83rd Organization Day
Fourteenth U. S. Infantry
Fort Benning, Georgia
August 14, 1944
1000 Hr. – Regimental Review (Tiger Field with 71st Div. Band.)
Troops formed in hollow square.
Regt’l History, by Master Sgt. Clifford C. Inman.
Invocation, by Chaplain W. W. Jones.
Remarks by 14th Inf. Commanding Officer, Colonel H. Y. Lyon.
1115 Hr. – The National Anthem by 71st Div. Band.
1130 Hr. – Dismiss Regiment for remainder of day.
1200 Hr. – Holiday Dinner in all organization messes.
1400 Hr. – Free Movies at Theatre No. 6.
1500 Hr. – Swimming at Sand Hill Pool.
1845 Hr. – Baseball Game at Tiger Field.
1930 Hr. – Officers Formal Dinner, 71st Div. Officers Club.
2100 Hr. – Enlisted Men’s Dance at Service Club No. 2.
2300 Hr. – Taps by Regimental Buglers.
History of the Fourteenth U. S. Infantry
THE NUMERICAL designation “Fourteenth Infantry” has been borne by four regiments of Infantry in the regular service of the United States.
Three of these organizations have aided in the defense of the nation in emergencies.
In 1798 the first of these regiments was organized but was disbanded in 1800 when a wave of anti-militarism swept the country.
Smarting under England’s contempt and the impressment of our seamen, Congress, following the leadership of peace-loving President Madison at last declared war in the spring of 1812. Reborn, the Fourteenth this time took an active part in the field, participating in the engagements of Fort Niagara, Lundy’s Lane, Frenchman’s Creek, Fort George, Beaver Dams, Chrystler’s Farm, De Cole’s Mills, Chippewa, and Cook’s Mills. The war over, an early return to former policies relegated the regiment to the inactive list, and for a second time, the now bloodstained colors of the regiment were laid away.
In the Mexican War (1847-1848) a twice resurrected Fourteenth was with Scott’s gallant column which marched and fought its way into the heart of Mexico. In this historic march the regiment saw action at Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, Chapultepec, and the San Cosme Gate of Mexico City. Seven of the officers were brevetted for bravery in these battles. This was, however, to be but a brief span of life, for after little more than a year’s glorious service, the Fourteenth was mustered out and rendered inactive.
The birth of the present Fourteenth U. S. Infantry dates from the Civil War. Scarcely had gallant Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter when President Lincoln on May 4, 1861, ordered the increase of the Regular Army by twenty-five infantry regiments. The President’s action was confirmed by Congress in special session, and the actual organization of the Fourteenth Infantry in which we serve commenced about August 5, 1861, at Fort Turnbull, Connecticut.
About a year later the regiment joined the historic Army of the Potomac. Blue and gray battle ribbons floating from the peak of the regimental colors give mute testimony to valorous service in the inferno of the Civil War from that date until Lee surrendered his ragged, half-starved Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox in 1865. Written in letters of gold on these ribbons will be found the names of the greatest battles of the Civil War - Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. In these battles the Fourteenth exhibited a dash and courage not surpassed in the annals of our wars.
The lack of an effective system of replacing casualties in the armies at the front greatly hampered the Civil War regiments. The full quota of officers would be present on paper, but actually a number of them, especially the seniors, were detached to perform staff or other duties, and no provision was made for their replacement.
Thus the Fourteenth, while it had its regular allotment of colonels and majors assigned, was frequently commanded in battle by its senior captain. Captain “Paddy” O’Connell, in whose honor O’Connell Field at Fort Davis is named, was the actual Commanding Officer of the regiment during most of the war. Something of the indomitable spirit of this superb fighting unit is reflected in the words of Captain O’Connell who said, “I would take the Fourteenth to the very gates of Hell, but I want a chance to whip the Devil when I get there.”
It was at the end of this war that the regiment gained its motto and proud boast, “THE RIGHT OF THE LINE.” When the units were being arranged for a grand review in Richmond, the capital of the fallen Confederacy, General Meade was asked by the commanding officer of the Fourteenth what position his regiment should take. General Meade replied, “Take the right of the line; the Fourteenth has always been to the front in battle and deserves the honor.”
The country now turned to peaceful pursuits but even in an era of peace there is work for our Army. The tide of population was flowing westward. Savage Indians and equally savage white renegades had to be suppressed and this task fell to the Regular Army. Soon the Regulars were to be known from one end of the frontier to the other. Well they might be, for in no small degree was the successful settling of our Golden West due to them. Indian fighting, policing of the vast countryside, and the administration of law and order was the order of the day for the Regular of that period.
In August 1865, the Fourteenth received orders for California. The journey to the west was made via New York, Panama, and San Francisco. In the years that followed, the regiment saw service in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, and North Dakota with one short tour of duty at Nashville, Tennessee. In 1866 a reorganization took place. The 2d Battalion became the 23d Infantry, the 3d Battalion became the 32d Infantry, while the 1st Battalion with replacements remained as the 14th Infantry. Shortly after this the regiment was scattered far and wide having detachments in as many as thirteen camps and posts at the same time.
The period of the Indian Wars (1865-1884) was a trying time. Men who had survived the Civil War broke down under the terrible strain of the Indian campaigns. Alternately they roasted in the deserts of Arizona and froze in the intense cold of Wyoming and North Dakota. Sand storms, blizzards, short rations, and a scant water supply were their daily portion. In addition they were fighting the Apaches and Sioux, among the fiercest Indians in North America. A frequent entry on the muster rolls of that time was “Mail carrier killed by the Indians.” For this exciting period two red and black battle ribbons bearing the names Wyoming 1871, and Little Big Horn and Bannock were added to our colors.
The regiment was moved in 1884 to Vancouver Barracks where it remained for fourteen years of peaceful garrison service only occasionally enlivened by strike or riot duty. Four companies were sent to Alaska in 1893 where they landed just in time to prevent permanent occupation of the Lynn Canal District by the British. In doing this the regiment performed an invaluable service for our country.
However, more exciting days were at hand for on April 19, 1898, war was declared on Spain. On May 25, 1898, Companies A, C, D, E, and F sailed from San Francisco for the Philippines. B and H Companies were still in Alaska, while G Company was left behind to form the nucleus of the newly authorized 3d Battalion. On July 2, 1898, after capturing the Island of Guam on the way, the troops disembarked at Cavite Arsenal. A few days later they participated in the siege and capture of Manila thus adding to the regimental colors the yellow and blue Spanish War battle streamer.
Peace, which ended the Spanish-American War on August 12, 1898, only marked the beginning of the Fourteenth’s real work. Aguinaldo, a leader in the Philippine insurrection against Spain, had announced himself as the provisional head of the Filipino Government and had begun active preparations to drive the Americans out. The first outbreak occurred on the night of February 4,1899, touching off the insurrection which was to last nearly three years. Tropic heat, torrential rain, deep mud and jungle fever were the allies of the insurrectionist with his bolo. Actual battles were rare and except for the major engagements at Manila, Laguna de Bay, Zapote, and Cavite, minor skirmishes, ambushes, long marches and reconnaissance's occupied the Fourteenth Infantry of 1899. One of our most famous “alumni,” the distinguished author, Peter B. Kyne, was then a member of Company “L” and his experiences while a Fourteenth Infantryman afforded him an excellent opportunity to gather material for future stories. His entertaining and humorous tales of the hardboiled company of “Right o’ the Liners,” commanded by a captain affectionately known to the men as “Auld cut-the-Daisies,” have their origin and basis in the stern facts of the Fourteenth’s service in the Philippine Insurrection. Its field service was terminated in November 1899 and the regiment was recalled to Manila. Shortly after this the First Battalion was designated as the “Home Battalion” and sent to station at Fort Brady and Fort Wayne, Michigan.
For many years the Chinese had hated the presence of foreign colonies, missions and legations in their country and, in 1900, this hatred flamed forth in the Boxer Rebellion. Overnight the foreign settlement in Peking was an armed camp as the “Foreign Devils” were besieged by thousands of enraged Chinese. Desperate messages for help were sent, and these pleas were not in vain. France, England, the United States, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan immediately dispatched troops to China.
On July 8, 1900 the Fourteenth, as part of the American force commanded by Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, had its orders for China. This news was received with the greatest enthusiasm by the officers and men. Taku, China, was reached on July 28 and on August 4, the regiment as part of the allied forces moved out from Tientsin for Peking.
Three days later, on August 7, there was a sharp engagement at the village of Yang-Tsun. This Chinese stronghold fairly bristled with an ugly assortment of field artillery and was very strongly held. Here the Fourteenth, far ahead of its British and French allies, assaulted and captured the town almost unaided. Indeed, so far had the “Fourteeners” outdistanced the other troops that liaison was lost with the supporting artillery which continued to shell the village for some time after the 14th had occupied it.
Crossing to the west bank of the Pei-Ho River the next day (August 8) the allied forces resumed their advance on Peking. North China was suffering from a prolonged drought attended by a parching heat, wave at this time. Breathless heat, little water, and a pall of dust stirred up by the feet of the marching host made the following days a never-to-be-forgotten ordeal.
August 13 found the weary, sun-blistered, dust-caked Allied columns before Peking. The attack was launched on the 14th. In this attack the Fourteenth was to play a most dramatic and highly important part. As the troops moved forward to the assault, the Chinese fire from the wall of the city was so severe that it was necessary to silence it before storming the gates. To do this required getting some of our own men on the wall. There were no ropes or scaling ladders and the wall was thirty feet high. There were many loose bricks, however, and it seemed practicable for the soldiers, by placing their hands and feet in the numerous crevices, to scale the wall. Volunteers to make the initial attempt were called for and many offered to go. A light, agile, nervy young soldier, Musician Calvin P. Titus of Company “E,” was selected to make the first try. Cautiously he worked his way up the vertical barrier towering thirty feet above him, finally reaching the top in safety. Luckily this immediate section of the wall had not yet been occupied by the Chinese, and with others following Titus’ lead, the Fourteenth was soon “topside” in considerable force.
There was now some danger that our men on the wall might be mistaken for Chinese and fired upon by the Allies so it was decided to place the American flag on the ramparts. A mounted messenger brought the National colors through a heavy fire to the foot of the wall whence it was quickly hauled to the top and unfurled. As the beautiful silken folds waved out over the wall the Americans let go a mighty shout of triumph and exultation at the sight of the colors of the Fourteenth Infantry and at the thought that ours was the first foreign flag to float over the walls of Peking in the China Relief Expedition. The next day our regiment in company with the famous “Riley’s Battery,” which blew down the gates to the Imperial City for us, resumed its apparently irresistible advance. Starting at seven in the morning it drove forward steadily hour after hour. The enemy was forced from three high walls and late in the afternoon the Fourteenth was facing the last stronghold of the desperate Chinese--the wall of the sacred Forbidden City itself. But the honor of capturing this holy fortress was not to be ours, for just as victory was in our grasp, hostilities were ordered suspended. Soon after, when the Chinese capitulated, the Fourteenth was selected to lead the triumphal entry of the Allied troops into the fallen city.
The regiment took station in the Temple of Agriculture in Peking on August 16. Here a model camp was erected and the regiment began the work of cleaning up the city, enforcing sanitary regulations and preventing looting. After several months of this provost duty orders were received for the return to Manila.
For his heroic deed Musician Titus received the Medal of Honor and a cadetship at West Point. Many men were commended and a number of officers were brevetted for bravery. The discipline of the regiment was remarkable at this time. General Daggett in commenting on the achievements of the Fourteenth in China attributed its remarkable success to its superior discipline. Altogether the service of the Fourteenth in the China Relief Expedition forms one of the brightest pages in its history.
Back in Manila again a monotonous year was passed guarding warehouses and offices. Welcome orders for the States came in June 1901, and on the night of August 18, it was a joyful outfit that made camp at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. From here the battalions left for their eastern stations. Regimental Headquarters and the 2d Battalion went to Fort Snelling, Minn. The 3d Battalion was split up between Forts Porter and Niagara, N. Y. It was while at Fort Porter that Companies “K” and “L” stood guard over the house in which the martyred President McKinley lay dying from an assassin’s bullet. After he died “I” Company escorted the body to Canton, Ohio, and stood guard as it lay in state.
Again, in 1903, the regiment was ordered to the Philippines. After an uneventful trip the 1st Battalion debarked at Camp Hartshorne, Samar, while the remainder of the regiment proceeded to Camp Connell on the west coast of Samar. This brief and uneventful stay in the Islands was terminated in 1905 when orders assigned the regiment to its old home at Vancouver Barracks.
There ordinary garrison duty occupied the regiment until that fateful day in April 1906, when almost all the business section of San Francisco was razed by earthquake and the resulting fire. Practically the entire Fourteenth Infantry was ordered to the stricken city. When the troops arrived four days later the fire was still burning. Until the end of June the regiment remained in San Francisco protecting property, issuing relief supplies, helping the disorganized police force, and preventing the sale of liquor. Scarcely had the outfit again settled down to its duties at Vancouver Barracks when in 1908 orders were received for a third Philippine tour. This short stay in the Philippines also proved uneventful and in 1910 the regiment was back in the States. The 1st Battalion went to Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, the 2d to Fort Harrison, Montana, and the 3d to Fort Missoula, Montana.
In 1913 the 1st Battalion went to Alaska and the remainder of the regiment was split up between Forts Lawton and George Wright, Washington. The Mexican Border troubles of 1916 drew the 2d and 3d Battalions to Fort Douglas, Arizona. Operating from this post as a base these two battalions patrolled miles of the border with characteristic Fourteenth Infantry thoroughness.
Upon the entrance of the United States into the World War the regiment was ordered back to Vancouver Barracks to prepare for overseas service. However, active World War service was, for the Fourteenth, to remain an enticing but never realized dream. After intensive training and much guard duty the regiment found itself at Camp Dodge, Iowa where it was rejoined by the long absent 1st Battalion. Here just as the longed-for overseas service was in sight, the armistice was signed. A bitterly disappointed Fourteenth moved to Camp Grant, Illinois, where it was depleted of its war strength.
In 1920 orders for the present station were received, and on the morning of October 27 of that year, the regiment arrived at Fort Davis. A post with modern quarters had been constructed here but absolutely no clearing or grading had been done. Jungle surrounded the buildings and hills and jungle covered our present parade grounds, baseball diamond and rifle range.
From that day, October 27, 1920, the men of the Fourteenth have waged unceasing war against that implacable foe of man in the tropics - the jungle. Today the green enemy has been flung far back. Fruits of these hard-won peacetime victories are seen in the trim hedges, well-kept lawns, spotless buildings and the level parade grounds. The neat little city of Fort Davis could put many a more fortunate situated community to shame.
On June 7, 1943 the 14th left Panama for San Francisco, California. Camp Carson, Colorado, near Pikes Peak became the 14th Infantry’s training camp on June 21, 1943.
The 71st Light Division was actuated July 15, 1943 and the 14th Infantry became one of the three colorful regiments comprising the 71st Lt. Div.
About February 10, 1944 the 71st Lt. Div. was ordered to Hunter Liggett Military Reservation in California for the most grueling maneuvers known in the United States Army, after which the 71st Div., of which the 14th is an active regiment, moved to Ft. Benning, Georgia, on May 24, 1944.
But these accomplishments are not the only boast of this crack organization. Well dressed, well drilled and proud of itself, this splendid Infantry Regiment upholds its wonderful eighty-three year record as a first line fighting unit. Be it floundering through tropical swamps on maneuvers or dressed in its best for a Guard of Honor, the Fourteenth can always be counted on for a job well done.
A record of 83 years of “Right-of-the-Line” service stands to the credit of the Fourteenth U. S. Infantry, and inspires its members of today with pride in our organization. With this sense of pride comes also a feeling of reverence and humility as we determine to prove ourselves worthy of being entrusted with maintaining that record of service and self-sacrifice bequeathed us by those who in days gone by have marched under the proud colors of the Fourteenth Infantry. Let us how our heads as the bugle’s silvery notes sound the soldier’s requiem of taps in memory of those Fourteenth Infantry who sleep in Mexico and on the now peaceful battlefields of the Civil War, in the western country which was once our frontier, in the far-away Philippines, in China, and on the American Battle Fronts today. As the notes die away, let us then, with heads up, eyes to the front and looking into the future, highly resolve to CARRY ON, now, as always, “ON THE RIGHT OF THE LINE.”
Coat of Arms
Fourteenth U. S. Infantry
WHEN the Union Troops were being formed for a grand review at the close of the Civil War General Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, was asked where the Fourteenth Infantry should be placed. “Take the right of the line,” he said; “The Fourteenth has always been to the front in battle and deserves the honor.” The Maltese Cross was the emblem of the 5th Army Corps, to which the 14th belonged in the Civil War; the arrows signify service in the Indian War, the castle and palm tree are emblematic of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection, and the dragon of the Boxer Rebellion in China, when the colors of the 14th Infantry were the first foreign flags planted on the great wall of Peking. The 14th Infantry had been stationed at Fort Davis, C. Z., since 1920, and returned to the United States in 1943.
Battle Honors Borne
on the Colors
of the Fourteenth Infantry
FORT BENNING, GEORGIA
August 14 1944
INDIAN WARS: Wyoming 1874, Little Big Horn, Arizona, Bannocks
CIVIL WAR: Peninsular, Manassas, Antietam, Virginia 1862,.1863, Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor,• and Petersburg
SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR: Manila
PHILIPINE INSURRECTION: Manila, Laguna de Bay, Zapote and Cavite
THE CHINA RELIEFEXPEDITION: Yang-Tsun and Peking.
Down in Panama there’s a dragon’s claw, -
And there’s none who dares molest it.
It’s the regiment that is competent,
To rout all who contest it:
And it can’t be beat by the tropic heat,
So throughout the hemispheres
As you march along, shout the fighting song –
Of the Fourteenth Jungleers.
We will shed no tears for the Jungleers, -
We’re the outfit that can take it.
There’s no gorge so deep, - there’s no hill so steep,
hat the Fourteenth cannot make it;
So we’ll sling our packs high upon our backs,
In the Fourteenth Jungleers.
When we hit the trail we will never fail
With the Fourteenth Jungleers.
In our dragon clan men have led the van, -
And have traveled west in battle.
From the Artic haze – to the jungle maze, -
They have heard their gun’s last rattle.
So we’ll drink a toast to our hero host,
Of the Fourteenth Jungleers:
Then we’ll march along to the fighting song
Of the Fourteenth Jungleers.
This copy of the 83rd Organization Day program was obtained by Larry Weist, Alpha Company, 2/14th, former president of the 25th Infantry Division Association, and has been generously contributed by Paul North, Echo Co., 2/14th, webmaster of the 25th Infantry Division Association.
83rd Organization Day Program, August 14, 1944
Copyright © 2012 14th Infantry Regiment Association
Last modified: November 01, 2012