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HISTORY

 

History of First Cleveland Cavalry


Initial Organization

At about the same time that Cincinnati, Hillsboro, and Shelby were forming National Guard cavalry troops, the city of Cleveland raised the First City Troop of Cleveland, an independent organization formed under the laws of the city. The immediate cause for organization was the labor troubles of the great railroad strike of 1877. The troop dates its existence from October 10, 1877, and it is this date which the historical section of the Army War College considers as the birth date of the 107th Cavalry.



Militia cavalry between the Civil War and Spanish War was not to be found in Ohio and certainly not in regimental strength. In fact, only the First City Troop of Cleveland survived this period and it did not muster into the Ohio National Guard until 1887.

Since this writing is a history of the 107th Cavalry Regiment and the troop history of the First City Troop for this period has been published, no attempt will be made to reproduce the history in detail as done in Mewett's History of Troop A. However, since the First City Troop of Cleveland was the nucleus of the First Ohio Cavalry formed for the Spanish American War, a summary of its activities for the period 1877-1898 is in order.

Colonel Harris was a graduate of the United States Military Academy and, together with other Civil War veterans, brought the troop to a high level of horsemanship and proficiency in the manual of cavalry arms. Colonel Harris was succeeded by Captain Garretson under whose command the troop was mustered into the Ohio National Guard on September 10, 1887.Command passed successively to Captains J.B. Perkins, C.C. Bolton, Russell E. Burdick and Frank E. Bunte. The First City Troop of Cleveland retained its original designation until 1895 when it became known as Troop A.

The rosters of the First City Troop between its founding and the Spanish American War are composed almost exclusively of men who were leaders in financial and commercial enterprises in the city of Cleveland. John Hay, charter member, served as ambassador to the Court of St. James and as Secretary of State in President McKinley's cabinet. Captain Garretson became a brigadier general of volunteers and served with distinction in the Puerto Rican campaign of 1898. Webb C. Hayes, son of President Hayes, was commissioned major of the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and served as a staff officer in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Late he served as Lieutenant Colonel with the 31st U.S. Infantry in the Philippines and China. Nineteen enlisted men of Troop A were given commissions when the troop entered federal service at the outbreak of the Spanish American War. Troop A did well in providing the cadre for the First Ohio Cavalry.


Remember the Maine


With such an impressive background, troop A was well suited to the task of providing the nucleus for the reactivation of the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment which had been mustered out of service at the close of the Civil War. At the beginning of the Spanish American War, Troop A was the only cavalry organization in the state and naturally took the initiative in pressing for reactivation of the First Ohio Cavalry. In a few weeks Troop A recruited sufficient personnel to fill the ranks of three troops from the Cleveland area.

The work of organizing the other five troops was speedily accomplished and on 5 May 1898, the regiment assembled at Camp Bushnell, ready for service. The three Cleveland troops were designated as Troops A, B, and C. Other troops were Troop D from Columbus, Troop E from Toledo, Troop F from Dayton, Troop G from Marysville and Troop H from Cincinnati. Troop H was formerly Battery B, First Regiment, Artillery. The cavalry regiment was organized into two squadrons and mustered into general service on 9 May 1898. Captain Matthias W. Day, U.S.A., was commissioned lieutenant Colonel of volunteers and assigned command of the regiment.

The First Cavalry was the first organization to leave the state rendezvous and arrived at Chickamunga Park, Georgia on 15 May. Before the end of the month the regiment had received mounts and equipment and by the middle o f June each troop had its full strength of 102 enlisted men.

The regiment was fortunate in obtaining its equipment so promptly, probably due to the influence of Troop A. A horse board was authorized for the benefit of the regiment which made the selection of mounts much more satisfactorily than had the regiment been compelled to wait for action "through channels." An order from the War Department dated 26 May 1898 stipulated that the First Ohio Cavalry should be "furnished out of the first supplies, the same arms and equipment as are now in the hands of the regular cavalry brigades and when so equipped it will report to General Young."

General S.B.M. Young commanded the Second Cavalry Brigade which consisted of the First and tenth United States Cavalry, the First Ohio Cavalry and the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, popularly known as the Rough Riders. Young's Brigade had not completed its movement to Cuba when services of additional troops in the siege of Santiago were no longs needed. Only one member of the First Ohio Cavalry, Major Webb C. Hayes, participated with the advance elements of Young's Brigade in combat in Cuba.

Then on 12 July Colonel Day was ordered to report with his regiment to Port Tampa for overseas movement to Puerto Rico. But a shortage of transports delayed this sailing and before the problem was solved, the war ended - to the chagrin of many in the regiment. After the usual changes of station, the regiment was mustered out of federal service in September 1898. Troops A and H resumed their former places in the Ohio National Guard reverting to troop A and Battery B respectively. The remaining six troops had no previous status in the Guard and their records closed with the muster out. Once again the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was inactive and troop A the only cavalry organization in the state.

South on the Border

In March of 1916 it became apparent that the cloud of war which threatened others parts of the world also was casting its shadow on North America. Relations with Mexico became strained and when the regular army was needed for a punitive expedition into Mexico, the National Guard was needed for border duty. Cavalry was the logical arm for this duty.
The First Ohio Cavalry Squadron served in the emergency from 6 July 1916 to 28 February 1917. Border duty was performed along the Rio Grande from the New Mexican border to Torcer, Texas, a stretch of almost 100 miles.

The squadron left Columbus early in September for El Paso, Texas after spending a hot and monotonous summer encamped at Camp Willis, Columbus. To add insult to injury, the squadron was without horses during the Camp Willis training period. Major Hard was in command.

At Camp Pershing, El Paso, training began in earnest. The First Ohio Cavalry Squadron was augmented by Troops A and B of Michigan and formed into the Eleventh Provisional Cavalry, commanded by Major William Kelley, Jr. and later by Major John D. Christian, both of the regular cavalry. New fangled "dog tags" were issued and Troop A was placated by receiving a full complement of black horses.

Training was sufficiently advanced by late October for actual border patrolling to begin. Oh course the patrolling provided the best possible extension of training. Each troop was off on its own for considerable periods of time, living in the field. Names like "Shad's," "The Dutchman's," and "Mahoney's Saloon" appear in troop records to document the proficiency of our troopers as field soldiers.

Ohio troopers also came in contact with other famous cavalry outfits. The First Pennsylvania Cavalry won a polo tournament against teams from Ohio Cavalry, Eighth and Seventeenth U.S. Cavalry, and the Eighth U.S. Field Artillery.

Thanksgiving and Christmas passed with festive celebration and rumors of going home. But January found the quadroon still of active duty. Troop A won the regimental polo finals and the Eleventh Provisional Cavalry participated in several reviews of cavalry brigades - more cavalry assembled in one place than any of our troopers had ever seen. In February, Gen. Pershing's punitive expedition returned from Mexico. It seems strange now, in light of this relatively small operation against Mexico, to realize that Pershing's force (10,000) was the largest body of men assembled under one command since the Civil War.

Shortly before the return home, Troop A won the efficiency pennant for horse training and horsemanship with Troop B of Michigan second. Then, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, the squadron was mustered out of federal service on 28 February 1917. The country was indeed fortunate to have had so many of its National Guard units on active duty during the Mexican campaign just prior to the World War I.

The War to End all War

Congress ratified the President's Declaration of War with the German Empire on 6 April. Five days later the First Ohio Cavalry Squadron was recruiting to expand into the First Ohio Cavalry Regiment. Cleveland was to provide Troops A, K and L, with a machine gun troop, headquarters troop and a supply troop. Columbus was to supply Troops B, G, and H; Cincinnati was to supply Troops C, E, and F; Toledo was to supply Troops D, and M; and Youngstown was to supply Troop I. By 18 May the regiment was organized and federally recognized.


But this was not the end of reorganization. Perhaps belatedly but nevertheless accurately, the "powers that be" recognized that cavalry would have little part in the trench warfare of France. So on 23 May, 5 days after completion of the cavalry regiment's organization, the First Cavalry Regiment, Ohio National Guard was redesignated as the Second and Third Regiments, Field Artillery, Ohio National Guard.

This extraordinary expansion in so short a period of time is a tribute to the Mexican border training, the quality of trooper in the cavalry squadron, and the hard work done in reorganization. The relatively small cavalry squadron which returned from the Mexican border in February, had been transformed by August into 2 Field Artillery Regiments, again serving on active duty. At the muster into federal service on 3-5 August, the Second Ohio Field Artillery was commanded by Col. Dudley J. Hard and the Third by Col. P. Lincoln Mitchell.
The Second and Third Regiments moved from home stations to Camp Sheridan, Alabama late in September and were joined by the First Ohio Artillery in October. At this time the First, Second, and Third Ohio Field Artillery Regiments were brigaded into 62nd Field Artillery Brigade of the 37th Division and redesignated the 134th, 135th and 136th Field Artillery respectively. A confusing but necessary point to raise here is that the former First Ohio Field Artillery Regiment, known as the 134th Field Artillery in World War I, is now the 135th Field Artillery, Ohio National Guard. The World War I 135th Field Artillery previously was the Second Ohio Field Artillery and earlier, the Cleveland-Toledo part of the First Ohio Cavalry Regiment. No doubt this confused the enemy too.

So the history of the First Ohio Cavalry in World War I is the history of the 135th and 136th Field Artillery Regiments. Fortunately, from the point of view of simplicity, these regiments trained, moved and fought "side-by-side."

The 62nd Field Artillery Brigade commanded by Brigadier General William R. Smith spent most of its eight months at Camp Sheridan transforming former cavalrymen into 2 artillery regiments. The 134th had been the First Ohio Field Artillery, and old artillery outfit, and the task of making artillerymen of the 135th and 136th fell to these old red legs. A French military mission also assisted in this task. Many officers attended Fort Sill, the Artillery School, in order to become proficient in their new arm. But the 135th and 136th kept their cavalry tradition by maintaining polo teams and staging many matches against each other.


Both the 135th and 136th complete training in June of 1918 and left camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama, for Camp Upton, near Yaphank, Long Island, New York. On the 4th and 5th of July both regiments were in transports, leaving Halifax, Now Scotia for Liverpool, England. One ship of the convoy was torpedoed by German submarine but managed to stay afloat, and another was thought to have rammed a sub and sustained some damage in the collision. After a very short stay in England, both regiments left from Southampton for LeHavre, France. About 1 August both regiments began training at Camp de Souge where the latest artillery techniques were taught to the new artillery brigades as they arrived in France. The 135th received instruction in French 75's and the 136th in the 155 mm Schineider Howitzer.

Both regiments completed this training toward the end of September and left Camp de Souge for the front. The 135th received its baptism of fire in the Marbache Sector supporting the 92nd Division, then moved to the Troyon Sector in the middle of the St. Mihiel Salient.. Here the regiment supported the 33rd Division (Illinois National Guard.) The first battalion of the 135th was detached for a time and supported the 28th Division (Pennsylvania National Guard) then moved to a position east of Thiaucourt in support o the 7th U.S. Army Division.

The 136th also received its first fire in the Marbache Sector supporting the 92nd Division. The key enemy opposing the Marbache Sector was the fortress city of Metz from which allied lines received much artillery fire and air strikes. About 1, November, the 136th moved to the St. Mihiel Salient and detached its second battalion to the Pannes Sector. The main body of the 136th supported the 33rd Division on the plains of Woevre on the road to Metz.
Both the 135th and the 136th were preparing for the 14 November offensive against Metz when the armistice took effect at 1100 hours, 11 November 1918.

Combat duty in France was marked my mud, movement, and a constant shortage of horses. In contrast to the static trench warfare of the infantry, World War I for artillery was a constant changing of gun positions on both sides. Mud and the shortage of horses left the task of moving artillery pieces to the soldiers.

A System called "nomad platoons" was used to minimize damage done by enemy fire. Gun positions were previously surveyed and then occupied and camouflaged at night. By daybreak, telephone lines were installed, gun positions ready to fire and observation posts ready to direct fire. Enemy use of observation aircraft and balloons made camouflage particularly critical. Positions were changed every night and the difficulty encountered in the quagmires under light and noise were required to move a platoon a few hundred yards. After such a night of labor, the platoon would spend the day firing and receiving counterbattery fire.
Finally in March of 1919 both regiments returned to the states on the battleships Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, leaving Brest and arriving at Hampton Roads, Virginia. After a short stay at Camp Stuart both regiments moved to Ohio for victory parades and final separation from the service. The 135th marched at Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus; the 136th marched at Youngstown, Cincinnati and Columbus. The 136th was mustered out at Camp Sheridan on 10 April 1919 and the 135th on 11 April from the same place. Once again the First Ohio Cavalry had laid down its arms.

1919-1938

  • 1920- Reorganizationof Troop A as “Troop A, 107th Cavalry”
  • 1921-Escort to Marshal Foch in Cleveland
  • 1922- CoalStrike at Saint Clairsville, Ohio
  • 1923- ThirdArmory built in Shaker Heights. Duty at Marion, Ohio, President Harding’s funeral.
  • 1924- Tornadoduty at Lorain, Ohio.
  • 1927-Escort to General John J. Pershing in Cleveland.
  • 1928-Exhibition National Horse Show. New York City.
  • 1929-Escort at funeral of Myron T. Herrick at Cleveland. Redesignation of Troop G as Troop B, 107th Cavalry
  • 1930-Escort to President Herbert C. Hoover at Cleveland.

1939-1959

  • 1939- RegimentalHeadquarters Troop organized in Cleveland.
  • 1940-Reorganization of 107th Cavalry as Horse-Mechanized unit. Troops Aand B redesigned as “D” and “E”, forming part of Second Squadron, 107thCavalry Regiment, completing mechanization of Second Squadron. HeadquartersTroop, 22nd ReconnaissanceSquadron deactivated, andincorporated into 107th Cavalry Regiment. Deactivated 11 December,1945.
  • 1941-1945-World War II: Over 70% of the Regiment served as Commissioned Officers in allbranches of the service and saw action in all theaters of operation. The regiment was reorganized into the:
    - 107th Cavalry Group
    - 107th CavalryReconnaissance Squadron
    - 22nd CavalryReconnaissance Squadron
    - The 107th Reconnaissance Squadron participated in theEuropean
    Theater of Operations.
    107th Cavalry Group
    107th CavalryReconnaissance Squadron
    22nd CavalryReconnaissance Squadron
    The 107th Reconnaissance Squadron participated in theEuropean
    Theater of Operations.
  • 1947- 107thCavalry reorganized at Cleveland, Ohio as part of the Ohio National Guard.
  • 1949- Unitdesignated 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Ohio National Guard, whichit remains to this day.
  • 1950-Emergency duty during great snowstorm
  • 1952-Guard off duty for 600 inmates of Ohio State Penitentiary at Camp Perry, Ohio,following prison riots.
  • 1953- Lawenforcement duty following disastrous tornadoes.
  • 1959-Law enforcement and emergency relief duty following severe winter floods.
1960-1970
  • 1966- Lawenforcement duty during July Hough area riots.
  • 1968-Glenville civil disturbances enforcement
  • 1971- Dedicationof the Brigadier General Woods King Cavalry Armory. 107th ArmoredCavalry designated high priority unit with possible deployment to Europe – NATO
  • 1974-Alteration of basic training program because of ending of the draft.
  • 1977-October 10- 100th anniversary of the First City Troop

Brief History Update 1970-2002
  • 1970’s- Regimentcalled out in the “truckers” strike and were involved in the Kent State Riots.In 1974 it was reorganized with the return of the Third Squadron, and then in1977 it lost the 1st. Squadron, Troop A, the roots of the 107thArmored Cavalry Regiment. During the same year, the unit supported the statebecause of the Snow Blizzard of 1977.
  • 1980’s- TheRegimental Aviation Squadron and Support Squadron were formed. In 1989, anumber of aviation personnel deployed to Honduras to support the Engineers inroad-building projects.
  • 1990’s-The Regiment converted from M-60 tanks to the newer M-1 Abrams tanks. Then inSeptember 1993, the 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment was deactivatedand redesignated 1-107th Cavalry Battalion. In September 1994, the2/107th Cavalry was reorganized under the 38th InfantryDivision.
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