MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE 10TH UNITED STATES CALVALRY [Buffalo Soldiers], F. P. Holcomb.
MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE 10TH UNITED STATES CALVALRY [Buffalo Soldiers],
MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE 10TH UNITED STATES CALVALRY [Buffalo Soldiers],
MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE 10TH UNITED STATES CALVALRY [Buffalo Soldiers],

MILITARY SERVICE WITH THE 10TH UNITED STATES CALVALRY [Buffalo Soldiers],

as recorded in a collection of nearly 700 photographs and real-photo postcards, 1911-1915, reflecting life in a peacetime assignment in Vermont, 1911-1913, and in the southwest battle zone guarding the Mexico-United States border in Arizona during the early years of the Mexican Revolution, 1913-1916, part of a larger collection of more than 1250 photographs documenting the military career of Freeborn P. Holcomb. The archive of more than 1250 photographs, virtually all with typed or manuscript captions, was assembled, and partly taken, by Freeborn P. Holcomb, a Troop commander in the 10th Cavalry, 1911-1916; approximately 700 were made during the six-year period he served with that unit. There are photographs in this collection dated during the period, 1889-1928, but, in addition to the bulk from the years of Holcomb's service with the 10th Cavalry in Vermont and Arizona, another 300 cover the period he spent in Ada, Ohio, while completing a master's degree and supervising a National Guard unit at Ohio Northern University, 1908-1911, with the balance of something over 250 images devoted to family and school photographs, 1889-1897 (10 images), Holcomb's service in Matanzas Cuba, 1900 (25), his service in the Philippines, ca. 1903-1907 and 1917-1919 (90), and his post-Arizona service in Guam, Camp Lee, Virginia, Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and Fort Lewis, Washington, and family life, 1916-1929 (150). Cuba, Philippines, Ohio, Vermont, Arizona, and other places, 1889-1928. Freeborn P. Holcomb (1873-1929), a native of Plattsburgh, New York, received his military training at the Michigan Military Academy (where one of his classmates was Edgar Rice Burroughs, pictured here, with Holcomb, in a group photo of four "Captains"), 1892-1896, immediately enlisting in service with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry upon graduation and working his way through the ranks to an appointment as second lieutenant in 1899, following service in the Spanish-American War. Subsequent to occupation duty in Mantanzas, Cuba, after the war, Holcomb travelled with the 2nd, first to Fort Logan, Colorado (1901-1903), then on the Philippines (1903-1907?) where he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1904 and transferred to the 14th Cavalry. In 1908 he began a master's program at Northern Ohio University where he was also involved in training cadets and possibly working with the football team (photos of the teams included here), finishing in 1911 (included here is a photograph of Holcomb at a N.O.U. gathering with President Taft and a White House invitation for Holcomb and his wife to the event). Having been promoted to captain in 1909, his next assignment was the command of a troop in the 10th U.S. Cavalry, an African-American unit on garrison duty at Fort Ethan Allen, Near Burlington, Vermont (1911-1913). He served with that regiment for six years (1911-1916), a period that included patrolling the southwestern border with Mexico during the early years of that country's revolution (1913-1916): "the officers and the enlisted men of the 10th Cavalry then felt the common touch of comradeship and mutual helpfulness, which rarely existed a few years later ... up to the time the regiment went into Mexico with Gen. John J. Pershing in 1916, the 10th Cavalry was like one large family. However the officers were of a different race they possessed a devotion for the black trooper rarely ever attained except through long contact under various conditions. We had served in the Philippines together, came around the world on the same transport, our children had attended the same school in Vermont and the wife of one of our officers had taught Sabbath school. The Tenth Cavalry was just like a large family -- men were loyal and devoted to their officers. They would die for them and by them" (1st Sgt. Vance Marchbanks "Forty Years in the Army," typescript at the Fort Huachuca Museum, ca. 1940). Included are many dramatic photographs of military activity along the border, especially in the town of Naco, Arizona, where Holcomb's troop was stationed. Another assignment in the Pacific (beginning with a 30-photo record of a March, 1916, automobile trip from Fort Huachuca to San Francisco), with stops at Guam and the Philippines (1916-1917), a transfer to the Quartermaster Corps, promotions through the field officer ranks to colonel, and service at Camp Lee, Virginia (1917-1918), and tours at several western army posts closed out his career in the army (1919-1929). The photographs in this collection document Holcomb's path of service and the growth of his family during this long period. This large archive of photographs documents a substantive military career, enhanced by historical images of the 10th United States Cavalry [Buffalo Soldiers], on peacetime duty amidst a mostly white civilian population and in service along the United States-Mexican border during a volatile period in the two countries' relationship, a major period of transition for the American military and the cavalry service in particular. Nearly all images are clean and distinct. Almost all of the photographs are mounted, from one to eleven of them per side, on both sides of stiff black leaves, once in an album but now loose, with the individual leaves protected in plastic sleeves (the covers for the album are also present). (#6452). Item #57697

Formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1866, the 10th United States Cavalry was made up of African-American enlisted men commanded by white officers, its primary duty patrolling the western frontier. In that capacity the unit participated in military action against various Native American tribes for three decades, fighting Cheyennes, Arapahos, and Comanches in Kansas and the Indian Territory in the 1860s and Apaches in Texas and Arizona in the 1870s and 1880s. After service in the Dakotas in the 1890s, the 10th Cavalry performed conspicuous service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, spearheading the famous battle for San Juan Hill, before sailing for the Philippines to engage in the post-war insurrection there. Following decades of fighting, the regiment was awarded a period of garrison duty, first in the northwest before a transfer to Fort Ethan Allen near Burlington, Vermont. Joining the unit there was the new troop commander Captain Freeborn P. Holcomb, the compiler of the photograph collection offered here. Aside from the "demographic shock" of an influx of African-American soldiers into the whitest state in the Union, the three-year tour was relatively uneventful: the history of the 10th Cavalry published in 1921 contains page after page of results from regimental sporting activities and not much else for those years. Things changed quickly with the unit's next assignment, a return to Arizona for patrol along the border with Mexico as revolution was breaking out in that country. Though Pershing's Punitive Expedition into Mexico in 1916-1917 ("Chasing Pancho Villa") has been well documented, the period immediately preceding that campaign, involving the conflict between rebels and federals in northeastern Mexico (1914-1916), occasionally spilling over into the United States, has received less attention. During this time Pancho Villa and his rebels battled government forces in Mexico, under a succession of generals from Diaz to Modero to Huerta to Carranza. The soldiers of the 10th Cavalry stationed at Fort Huachuca were charged with protecting the border between the United States and Mexico, but were under orders not to provoke or return fire. Often the running battles between the Mexican factions resulted in American casualties, and the temptation to retaliate was strong. In the town of Naco, the border demarcation ran down the middle of the main street. "The town of Naco suffered more or less from the artillery fire of the besiegers, several houses being pierced by shells, and buildings near the 'line' still bear the marks of many stray bullets. Great difficulty was had in holding back the crowds of visitors from Bisbee and Douglas who flocked to see the 'battles,' in automobiles, wagons, and on horseback. The provocation to retaliate on the Mexicans for losses sustained while on duty which forbade them to return the fire, was at times almost overpowering. Our men could draw small comfort from the delightful apologies submitted to our commanding officers for the killing and wounding of their comrades, always accompanied by promises that no more shooting would occur. Finally the 'siege' drew to a close, and the troops were given a rest and a chance to see what Huachuca looked like. Some of the men, after ten months' service on the border, had not yet seen their home station" (Edward Glass "History of the Tenth Cavalry, 1866-1921"). Many of Holcomb's photos in this archive fill in details of the U.S. involvement in this stage of the Mexican Revolution, with more than 450 images covering Holcomb's service during these three years, 250 involving military scenes, more than 75 of those picturing African-American troops from the tenth. Subjects include (1) photos, taken by Co. "E" Engineers, from action at Vera Cruz in 1913, showing action near the Naval Academy where the heaviest fighting took place; (2) photos of the Holcomb house in Naco which was hit by 22 bullets and a three inch shell in 1914; (3) photos of the results of American fire at Nogales, Arizona, in 1915, including images of bodies in a pile, before and after rudimentary cremation (four of these pictures are copyrighted postcards by Robert Runyon, a commercial photographer living and working on the Mexican border at this time); (4) photos of the officers' quarters and of troops at drill at Fort Huachuca and of a wagon supply train, cavalry tents, troopers with horses under their care, and military camps at Douglas, Arizona, all in 1915; and (5) photos taken during action at Naco in 1914 and 1915, including tent encampments, a 4.7 gun and shells, a group photo of Troop B, 10th Cavalry (Holcomb's command), wounded Mexican soldiers, Mexican Red Cross nurses, headquarters' encampment, a barricade of officers' tents, Yaqui trenches, stables, a pool room, troops in the field, a hay bale barricade, etc. A number of the African-American troopers are identified by name, including saddler George Hudnell who later died from wounds incurred in Pershing's campaign against Pancho Villa. Though Holcomb was on his way to Guam by March, 1916, included in the archive are two printed notices regarding the prosecution of the Punitive Expedition: (1) a printed handbill (7 x 4 3/4 inches) printed on the 9th Cavalry Press "In Memoriam, Officers and Men of the Tenth Cavalry, who died at Carrizal Mexico, Sunday, Post Hall, Sept. 24, 1918," including information on the June 21, 1916, death of Capt. Charles T. Boyd, "commanding a troop of the famous Negro regiment, the 10th Cavalry"; and (2) "General Orders No. 1" (7 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches), July 1, 1916, Colonia Dublan, Mexico, describing the battle deaths of Boyd and Lt. Henry Adair and giving biographical details for each, signed in type at the end by Capt. S.M. Rutherford, Adj. of the 10th Cavalry (neither located on OCLC). For the entire archive, more than 550 of the photographs involve military matters of some sort and more than 125 picture African-American troopers from the 10th Cavalry.

Price: $20,000.00

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