Tag Archive | Military

Object: Insignia

i-0118b

I-0118b
Insignia
African-American
United States
Mid-19th to early 20th Century
Materials: Metal/Paint/Enamel

This object is an insignia pin for the 10th Cavalry of the United States Army.  It was used to distinguish the members of the regiment.  The 10th Cavalry was formed in the summer of 1866 as part of the Army Reorganization Act, which was enacted to rebuild the United States Army after the Civil War.

Liberators of Cuba, soldiers of the 10th Cavalry after the Spanish-American War. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Liberators of Cuba, soldiers of the 10th Cavalry after the Spanish-American War. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The Civil War had depleted the troops, and the Army needed to replenish their numbers for a peacetime military.  As part of their reorganization, the Army created six regiments of black soldiers- two cavalry and four infantry– approved by Congress.   These regiments consisted entirely of enlisted black men, but were led by white officers.

Many of the men who joined these regiments had served during the Civil War and were farmers, bakers, painters, and many other occupations.  However, the military offered an opportunity for social and economic advancement.  As soldiers, these men earned $13 a month, along with food, clothing, and shelter- much more than their other jobs offered.

The 10th Cavalry was formed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was commanded by Colonel Benjamin Grierson.  Their biggest assignment was to aid in westward expansion and protect American settlements.  Tasked with keeping order, they were often confronted with raids by bands of numerous Native American tribes, who were growing more and more desperate due to buffalo- their main food source- going extinct from sport hunting by white settlers and soldiers.

Fighting bravely in over one hundred battles against the Native tribes, even when outnumbered, soldiers like those in the 10th Cavalry earned the respect of tribal leaders.  To the tribes, the soldiers’ hair was thick and curly, like that of a buffalo, and the American Indians believed the soldiers were brave like a buffalo, so began calling the black soldiers “Buffalo Soldiers.”  It was a term of respect toward what they considered a valiant opponent in battle.  The symbol of the buffalo became the regiment’s official insignia in 1922.

Besides their contributions in battle, the soldiers of the 10th Cavalry, as well as the other buffalo soldier regiments, had countless accomplishments.  Constantly subjected to racial prejudice, and making due with cast-offs like aging horses and worn out equipment from more prestigious regiments, the buffalo soldiers carried out missions that were vital to America’s success.

In 1871, the 10th Cavalry accompanied General William T. Sherman on an inspection tour of Texas.  They were instrumental in mapping the uncharted territories of the state.  In addition, they strung thousands of miles of telegraph line, opened new roads, escorted stagecoaches and wagon trains, protected railroad crews, and were the driving force behind building and renovating dozens of frontier forts, including Fort Stockton in west Texas.

The 10th Cavalry, and all buffalo soldiers, hold an enduring legacy in American history.  Their success in the face of adversity makes them true heroes, and their contributions to the expansion of the United States can be seen throughout the stories of the American west. [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Christian, Garna L.  Black Soldiers in Jim Crow Texas, 1899-1917.  College Station:  Texas A&M University Press, 1995.

Cox, Clinton.  The Forgotten Heroes: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers.  New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Glass, Edward L.N.  The History of the Tenth Cavalry, 1866-1921.  Ft. Collins, CO: Old Army Press, 1972.

Leckie, William H. and Shirley A. Leckie.  The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.

Object: Safe

i-0098g-scan

I-0098g
Safe
Alamo Safe and Lock Co.
American
San Antonio, TX
19th Century
Materials: Metal/Paint

This object is a heavy metal safe, manufactured by Alamo Safe and Lock Co. in the late 19th- early 20th century.  It was owned by John Lincoln Clem- an army officer who served in the Civil War.

Sgt. Johnny Clem / Schwing & Rudd, photographers, Army of the Cumberland. Image via Library of Congress.

Sgt. Johnny Clem / Schwing & Rudd, photographers, Army of the Cumberland. Image via Library of Congress.

Clem was born in Newark, Ohio in 1851, with the name John Joseph Klem.  When he was young, he changed his middle name to Lincoln because of his deep admiration for President Abraham Lincoln.  He also changed the spelling of his last name from “Klem,” to “Clem.”  When he was nine, his mother died,  and he ran away from home to join the Union army.  Although the 3rd regiment out of Ohio wouldn’t accept him because of his age, a year later, the 22nd Infantry Regiment in Michigan let him follow them, adopting him as their unofficial drummer boy and mascot.

He was allowed to officially enlist in 1863, at the age of twelve.  Clem, carrying a musket that had been sawed down for him to handle better, became famous after the Battle of Chickamauga.   During the battle, he became separated from his group, and was ordered to stop and surrender by a Confederate Colonel.  Rather than surrendering, Clem swung around with his musket and fired, shooting the Colonel.  He returned safely to Union lines.

As a result of his heroism, he became known as the “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga,” and was promoted to sergeant- the youngest soldier ever to become a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.   A month later, he was captured by Confederate soldiers in Georgia and used as a propaganda tactic by the South, who stated “when they have to send their babies out to fight us.”  He was soon released in a prisoner exchange with the North.

In 1864, after fighting in several more battles, Johnny Clem was discharged from the army, and returned home to finish school.  He graduated high school in 1870 and tried to enlist in West Point.  After failing the entrance exam several times, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him as 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  In 1875, Clem completed artillery school in Virginia, and then transferred to the Quartermaster Department, where he was eventually promoted to captain.  Near the end of his career, John Clem was the chief quartermaster at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio (1906-1911).

By the time he retired in 1915, he was 64 years old, had risen to the rank of brigadier general and actively served in the military for 45 years.  After retirement, he was promoted to major general.  He was officially the last Civil War veteran to actively serve in the United States Army.  Clem died in San Antonio in 1937, and was taken to Arlington National Cemetery to be buried.

John Clem lived a life of bravery and adventure.  His story has inspired many over the years. The song “The Ballad of Johnny Shiloh,”  written by Andrew Landers, commemorates him, and there has been speculation that the popular Civil War song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was inspired by Clem.  Even Walt Disney produced a film in 1963- exactly one hundred years after Clem enlisted- called “Johnny Shiloh,” based on Clem’s time as a young drummer boy in the Union army.  John Lincoln Clem was a larger than life, true American patriot and legend. [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Abbott, E.F., Steven Noble.  John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy.  New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2016.

Kendall, Sandra A., Gilson L. Kendall.  Drummer Boys of the Civil War.  Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications, 1998.

Rhodes, James A., Dean Jauchius.  Johnny Shiloh: A Novel of the Civil War.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959.

Wisler, G. Clifton.  When Johnny Went Marching: Young Americans Fight the Civil War.  New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2001.

Object: Draft Card

2016_2_1

2016.2.1
WWI Draft Registration Card
American
San Antonio, Texas
1917
Materials: Paper, Ink

This object is a World War I draft registration card for Ernst Fritz Schuchard of San Antonio, Texas. Born in 1893, Schuchard was twenty-four years old when he registered for the draft.

The Selective Service Act, or Selective Draft Act, was passed in 1917 and allowed the President to temporarily increase the size of the military during times of war. After the Act became law, there were three registrations in 1917 and 1918. Schuchard registered on the first registration day which was held on June 5, 1917. This registration day was designated for all “men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one and those born between 6 June 1886 and 5 June 1896.” In Texas, 989,600 men registered for the draft in 1917. Schuchard was later drafted into the Army and served in World War I.

Students protest the Vietnam War and draft

Students protest the Vietnam War and draft. Image by uwdigitalcollections via Wikimedia Commons

The Selective Service Act was cancelled after the end of World War I, but a new version was passed by Congress in 1940 in preparation for the United States’ involvement in World War II. The Selective Service Act was due to expire in 1947, but President Truman and Congress renewed it. During the Vietnam War, the selective service act was met with public resistance and there were nationwide demonstrations against it. Many of the demonstrations were due to the fact that Americans felt the system was unfair. This was due to deferments based on family status and whether or not the person was in college. In order to help with these issues a new act called the Military Selective Service Act of 1967 was passed, but did little to stop anti-draft protests. The Military Selective Service Act expired in 1973, but President Carter reenacted it in 1980 and it is still in effect today. Today, the Selective Service requires all males to register when they reach the age of eighteen, but there has not been an induction through the Selective Service System since 1973.

Registration with the Selective Service has been restricted to males only. Females serving in the military have traditionally been banned from serving in combat roles. In 2015, the department of defense declared that these restrictions would be lifted in 2016. Congress however, is now faced with the decision of whether to change the Selective Service Act to include all females who are eighteen years old. This past June the Senate passed a bill that would require women to register for the draft as well. This bill has yet to be signed into law and further debate is expected as it makes its way through the House.

As for Ernst Schuchard, after his service he returned to San Antonio to work as an engineer at the Pioneer Flour Mill which was founded by is grandfather, Carl Guenther. The Guenther Family immigrated to Texas from Germany. After advancing to the position of Secretary and eventually to President at the flour mill, Schuchard began making detailed drawings and paintings of the Missions in San Antonio. Schuchard was involved in the research and reconstruction of the grist mill at Mission San Jose. Ernst Schuchard became a well-known artist in Texas. He died in San Antonio in 1972 and was buried at Mission Burial Park South. [Kim Grossett, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Baker, Henderson. Women in Combat: A Cultural Issue? Carlisle Barracks, Pa: U.S. Army War College, 2006.

Coffman, Edward M. The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.

Flynn, George Q. Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Schulzinger, Robert D. A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941-1975. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Object: Commemorative Plate

I-0564a (2)

I-0564a
Commemorative Plate
Wood & Son, England
Tejano
ca. 1910
Materials: Porcelain

This object is a commemorative plate with the image of Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz with the Mexican flag in the background. Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz played important roles in Mexican history during the 1800s. Both came from backgrounds connected to Mexico’s indigenous population. They would find themselves at the top of Mexican politics and eventually served as Presidents during the nineteenth and into the early twentieth centuries.

The Mexican-American War began in 1946 and marked the beginning of an aggressive campaign to expand the United States territory from coast to coast. Manifest Destiny had been a popular idea throughout the 19th century and was used in 1945 by John L. O’Sullivan, an editor for the Democratic Review. This idea was used to support the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico by the United States . By 1948 the war was over and the United States now claimed a third of Mexican territory.

Benito Juarez was born 1806 in Oaxaca, Mexico. Despite his upbringing in a peasant Zapotec family, Juarez gained the education and connections needed to begin his participation in politics by 1831 as a lawyer and liberal politician. He participated in the denouncement of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and ex-President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Later he was also against the Mexican-American War. By 1957, Benito Juarez had gained the people’s support and was democratically elected as the President of Mexico where he served until his death in 1872.

Depiction of the Battle of Puebla

Depiction of the Battle of Puebla. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Porfirio Diaz was born in 1830 in a poor mestizo, or part Indian family. Diaz joined the Mexican-American War at 16 although he never saw combat. An avid supporter of Juarez, he was brought under him as a protégé after the Mexican-American War. He supported Juarez’s regime as a prominent member in the military. During the French Intervention, when France took over Mexico and installed Maximilian of Austria-Hungary as a monarch, Diaz continued to play an important part in the military push against the French. He was present as the Battle of Puebla in 1862 which successfully pushed back the French from advancing on Mexico City and is celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo.

Porfirio Diaz would go on to become President from 1877 to 1880. After his handpicked successor failed him, he ran for reelection in 1884 and would soon become the dictator of Mexico until 1911. At that point his administration was opposed militarily by Francisco Madero which pushed Diaz into exile in France where he died in 1915. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Readings:

Garner, Paul H. Porfirio Díaz. Harlow, England: Longman, 2001.

Heidler, David Stephen, and Jeanne T Heidler. The Mexican War. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2006.

Miller, Robert Ryal. Arms across the Border: United States Aid to Juárez during the French Intervention in Mexico. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: American Philosophical Society, 1973.

Whepman, Dennis. Benito Juárez. New Haven, Connecticut: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Object: Model Gun

I-0402a

I-0402 a
Wooden gun model
Italian American Texas 1901-1957
Materials: Wood

This wooden gun was used by the Italian sculptor Pompeo Luigi Coppini as a model for one of his sculptures. Although Coppini would later become one of the most revered sculptors in Texas, it took him a while to make his way here. Born in 1870 in Moglia, Mantua, Italy, Coppini spent the majority of his time in Florence, Italy. While in Florence he studied under Augusto Rivalta at the Academia di Belle Arti until he graduated with honors in 1889. He would stay under the guidance of Rivalta until 1896 when he immigrated to the US where he met his wife, Elizabeth Di Barbieri .

Pompeo Coppini, image via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1901 Coppini moved to Texas to help the German sculptor Frank Teich fulfill a new order for Confederate memorials. While working under Teich, Coppini was put in charge of making a monument to Jefferson Davis with four Confederate soldiers on the Texas capitol grounds. His work was so impressive that he was able to generate his own commissions, often competing with his former boss Teich. The commissions kept rolling in, in 1903 alone he was commissioned to work on the statue of Rufus C. Burleson at the University of Baylor in Waco, TX, as well as busts of the Confederate Generals Johnston , Lee, Jackson  and Confederate President Jefferson Davis for a monument in Paris, TX. On top of all of those commissions, he also worked on a group of statues called the “Victims of the Galveston Flood” for the University of Texas. His work didn’t stop there, in 1905-1907 he worked on an equestrian monument of Terry’s Texas Rangers (the Eighth Texas Confederate Cavalry), which is also located on the Texas Capitol grounds. In 1910 he completed the bas relief for Sam Houston’s tombstone in Huntsville, TX, as well as finishing the Texas Revolutionary Monument  in Gonzales, TX.

Spirit of Sacrifice: Alamo Cenotaph. Image by Zygmunt Put Zetpe0202, via Wikimedia Commons.

These are just a few early examples of Coppini’s works, it would not be until the late 1920s-1930s that Coppini would produce two of his most influential and iconic pieces; The Littlefield Fountain Memorial on the grounds of the UT campus (1920-1928) and the “Spirit of Sacrifice: the Cenotaph to the Heroes of the Alamo” (1937-1939). The Littlefield fountain was one of the few sculptures that Coppini worked on outside of Texas. Moving from his studio in San Antonio in 1916 in order to cast the bronze for the Littlefield fountain. He would first move to Chicago for short period of time, then three years later to New York to oversee the casting of the fountain; its purpose was to symbolize the reunion of the North and South. He would later move back to San Antonio in 1937 to reopen his studio on 115 Melrose Place, to work on the “Spirit of Sacrifice.” The cenotaph is one of Coppini’s largest works, the base alone is 12 feet by 40 feet. The cenotaph is 60 feet tall and is covered in Coppini’s extraordinarily detailed bas relief figures; some of the figures, like William B. Travis, stand at least 25 feet tall.

In 1931, his home country of Italy awarded him the title of Commendatore of the crown of Italy for his works in America. In 1934, Centennial Commissions awarded him a commemorative half-dollar for the bronze statues in the Hall of States. In 1941 the University of Baylor gave Coppini an honorary doctorate degree in fine art. He would also be art director at Trinity University for a few years. He went on to found the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts in San Antonio, in 1945. Located in his old studio, Coppini would teach and sculpt here until his death in 1957. The school is still open today, and when it’s not hosting fine art classes, it serves as a museum of Coppini’s life and works. [Tanner Norwood, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources

Brooks, Nick. Mouldmaking and Casting. Marlborough [UK]: Crowood, 2005. 

Coppini, Pompeo. 1949. From Dawn to Sunset. San Antonio: Press of the Naylor Co.

Kowal, Dennis., and Dona Z. Meilach. 1972. Sculpture Casting: Mold Techniques and Materials, Metals, Plastics, Concrete. Crown’s arts and crafts series; Crown’s arts and crafts series. New York: Crown Publishers.

Wright, John R. Pompeo Coppini and Corpus Christi’s First Experiment with Public Art. [Corpus Christi, Tex.?]: J.R. Wright, 1989.

Object: Painting

i-0206v

I-0206v
Painting
“Milton Holland and Medal Of Honor, 1864”
Bruce Marshall
American
20th Century
Materials: Paper, Paint

340px-Emancipation_proclamation_typeset_signed

Typeset, signed, and framed copy (“Leland-Boker Authorized Edition”, printed in June 1864) of the Emancipation Proclamation on display at the Pennsylvania State University Special Collections Library. Image via Wikimedia Commons

During the American Civil War there was an estimated of 4 million slaves in the United States and 500,000 free African Americans. Though many African Americans wanted to serve in the army they simply were not allowed. It was not until 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued that they would be welcomed. This object is a painting entitled “Milton Holland and Medal of Honor, 1864” painted by Bruce Marshall.  Milton M. Holland was an African-American soldier who served during the Civil War.

When the war broke out people like Frederick Douglass believed that if African Americans fought in the war, the Union could win and it would be a step in the right direction for equal rights. However, President Lincoln worried that if African Americans were allowed to fight the border states would secede. By 1862 the number of white volunteers started dwindling and the war was nowhere near finished  Lincoln began to reconsider his decision about letting African Americans fight in the war. The first step was the creation of the Second Confiscation and Militia Act which was signed in 1862. This act allowed the president to “to employ as many persons of African descent as he may deem necessary and proper for the suppression of this rebellion…in such manner as he may judge best for the public welfare.”

Milton M. Holland

Milton M. Holland Image via Wikipedia

With this many African Americans began forming infantry units. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 specifically called freed slaves to join the Union. The first black regiment to be raised in the North was the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment after a call was put by the Governor. It was this same year that Milton M. Holland joined the army. Holland was born in Austin, TX to a slave woman and Bird Holland, a white slave owner who later served as a solider in the Confederacy. In the 1850s his father purchased Milton’s freedom, along with his two brothers, and sent them to school in Ohio.  Holland worked as a shoemaker for the Union army quartermaster at the beginning of the war because he was too young to enlist.  Once able to join, he became part of the 5th United States Colored Troops.

Holland fought in the Battle of the Crater, during the Petersburg campaign and at Fort Fisher and rose to the rank of regimental sergeant major. After all the white commanding officers were either wounded or killed in action at Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights, in 1864, it was Holland who assumed command and led the troops in battle. While he was leading, Holland was wounded and this earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Holland was the first African-American from Texas to receive it. Holland was promoted to captain but the commission was refused by the War Department because of his race.

After the war Holland lived in Washington, D.C. He worked in the Auditor Department of the United States. Holland also opened the Alpha Insurance Company which was one of the first African-American owned insurance companies in D.C. Holland died in 1910 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Berlin, Ira, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland. Freedom’s Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Reid, Richard M. Freedom for Themselves: North Carolina’s Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

Smith, John David. Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Wilson, Keith P. Campfires of Freedom: The Camp Life of Black Soldiers During the Civil War. Kent [Ohio]: Kent State University Press, 2002.

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