🍒 General John J. Pershing | American Experience | Official Site | PBS

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General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing GCB was a senior United States Army officer. He served most famously as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front in World War I, –


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"Black Jack" Pershing was the most accomplished and celebrated American During the Spanish-American War, he distinguished himself commanding a.


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"Black Jack" Pershing was the most accomplished and celebrated American During the Spanish-American War, he distinguished himself commanding a.


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"Black Jack" Pershing was the most accomplished and celebrated American During the Spanish-American War, he distinguished himself commanding a.


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John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of the American his name in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, where Teddy Roosevelt, the.


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John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of the American his name in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, where Teddy Roosevelt, the.


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General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing GCB (September 13, – July 15, At the start of the Spanish–American War, First Lieutenant Pershing was the regimental quartermaster for the 10th Cavalry; he fought on Kettle.


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General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing GCB (September 13, – July 15, At the start of the Spanish–American War, First Lieutenant Pershing was the regimental quartermaster for the 10th Cavalry; he fought on Kettle.


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General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing GCB (September 13, – July 15, At the start of the Spanish–American War, First Lieutenant Pershing was the regimental quartermaster for the 10th Cavalry; he fought on Kettle.


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forthcoming NET documentary "Black Jack Pershing: Love and War," Cavalry soldiers up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War.


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One of the last photographs of Pershing in uniform before his final retirement from the Army in shows him inspecting a mounted troop of the 10th at Fort Myer, Virginia.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} He often discussed his intentions of quitting the Army and hanging out his shingle with a young Lincoln lawyer named Charles G. For the most part these Indians were peaceable enough; the troublemakers in the region were a large band of Crees from Canada who were, technically, illegal immigrants. In the spring of , when it was announced that the Crees would be sent back to Canada, most of them were camped near Great Falls. Colonel Grierson was appointed to command the new District of the Pecos and prevent further depredations by the able and exceedingly active Victorio. He insisted on teaching two classes in mathematics the future novelists Willa Gather and Dorothy Canfield Fisher were among his students and also entered the law school. Grierson accomplished this largely by setting up subposts at all the water holes and pursuing the Indian bands whenever they came in sight. Twice in later years Pershing was reunited with the regiment that he regarded as his home in the service. Meiklejohn, an old friend from his University of Nebraska years who was now First Assistant Secretary of War, pleading for reassignment to the 10th. Two troops of the 10th Cavalry under Captain Louis Carpenter saddled up immediately, made it to the Arikaree in the amazingly short time of two days, and rescued Major Forsyth and his survivors. On July 1, the 10th participated in the general advance on the landward defenses of Santiago, with the Spanish-held blockhouses of San Juan Hill looming before them. Shortly after obtaining his degree and being admitted to the Nebraska bar, however, Pershing received the appointment to the 10th Cavalry, and from then on marched steadily toward the honored destiny awaiting him as commander of the A. The cadets, resenting his close and stern supervision of their activities on and off the parade ground, tried to play the hoary trick of dousing their tactical officer with a bucket of water placed over a door. A compilation of that record, Under Fire with the 10th U. He requested that the entire outfit be transferred to a northern post, preferably not farther north than Kansas. The Negro soldiers established themselves as fighting men that morning, and the chuckles they gave as they shoved the cartridges into their belts showed that, though they did not have food or water, so long as they had ammunition they were content. Some talked of resisting the deportation, others of hiring a lawyer to defend them against it. They were caught in the open, and the two civilians were killed almost immediately. Dawes, who was to become Vice President in the Coolidge administration. Two scouts managed to get through the Indian lines and make it to Fort Wallace, Kansas, miles away. The regiment was now drawing a better-educated type of recruit. Randall of Troop G, travelling with two white civilians, was attacked by sixty to seventy Cheyennes forty-five miles west of Fort Hays along the Union Pacific Railroad. Captain Charles T. In , while commanding the brigade post at El Paso, Texas, Brigadier General Pershing was appointed to lead the punitive expedition across the Mexican border in pursuit of the insurgent Mexican leader Pancho Villa, who had raided Columbus, New Mexico. Rarely has an officer risked his career so recklessly to obtain reassignment. Major George A. An instance occurred on September 17, , shortly after the 10th and its fellow Negro regiment, the 9th, were organized. That was followed by appointment as a tactical officer at West Point, and it was here that Pershing got the nickname that would accompany him into history. In September of , for example, Private John G. The result was that, when the Army was expanded during World War I, sixty-two noncoms of the 10th were commissioned, twenty of them as captains. His father, an ardent Unionist in largely pro-Confederate country, fired back with a shotgun while the family took shelter behind a barricade of furniture. July 30, Two men died of thirst after being without water for eighty-six hours. The web belts of most of them were empty, and in no one belt were there more than half a dozen or ten of the cartridges with which the men had begun the day. The landing in Cuba was unopposed, but the American regiments, striking overland toward Santiago, found plenty of resistance from the island itself: the narrow trails through a tropical forest matted with vines and spiked with Spanish bayonet botanical variety ; the endemic diseases; the heat of late June and early July, which laid low most of the elderly senior officers. Forsyth, at the head of fifty civilian scouts—mostly former Union and Confederate soldiers—was deep into Indian country when he was attacked by a force of Cheyennes, Sioux, and Arapahoes that out-numbered his band at least ten to one. The 10th had been organized on September 30, , under the command of Colonel Benjamin H. But on reaching the outskirts of the town of Carrizal, they found a force of Carranzistas barring the way. Part of the 10th served under him when in , having been jumped from captain to brigadier general over the heads of officers senior to him, Pershing took command of Fort McKinley in the Philippines. Pershing spotted the trap, demanded the names of the culprits, and when the names were not forthcoming, saw that the whole company was confined to the barracks area for thirty days. One was Sergeant Bivins, who was stunned and bleeding but insisted on keeping up with the advance. Randall, however, burrowed into the cut bank along the railroad tracks; he was shot in the hip and took eleven lance thrusts in the shoulders, but refused to be rooted out. In actuality, a white settler with a mess of Indian troubles on his hands—including many an ex-Confederate who had previously considered the Negro incapable of military service—stood an excellent chance of being saved by a hard-riding troop of black cavalrymen. Their record is studded with victories against heavy odds, often without the supervision of white officers that the army bureaucracy believed was necessary. Their chase over the mountains and deserts of Chihuahua failed to net Villa, and almost embroiled the United States in a conflict with the Carranza Constitutionalist government in Mexico City, which was increasingly resentful of the American presence. Much of the duty consisted of chasing hostiles over the Staked Plains, the Guadalupe Mountains, the badlands of the Rio Grande, and the Big Bend country—some of the hottest, driest, most miserable terrain in the United States. Typical of the second or third generation of 10th Cavalry troopers was Sergeant Horace Bivins, born in to slave parents but himself the possessor of an education superior to that of most professional soldiers, Negro or white. Some of those who rushed up the hill will live in my memory forever. Early in the seventies the regiment saw its hardest service when it was dispatched to help deal with the Kiowas and Comanches in the Southwest. Regimental reports told the story in stoic terms:. Meanwhile, the 10th had been undergoing intensive retraining at Camp Chickamauga, Georgia, learning how to fight dismounted, infantry style, since there was little prospect of any glorious cavalry charges over the jungled terrain of Cuba. Roberts, who had been wounded in the abdomen, lying under a tree with three of his troopers, all of whom were wounded also. The Crees, after staging an uprising in Canada instigated by a half-breed named Louis Riel, had fled across the border to Montana Territory. On April 30, Colonel Guy V. Pershing was one of the carefully selected officers who commanded troops in the two crack Negro cavalry regiments that served on the frontier after the Civil War. Anyone whose knowledge of western history has come largely through motion pictures, television, or popular fiction might be surprised to learn that two of the finest regiments in the Indian-fighting army—one fifth of the total cavalry force involved—were composed of Negro troopers with white officers. Sergeant Bivins, with the Hotchkiss guns small-bore, rapid-fire cannon , wrote his friend that his battery had to stop times along the seven miles of narrow trail leading to San Juan Hill. It was one of the storybook charges of U. When the Spanish-American War broke out, the 10th Cavalry was among those units earmarked for service in the Cuban invasion. By this time, white officers considered assignment to the 10th a professional honor. He was a serious-minded young man, whose earliest memory was of a band of Confederate bushwhackers riding into his home town of Laclede, Missouri, and firing on the Pershing home. If there is a military stereotype in United States history, it must closely resemble the public impression of John J. It took men of superb discipline, endless patience, and endurance to keep their own tempers in check under the blazing prairie sun while attempting to persuade the Crees to surrender without firing a shot. The relief column found him, still forted up in his prairie-dog hole, surrounded by the bodies of thirteen Cheyennes. But Troop H did it, after spending sixty-two days in the field and covering six hundred miles. Pershing had originally wanted to become a teacher or a lawyer, but he stayed in the Army after graduation and served with the 6th Cavalry against the Apaches and the Sioux. Henry, now commanding the 10th, requested Pershing as regimental quartermaster, the only post vacant. He sent two letters in one day to George D. One of the first and oddest assignments given the regiment had nothing to do with restless tribesmen. On May 2, Secretary of War Alger finally yielded to this remarkable pressure from a mere first lieutenant—and his highly placed collaborators—and ordered Pershing to duty with the 10th. Morey of Troop K were instructed to avoid a clash with the Carranzistas. By that time the regiment had served on the western frontier for almost thirty years, and had established itself as one of the hardest fighting, best disciplined, and most efficient mounted forces in the field. Although there has never been in the U. That fall, driven to take shelter in the Candelaria Mountains of Chihuahua, Victorio was surrounded by Mexican troops; he was killed in the ensuing battle and most of his followers were wiped out. Many of the officers believed that the Negroes should be given commissioned rank. Alger, himself a cavalry veteran of the Civil War. Young Pershing attended West Point only to obtain a better education, for the profession of arms was then widely regarded as a refuge for ruffians, drunkards, and misfits. It was just before the regiment began the task of rounding up and repatriating the Crees that Lieutenant Pershing reported for duty. He went with the skirmish line up the hill. Miles, then general in chief of the Army. On June 17 he ordered two troops of the 10th to reconnoiter in the vicinity of Ahumada to determine the truth of reports that ten thousand troops of the Carranza regime were concentrating there and preparing to attack his line of communications back to the U. For nearly a week they were besieged; Forsyth was badly hurt, and nearly half of his command were wounded or killed. The ninety American troopers were heavily outnumbered by four hundred Mexicans who had taken up a strong position along an irrigation ditch and were equipped with four machine guns. Invariably, in any action scene of the army riding to the rescue of a wagon train or a besieged settlement, every trooper is a white man. From it came his nickname, and he never lost his affection for—or failed to champion—the valorous colored troopers he led. Davis came across Lieutenant Thomas A. Its troops were dispersed to various outposts and its headquarters set up at Fort Sill, Indian Territory. It was almost as ridiculous a gesture as the charge of the British light brigade in the Crimea. For ten years, between and , the 10th was engaged with the Apaches in western Texas and was assigned to keeping the routes to El Paso open to travellers. Pershing caught up with his regiment just as it was about to embark from Tampa. November 28, A corporal and four men sent after a band of horse thieves returned to Fort Griffin after a march of miles, bringing in ten Mexicans and fifteen stolen horses. The 10th Cavalry formed part of one of the two invading columns. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}A Negro cavalry regiment was John J. He served with it in Montana Territory and in the charge up San Juan Hill in , and it was under his command in the Philippines and during the punitive expedition into Mexico in Pershing was transferred to the 10th in as a thirty-five-year-old first lieutenant. Mizner, protested to the Adjutant General that his regiment had spent twenty years south of the thirty-sixth parallel and deserved a breather in a kindlier climate. In the summer of Colonel Grierson, with Troops C and G, fortified a water hole in Quitman Canyon and ambushed Victorio, preventing him from heading for sanctuary in the Mescalero country of southern New Mexico. The regiment left Arizona in the southern spring. A similar emotion assailed Richard Harding Davis as he watched the supply and ammunition wagons come up from the rear. Pershing made his headquarters at Namiquipa, which by no coincidence was also the headquarters of the 10th Cavalry.