T. J. Wint, at 7:00 p.m., after which Col. R. W. Stewart relinquished the command to Major E. D. Aldrich of Sioux Falls. Col. Stewart was called to Chicago on important business, and though he, and the command, regretted the necessity for his leaving regrets were of no avail. Major Aldrich jumped into a difficult position with his accustomed vigor, and it was largely due to his tact and ability that no retrograde movement set in.
It seems unnecessary to give a detailed account of the first two days' work, it being battalion drill in close and extended order. Tuesday afternoon, however, a small problem was essayed by the two battalions, the Second, under Major Johnson driving in the rear guard of the First, and forcing it to form line on one of the crests of the Saddleback. The attack and defense were both well conducted and the combatants entered into the spirit of the affair enthusiastically.
Wednesday saw the hardest march of the week. On account of starting late practically a forced march of 5 miles was made, during which some twenty-five minutes was gained on the Kansas troops, who started that much ahead for the same objective. The object was to relieve outposts, a line having been formed by part of the 30th and 18th regiments. South Dakota's two battalions relieved the regulars in a little over 30 minutes, making quick work. Outposts were left out an hour and a half, the only excitement being occasioned by the Kansas topographical officer, who with an orderly and a horse, took up a position on Morris hill, exposing himself to view for miles in front.
Camp was reached at 1:30 and the command rested until retreat. Thursday the outfit was brigaded with the two Kansas regiments, under Brig. Gen. Drew, of Kansas. The problem was to march to the edge of the reservation over the Saddle Back and Wilson's Ranch roads, pitch camp, cook dinner (individually) and return to camp, giving exercises in advance, flank and rear guards. An active enemy, cavalry and artillery was out against the force. General Drew had a squadron of cavalry and one battery to assist him. Thanks to General Drew, the entire force went into camp at the designated place without any trouble, the enemy hardly reaching our cavalry screen before recall was sounded. The poor South Dakota's, however, were in support of the battery, and its commander, soured at being supported by doughboys, always moved off at a trot, and left us to follow him. It was hot work, but gave us an opportunity to see the whole thing. The honors remained with our force, the blues, all through the day. At the "talk-fest" that evening, the Kansas outfit was roasted for not carrying blankets in the rolls, while not a word was said about the South Dakotas, most of whom carried full equipment. It may be said with pride that " South Dakota " was not mentioned in the " big tent " during the week, except to praise.
Friday was the big battle problem, and for this purpose one battalion of Kansas was brigaded with us under Lt. Col. Aldrich. We were the brown army on this occasion, and Colonel Aldrich also had a squadron of cavalry, and one horse battery.
Our force was supposed to be an advanced brigade from a brown army at Manhattan, some sixteen miles back. Colonel Aldrich's orders were to reconnoiter the Republican river on the west of the reservation, back of which a blue army was encamped. The brown party, consisting of the remainder of Kansas, one squadron and a battery, had orders, it turned out, to proceed up the Ogden road and hold the bridge.
Through the prompt start and quick movement, our cavalry swept the hills and gained ground for up Forsyth Drive and the Saddleback, at the same time holding the point on Sheridan 's Bluffs, until our advance guard could get to it. The South Dakota's, forming the main column, proceeded up Forsyth Drlive under cover of the trees until the advance guard of the blues was observed on the heights to the west. A skirmish line was formed and acting under orders, the regiment finally broke cover and charged across the open. A flanking fire was employed on the right which minimized the loss here, which wuldl have otherswise been heavy. Kansas hurried up three battalions here, which relieved the pressure on the left of their line, and also opened the way for our cavalry to get around in their rear and get the desired information about the main army.
While no decision was made officially by the umpires, the private conversations were to the effect that each side would have accomplished its object, although we could have held the hills two hours or more and then retired, virtually Ieaving them free to hold the Ogden bridge after our own object had been attained. The umpires were higly complimentary en the conduct of the troops throughout the problem.
The afternoon and Saturday morning were devoted to cleaning up for inspection, and a fine inspection it was. Colonel Murray, chief-of-staff to General Wint, complimented the officers and men most highly, and declared that he would report the regiment as ready for the field after three weeks more training. This shows that we have builded better than we knew. Also, that the association with the regulars helped us much.
In speaking of the regulars, we must not forget Capt. George D. Guyer, 15th Inf. and Lt. Paul E. Beck, 5th Inf. Captain Guyer, who is an aide to Governor Elrod, went along under state orders. He had been instructing the officers the past year, and was pleased to see his work bear fruit. Lieutenant Beck was assigned to duty with the regiment at camp, by Brigadier General Wint, and he it was who put us " next " to all the little rules of that particular camp. Lieutenant Beck made a friend of every officer, and it is only fair to say he was as enthusiastic for us as we were friendly to him. In appreciation of the services of Captain Guyer and Lieutenant Beck, and the cordial relations existing between them and the regiment, on Sunday morning, each was presented with a wrist watch. Captain Morris of Redfield made the presentations, and the recipients responded in kind, although too much overcome to make extended speeches.
Much praise is due the band, which won favor everywhere. Its concerts were always largely attended, and greatly appreciated.
Adjutant General C. H. Englesby, whose hustle made the trip possible, handled the various odds and ends of the trip in a manner which helped the regiment materially in the showing made, and showed him for what he is, a capable, competent officer. The affairs of the adjutant general's office are in good hands as long as he has charge.
THE TRIP TO FORT RILEY, KANSAS.
(By Capt. George D. Guyer.)
The decision having been made by the officers of the National Guard of South Dakota that as large an organization as the appropriation would permit would attend the camp of instruction at Fort Riley, Kansas, the following plan was adopted.
From August 9th to 16th the 4th Regiment of Infantry to be encamped at the state camp grounds, Watertown, S. D., and be equipped and instructed specially for such duties as they would have at Fort Riley. August 17th to entrain for Fort Riley. From the total number of men attending the state encampment, three hundred officers and men volunteered to go to Riley. These 300 men and officers were formed into 6 companies of 40 men each and the 6 companies into 2 battalions of 3 companies each with regimental headquarters and band.
Adj. Gen. C. H. Englesby and Capt. G.D. Guyer, 16th Inf., also accompanied the regiment.
The number furnished by the several towns of South Dakota to form these companies are as follows:
Salem, 54; Canton, 48; Sioux Falls, 66; Yankton, 16; Watertown, 8; Redfield, 36; Aberdeen, 11; Huron, 21; Sisseton, 37. Total officers, 27 Total enlisted men, 269.
On August 16th, the companies having been equipped, equalized and officered, the regiment left Camp Roosevelt, about 5 o'clock p. m. and arrived at the base ball grounds, Watertown about 7 o'clock p.m. where camp was made with shelter tents.
The wagon train for the regulation allowance of baggage consisted of fifteen escort wagons. The hour of entraining as set at 7 o'clock a.m. August 17th, and promptly at the hour the command was formed in line facing the special train.
The cars, both baggage and passenger, were duly inspected and assigned to companies.
The special train consisted of the following equipment: One horse car -- Arms palace, two baggage cars, six tourists' sleep cars, uniform size 1; one standard Pullman car-a Wagner type; condition of cars was: Standard Pullman, good; six tourists, sixteen sections each, good, except one had no gas.
The train started from Watertown at 9:50 a. m. An early inspection of the companies after the train had started showed that all but one company had placed a guard at each end of its car. The length of these sentinels varied, some prescribed two hours and some one hour. Their orders also varied and were somewhat indefinite as to visiting from ear to ear, sitting on steps while train was in motion; as to duty when train stopped at stations.
One officer of each company was stationed in the car with his men. The end of the Tourist car next to the Standard was occupied by members of the Hospital Corps and was arranged as a dispensary by aid of the field surgical chests.
No stated sick call was had so far as observed, the sick being immediately treated as reported.
Redfield was reached 11:50 a. m. Huron was reached 2:45 p. m. At Huron, the coffee ordered ahead by telegraph was served the men. Left Huron 3:30 p. m.
At Salem three men left the train without authority and were subsequently dropped as it was impossible to arrange for them to rejoin. One man with symptoms of typhoid fever was also sent from Salem to his home at Sioux Falls.
Coffee was supplied at Centerville, S. D., for the men's supper 8:10-8:35 p. m.
Upon arrival at Omaha the train was reinspected and all deficiencies supplied.
Center Valley, Neb., was reached at 7:45 a. m. August 8 and coffee for breakfast served.
The men were detrained and ten minutes settling up exercise given, while at the same time the cars, thus unoccupied, were thoroughly cleaned up by the porters.
Coffee for dinner was purchased at Lincoln, Neb., at 2:40 p.m. and the officiers served dinner at the hotel.
From Lincoln a telegram was sent to the commanding officer, Camp of Instruction, Fort Riley, informing him of the probable hour of the regiment's arrival at Riley.
After leaving Lincoln the companies were checked up and the number of men present agreed with the number on morning reports.
Coffee for supper was served at Beatrice, Kans., 4:55 p. m. Left Beatrice at 5:40 p. m. and arrived at Fort Riley, Kans., 12:09 a. m. August 18th.
The men remained in their berths until 5 p. m. when they detrained and under charge of First Lieut. Paul Beck, 5th U. S. Inf., marched to the camp grounds assigned.
The morning reports at 5 p. m. showed 268 enlisted men, 27 officers.
E COMPANY NOTES.
Privates Anspaugh and Harris were transferred to Company M. Privates. Gaven, Wheatley and Wheatridge were transferred to Company I.
The author overheard Lieutenant Beck of the United States Army remark that E Company were a fine set of men, being well set up and uniform in size.
E. O. Berg, present captain, served in the Spanish-American war. Company was entertained at Sioux Falls by Company B en route to Watertown. Did target work.
Only company that did not have any men fall out or play out in the long marches and maneuvers at Fort Riley. Reason: The men are all given a rigid army examination by Dr. P. P. Smith before sworn into the Service, and if found unfit in any way are not admitted.
The company enjoyed government rations.
G COMPANY NOTES.
Sergeant Fred Swallsoll of G Company was awarded the prize offered by Adjutant General Englesby for the neatest and cleanest soldier in the regiment which was awarded by Captain Guyer U. S. A.
M COMPANY NOTES.
Company M of Yankton and Company D of Mitchell were consolidated making M Company. The company commander furnishing the author with the names of the men in their respective towns but which it has been impossible to state which members of Company M reside at Mitchell and which at Yankton.
South Dakota Band Concert One of the Best Musical Programs Ever Heard in the Park.
The concert given by the band of the South Dakota National Guard in the citypark Wednesday evening was one of the best concerts ever heard here. The band is known as Stout's 4th Regimental band of Sious falls and at the concert Wednesday evening Bandmaster Stout directed the musicians. The cocnert was listened to by a highly pleased audience. The crowd was a large one and would have been several times larger if notice of the concert had been given a day sooner.
The South Dakota band gave an excellent program including both classical and popular music. Thw concert began about 8:30 and continued until about 10. Every selection received well-merited applause. It was a splendid concert and Junction City would like to hear the band again. -- Junction City Union.
(Compliments from the Junction City Union, August 20)
(Compliments from the Junction City Union, August 20)
One of the most soldiery looking national guard organizations that has yet come to the camp of instruction at Fort Riley is the South Dakota troops that arrived there Sunday morning at 1 o'clock under the command of Colonel R.W. Stewart.
The headquarters band and two battalions of the 4th regiment of South Dakota National Guards numbers close to 400 men. Owing to the late arrival of these troops they were not detrained until Sunday morning at 6:30 O'clock. The troops left Watertown, S.D., at 11:00 Friday morning and wre delayed on the way on account of a wreck of a train ahead of theirs.
As soon as the men had detrained their equipment was moved to the place that was assigned to them for camp. They were given the space east of where the Arkansas regiment was encamped about a half-mile east of the old state house. The South Dakota troops went into camp about as quickly as it takes the regulars to pitch their camp and they were highly complimented by regular officers for knowing how to detrain and take care of their equipment.