Battles and Events of the U.S. Army's 22nd Infantry Regiment 

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Active Duty Units

 

War Of 1812    Named Campaigns    Fort Crook, Nebraska    San Francisco Earthquake

 

The War of 1812

Sergeant Thomas Bangs, Hero of the 22nd Infantry.


The Army has had its share of hero's. Many have worn stripes. Throughout the Army's history, its NCO heroes usually were average human beings who responded when circumstances called for exceptional personal effort and sacrifice on the battlefield.

Little information survives on individual heroes from America's early wars. Their portraits and citations were never recorded. For them and countless others through the Army's long history, the record is fragmentary at best. Little is known about them beyond the terse words of their citations of valor.

In the winter of 1812, Thomas Bangs, Sergeant, 22nd Infantry was among the American's at Fort Niagara, facing the hostile British forces in Canada across the Niagara River. The weather was bitter and cold on February 13, when five British soldiers, under a flag of truce, attempted to cross the icy river in a small boat with three prisoners of war and three ladies.

Frozen and exhausted by their efforts, the British were unable to make the American shore before daylight faded. Their boat was quickly swept by the current into Lake Ontario.

Sergeant Bangs and two seamen were ordered to the rescue in a small boat. After safely returning to the American shore, Sergeant Bangs and his two companions braved the elements once again to carry the five weary British soldiers back across the Niagara River. They successfully made the trip by moonlight, returning two days later with a letter of thanks from the British Commanding Officer of Fort George for saving the lives of his men.

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Named Campaigns - War of 1812

 

 Streamers: Scarlet with two white stripes

Canada 18 June 1812-17 February 1815
Chippewa 5 July 1814
Lundy's Lane 25 July 1814
Bladensburg 17-29 August 1814
McHenry 13 September 1814
New Orleans 23 September 1814-8 January 1815

 Canada, 18 June 1812 - 17 February 1815. This campaign includes all operations in the Canadian-American border region except the battle of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. The invasion and conquest of Canada was a major objective of the United States in the War of 1812. Among the significant causes of the war were the continuing clash of British and American interests in the Northwest Territory and the desire of frontier expansionists to seize Canada while Great Britain was preoccupied with the Napoleonic Wars. 

In the first phase of the war along the border in 1812 the United States suffered a series of reverses. Fort Michilimackinac fell (6 August), Fort Dearborn was evacuated (15 August), and Fort Detroit surrendered without a fight (16 August). American attempts to invade Canada across the Niagara (October) and toward Montreal (November) failed completely. Brig. Gen. William Henry Harrison's move to recapture Detroit was repulsed (January 1813), but he checked British efforts to penetrate deeper into the region at the west end of Lake Erie, during the summer of 1813. Meanwhile, in April 1813, Maj. Gen. Henry Dearborn's expedition captured Fort Toronto and partially burned York, capital of Upper Canada. On 27 May Brig. Gen. Jacob Brown repelled a British assault on Sackett's Harbor. An American force led by Col. Winfield Scott seized Fort George and the town of Queenston across the Niagara (May-June 1813), but the British regained control of this area in December 1813. A two-pronged American drive on Montreal from Sackett's Harbor and Plattsburg in the fall of 1813 ended in a complete fiasco. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British fleet on Lake Erie (10 September 1813), opening the way for Harrison's victory at the Thames River (5 October), which reestablished American control over the Detroit Area.

 

Chippewa, 5 July 1814. An American advance from Plattsburg in March 1814, led by Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson, was checked just beyond the border, but on 3 July 3,500 men under General Brown seized Fort Erie across the Niagara in a coordinated attack with Commodore Isaac Chauncey's fleet designed to wrest control of Lake Ontario from the British. In subsequent troop maneuvers in the Niagara region, Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott's brigade (1,300 men) of Brown's command was unexpectedly confronted by a large British force while preparing for an Independence Day parade (5 July 1814) near the Chippewa River. Scott's well-trained troops broke the enemy line with a skillfully executed charge, sending the survivors into a hasty retreat. British losses were 137 killed and 304 wounded; American, 48 killed and 227 wounded.

 

Lundy's Lane, 25 July 1814. After Chippewa Brown's force advanced to Queenston, but soon abandoned a proposed attack on Forts George and Niagara when Chauncey's fleet failed to cooperate in the operation. Instead, on 24-25 July 1814, Brown moved back to the Chippewa preparatory to a cross-country march along Lundy's Lane to the west end of Lake Ontario. Unknown to Brown, the British had concentrated about 2,200 troops in the vicinity of Lundy's Lane and 1,500 more in Forts George and Niagara. On 25 July, Scott's brigade, moving again towards Queenston in an effort to draw off a British detachment threatening Brown's line of communications on the American side of the Niagara, ran into the enemy contingents at the junction of Queenston Road and Lundy's Lane. The ensuing battle, which eventually involved all of Brown's force (2,900 men) and some 3,000 British, was fiercely fought and neither side gained a clear cut victory. The Americans retired to the Chippewa unmolested, but the battle terminated Brown's invasion of Canada. Casualties were heavy on both sides, the British losing 878 and the Americans 854 in killed and wounded; both Brown and Scott were wounded and the British commander was wounded and captured. British siege of Fort Erie (2 August - 21 September 1814) failed to drive the Americans from that outpost on Canadian soil, but on 5 November they withdrew voluntarily. Commodore Thomas Macdonough's victory over the British fleet on Lake Champlain (11 September 1814) compelled Sir George Prevost, Governor General of Canada, to call off his attack on Plattsburg with 11,000 troops.

 

Bladensburg, 17 - 29 August 1814. After the surrender of Napoleon the British dispatched Maj. Gen. Robert Ross from France on 27 June 1814 with 4,000 veterans to raid key points on the American coast. Ross landed at the mouth of the Patuxent River in Maryland with Washington as his objective on 19 August and marched as far as Upper Marlboro (22 August) without meeting resistance. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. William Winder, in command of the Potomac District, had assembled a mixed force of about 5,000 men near Bladensburg, including militia, regulars, and some 400 sailors from Commodore Joshua Barney's gunboat flotilla, which had been destroyed to avoid capture by the British fleet. In spite of a considerable advantage in numbers and position, the Americans were easily routed by Ross' force. British losses were about 249 killed and wounded; the Americans lost about 100 killed and wounded, and 100 captured. British detachments entered the city and burned the Capitol and other public buildings (24-25 August) in what was later announced as retaliation for the American destruction at York.

 

Fort McHenry, 13 September 1814. While the British marched on Washington, Baltimore had time to hastily strengthen its defenses. Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith had about 9,000 militia, including 1,000 in Fort McHenry guarding the harbor. On 12 September the British landed at North Point about 14 miles below the city, where their advance was momentarily checked by 3,200 Maryland Militiamen. Thirty-nine British (including General Ross) were killed and 251 wounded at a cost of 24 Americans killed, 139 wounded, and 50 taken prisoner. After their fleet failed to reduce Fort McHenry by bombardment and boat attack (night of 13-14 September), the British decided that a land attack on the rather formidable fortifications defending the city would be too costly and on 14 October sailed for Jamaica. Francis Scott Key, after observing the unsuccessful British bombardment of Fort McHenry, was inspired to compose the verses of "The Star Spangled Banner."

 

New Orleans, 23 December 1814 - 8 January 1815. On 20 December 1814 a force of about 10,000 British troops, assembled in Jamaica, landed unopposed at the west end of Lake Borgne, some 15 miles from New Orleans, preparatory to an attempt to seize the city and secure control of the lower Mississippi Valley. Advanced elements pushed quickly toward the river, reaching Villere's Plantation on the left bank, 10 miles below New Orleans, on 23 December. In a swift counter-action, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, American commander in the South, who had only arrived in the city on 1 December, made a night attack on the British (23-24 December) with some 2,0000 men supported by fire from the gunboat Carolina. The British advance was checked, giving Jackson time to fall back to a dry canal about five miles south of New Orleans, where he built a breastworks about a mile long, with the right flank on the river and the left in a cypress swamp. A composite force of about 3,500 militia, regulars, sailors, and others manned the American main line, with another 1,000 in reserve. A smaller force‚€”perhaps 1,000 militia‚€”under Brig. Gen. David Morgan defended the right bank of the river. Maj. Gen. Sir Edward Pakenham, brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington, arrived on 25 December to command the British operation. He entrenched his troops and on 1 January 1815 fought an artillery duel in with the Americans outgunned the British artillerists. Finally, at dawn on 8 January, Pakenham attempted a frontal assault on Jackson's breastworks with 5,300 men, simultaneously sending a smaller force across the river to attack Morgan's defenses. The massed fires of Jackson's troops, protected by earthworks reinforced with cotton bales, wrought havoc among Pakenham's regulars as they advanced across the open ground in front of the American lines. In less than a half hour the attack was repulsed. The British lost 291 killed, including Pakenham, 1,262 wounded, and 48 prisoners; American losses on both sides of the river were only 13 killed, 39 wounded, and 19 prisoners. The surviving British troops withdrew to Lake Borgne and reembarked on 27 January for Mobile, where on 14 February they learned that the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been signed on 24 December 1814.

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Fort Crook, Nebraska

Fort Crook originated conceptually on 13 December 1887, when Nebraska Senator, Charles F. Manderson introduced a bill calling for  siting a new fort within 10 miles of the city of Omaha. It was a new fort because Fort Omaha, located in north Omaha had been built in 1867. (Today Ft. Omaha is the campus of Metro Community College.) The new installation was proposed because Ft. Omaha, having been surrounded by the city of Omaha since opening , did not have room to expand. After several years of   planning and budget consideration, construction began in 1894.

On 28 June 1896, the first four companies of the US Army, 22nd Infantry Regiment arrived at Ft. Crook.

Pictured to the bottom is the 22nd Infantry Regiment in parade formation on the parade ground with General's row in the background.

President Cleveland directed the new fort be named after a famous Civil War hero and Indian fighter, the former Commander, of the US Army's Department of the Platte, headquartered at Fort Omaha, Major General George Crook, pictured at left.

The photograph on bottom shows members of the 22nd Infantry's C Company at Fort Crook's 300 yard firing range. This range was located on the eastern side of the Missouri River. The soldiers had to travel about two miles east of Fort Crook to the banks of the river, then cross the river via boat. Once at the range they spent the entire day shooting and working on their firearms skills.

Various Infantry units shared command of Fort Crook as they rotated in and out for tours in Cuba, the Philippines, and the Texas - Mexican border. A picture of the 22nd Infantry Regiment camped at Texas City, Texas for Texas - Mexican border duty is on the bottom of page. The 22nd Infantry Regiment was at Texas City, Texas from February 1912 to December 1914. This camp was shared with other U.S. Army Regiments.

Fort Crook also served as the first US Army school for balloon observers, operated by the US Army Signal Corps during WW I .

Fort Crook was later to become the modern day Offutt AFB, HQ. SAC.

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San Francisco Examiner, June 1906

Soldiers Three As Good As A Regiment - Privates Demonstrate That It Doesn't Take Stripes To Make Brains.

There isn't any Kipling to chronicle the adventures of these "Soldiers Three", but the irrepressible Mulvaney, Private Stanley Ortheris and Learoyd never had an adventure to compare with what befell their American prototypes, McGurty, Ziegler, and Johnson of Company E, 22nd United States Infantry, during the San Francisco Fire.

This trio of regulars, "recruited from God knows where," proved the ability of the American Soldier to think and act for himself without any Congress-made officer to bawl drill regulations. It also disproved the allegation recently made by a Cabinet officer that "service in the Army disqualifies men from using their brains in emergency's."

This is what happened to the three - separated from their command while trying to save a fire apparatus. This is what they did: Organized a relief expedition of their own. Formed wagon trains by pressing vehicles into service with no other badge of authority than a rifle made by Jorgensen and Krag, and transported supplies for refugees at North Beach. Built two villages, one for 1,500 people and another of tents for 500 people.

McGurty took charge of operations - his name tells why - and with his mates showed the people how to put up Army tents. Like Tom Sawyer and his white-washing, those three soldiers made the refugees think that putting up tents was fun, and the white tent city went up as easily as an Army Corps going into camp.

"We didn't have no authority," says McGurty, " but something had to be done, and it seemed to be us. Of course, we wouldn't have shot anybody, but we had our Krags and 120 rounds of ammunitions each. "One Italian I tried to make work complained that he was sick and had nothing to eat. I went to his shack and found that he had a pile of stuff which he had looted. He went to work.

"Sometimes we handled our rifles and bayonets just to make our bluff hold water, but there were many good men working with us who backed us up in everything we did and kept the crowd going our way.

"About then 22nd Colonel (Les) Febiger found us while he was on a tour of inspection. We showed him what we were doing, and he told us to go ahead.

"He got us an order from the Mayor assigning me in charge of food supply station at Bay and Montgomery streets (now Bay and Columbus Ave. near Fisherman's Wharf) and giving me a pass to and from the Folsom street supply station.

"We held the job down ten days, and besides feeding people of the neighborhood, we issued 2,000 pairs of blankets, 1,500 pairs of men's shoes, and 2,500 pairs of women's and children's shoes.

"In one place, we found a bunch of Chinamen in the top of a cannery with a lot of choice provisions. I picked out a big chink and asked if he wanted to work. 'No,' he said, 'me slick.' I made a pass with my gun and cured him.

"There was piled in the neighborhood at this time 4,000 cases of champagne and about 50 barrels of red wine. How did I know it was red? Just smelled it. These were claimed by private persons, but we would not allow them to break them open or carry any away.

'Thought They Had Deserted'

"All this time we were absent from our company and our Captain thought we had deserted, but Colonel Febiger fixed it up for us. We were finally relived by a Red Cross man, and we hunted up our company, and reported for duty." Colonel Febiger applied to MG Greeley for these men and they were detailed on special duty around his headquarters.

Privates Frank P. McGurty, William Ziegler, and Henry Johnson have all heard bullets singing about their ears, and they know the bolo-rush of the fanatical Moro. The 22nd Infantry saw hard service with the third Sulu expedition of General Wod, during which several engagements were fought in a march of 150 miles, 28 native chiefs captured, and 141 rifles. In the campaign of the allied forces of Pekin, foreign critics commented freely upon the apparent lack of discipline and the "devil may care" of the American soldiers.

The military power of the United States lies in the fact that the American soldier can be a machine when a machine is needed, but when a command is so separated that each man acts on his own initiative, Mr. Private soldier uses his brains as well as his eyes, whether his name be McGurty, Ziegler, or Johnson, or any other American sounding name.

 

 

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Indian Wars    Spanish/American War   W.W.II pg 1     W.W.II pg 2  Vietnam pg1    Vietnam pg 2  

Active Duty Units