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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 92: History of the Schenectady National Guard Companies.

[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 1367-1375 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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By Major Jacob S. Clinton, Schenectady.

Schenectady occupies a very prominent place in the recent military history of the Mohawk Valley just as it did in the two centuries preceding the Civil War.

The original armory was built in 1868. The present armory was completed in 1900, on the same site as the first one.

Today the Schenectady Armory is the headquarters of the Second Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, N. Y. N. G. Second Battalion, E, F, and Headquarters companies are located here while the other two battalion companies are Company G, Amsterdam, and Company M, the battalion machine gun company, at Gloversville. Company M, the machine gun company of the Third Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, N. Y. N. G., is also located at the Schenectady Armory. The 1925 strength of the Second Battalion is about 385 out of a full strength of 401, which was maintained at camp in Peekskill in 1924.

The present commanding officers of the Second Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, are: Major George E. Ramsey, formerly captain of Company E, of which Christopher B. Degenaar is first lieutenant at this writing (1925); Company F, Captain Wm. H. Innes; Company G, Amsterdam, Captain T. Forrest Brown; Company M, Gloversville, Captain B. W. Kearney; Headquarters Company, First Lieutenant Leslie M. Jensen.

The history of the Second Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, will be here briefly covered before taking up that of the Schenectady companies. During the Spanish-American War, in 1898, the Second Regiment, N. Y. Volunteers' Infantry, was formed of various units throughout the Mohawk and Hudson valleys. The Second Battalion originally consisted of Company E (Thirty-sixth Separate Company), Company F (Thirty-seventh Separate Company), both of Schenectady; Company H (Forty-sixth Separate Company), Amsterdam, and Company G (Thirty-first Separate Company), of Herkimer. These units went to Camp Black, L. I., for duty in the Spanish-American War, as the Fifteenth Battalion, New York National Guard, under the command of Major Austin A. Yates, who, prior to this organization, was captain of the Thirty-sixth Separate Company, now Company E. The Fifteenth Battalion was mustered into the United States service as the Second Battalion of the Second New York Volunteer Infantry and served as such during the Spanish War.

In 1901 Company G (Thirty-first Separate Company), of Herkimer, was dropped from the regiment and its place was filled by a new unit which was organized at Gloversville and designated as Company G (Nineteenth Separate Company). Upon the retirement of Major Yates, the command of the battalion was given to Major James M. Andrews, who was captain of Company E during the Spanish War. Major Andrews remained in command of the battalion until promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the regiment in 1914. Colonel Andrews later became colonel of the regiment and commanded it during the World War. On his promotion, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews was succeeded, in command of the battalion, by Captain Thomas Carney of Company E, who was promoted to major and served as battalion commander until February, 1914, when he died.

Major Carney's place was filled by the promotion of Captain Walter G. Robinson, who also came from Company E. Major Robinson was in command throughout the Mexican border campaign and retained command until the reorganization of the regiment at Spartanburg, in 1917, as the One Hundred and Fifth Infantry during the World War. He was then transferred to the First Pioneer Infantry and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of that organization, serving in France and Germany with the regiment. When Major Robinson was transferred from the regiment, his place was taken by Major J. Scott Button, who was formerly captain of Company F. Major Button retained command of the battalion for the greater period of the war, until he was transferred to the Army Staff School in Langres, France.

Upon the reorganization of the regiment after the return from the World War, in 1919, the battalion was placed in command of Major Jacob S. Clinton, who had commanded Company E and the Regimental Headquarters Company, during the war.

While the regiment was at Spartanburg, S. C., prior to the departure for France, the Third Officers' Training School was organized and Major Button and Captain Clinton were respectively assigned as chief instructor and senior infantry instructor of the school, appointments in consideration of general efficiency shown in training. Over 400 officers were graduated from the school and assigned to various units of the army. In this connection, it may be mentioned that 41 commissioned officers of the United States Army in the World War, came from the units in the Schenectady Armory.

Upon the retirement of Major Clinton, January 1, 1925, the command of the battalion was turned over to Captain George E. Ramsey of Company E, who is (at this writing) about to be promoted to the rank of major. Captain Ramsey has been connected with the National Guard since 1895 and served as first sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and captain of Company E. He was promoted to the rank of captain during the World War and placed in command of the Headquarters Company of the One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, returning to the United States as captain of that unit.

From 1919 to 1925, when the Battalion was under command of Major Clinton, every commissioned officer of the battalion was a battle veteran and the general standard of battalion efficiency stood at a very high mark. Major Clinton retired at his own request, after a service of 27 years of military service.

Second Battalion commanders since organization of the regiment: Major Austin A. Yates, Major James M. Andrews, Major Thomas Carney, Major Walter G. Robinson, Major J. Scott Button, Major Jacob S. Clinton, Major George E. Ramsey.

Captains of Company E since organization was formed: Austin A. Yates, James M. Andrews, William Purman, Charles Marletti, Thomas Carney, Walter G. Robinson, Jacob S. Clinton, George E. Ramsey, C. B. Degenaar.

Captains of Company F since the organization was formed: Walter Van Voast, Nelson MacDonald, Samuel R. James, Frank Bauder, George Crippen, Albert Wells, J. Scott Button, Herbert D. Crounse, William H. Innes.

Captains of Company M since its organization: Howard Bird, Stewart D. Tiffany, Lewis C. Gibbs, Glenn C. Wasson.

Following are the present, 1925, officers of the Schenectady units:

Company E — Captain George E. Ramsey, First Lieutenant Christopher B. Degenaar.

Company F — Captain William H. Innes, First Lieutenant Leonard A. Bishop, Second Lieutenant Hans Tschudin.

Company M — Captain Glenn C. Wasson, First Lieutenant Arthur J. McGovern, Second Lieutenant Walter Magadieu.

Second Battalion Headquarters Company — First Lieutenant Leslie M. Jensen, Second Lieutenant Earl D. Hamilton.

The following concerns the separate histories of the Schenectady National Guard units.

The first Schenectady Armory was built in 1868 and was the headquarters of the Eighty-third Regiment, New York Militia. The Eighty-third was disbanded in 1876.

Company E was originally the Schenectady Citizens Corps, which was an independent military company, organized in 1876 and entirely composed of Civil War veterans, 81 in number. On June 12, 1880, this organization was mustered into the service of the New York Guard as the Thirty-sixth Separate Company with the following officers: Captain Austin A. Yates, First Lieutenant Oscar Shannon, Second Lieutenant George W. Tompkins. Lieutenant Tompkins had a most distinguished Civil War record and was one of the few American soldiers who have twice been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery — at Chancellorsville and in the Battle of the Wilderness where it was pinned on his breast by General Grant. Lieutenant Tompkins is living in Schenectady at this writing (1925).

On May 2, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the Thirty-sixth Separate Company became Company E, Second New York Volunteer Infantry. In the preceding pages it will be noted that the Second Battalion was formed at this time, including Companies E and F and that both companies served together in this battalion in the Spanish War, Mexican border service and in the World War. Both E and F companies, totalling about 250 men each, or 500 together, fought together in the Battle of the Hindenburg Line in the World War. The World War activities of E and F companies, Second Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, N. Y. N. G., are considered as one in the following account.

Company E served in the Spanish War under the command of Captain James Madison Andrews (later Colonel Andrews, commanding the Second Regiment, N. Y. N. G.), doing camp duty at Camp Black, L. I., Chickamauga Park, Ga., Tampa and Fernandina, Fla. The E Company officers were: Captain James Madison Andrews, First Lieutenant George De B. Greene, Second Lieutenant Donald J. Hutton. Lieutenant Greene was promoted to battalion adjutant, Lieutenant Hutton became first lieutenant and Charles E. Parsons became second lieutenant. On Nov. 30, 1898, Company E was mustered out of service and returned to the home station.

Captain Jacob S. Clinton, then in command of Company E, on April 15, 1916, requested permission of the adjutant general to recruit his company up to a then war strength of 150 men. This was granted and Captain Clinton's Company E was the first National Guard unit in the United States to be recruited to full war strength of 150 men, fully equipped and on a war footing. The company officers at this time were Captain Jacob S. Clinton, First Lieutenant George E. Ramsey, Second Lieutenant Christopher B. Degenaar.

On June 19, 1916, Company E was called into service and federalized on the Mexican border. Companies E and F both entrained for Camp Whitman, N. Y., on June 24. On July 1, 1916, the companies went to the border with the Sixth New York Division, later the Twenty-seventh Division. The companies covered a hundred miles of Texas border, on what was known as the "merry-go-round," with camps at Mission, Sterling Ranch, McAllen and Pharr, Texas. Companies E and F served on the border until Oct. 20, 1916, when they were mustered out of service.

On March 24, 1917, Companies E and F were called into Federal service, with the Second N. Y. N. G. Regiment to guard public utilities, serving on the Champlain Canal section from Whitehall south to Mechanicville, with headquarters at Fort Edward. The Second Regiment assembled at South Schenectady, Aug. 1, 1917. They left their camp on Aug. 27th for camp at Pelham Bay Park, New York City, later participating in the parade of the New York National Guard down Fifth Avenue. On Sept. 27, 1917, the Second Regiment entrained for Spartanburg, S. C. In the reorganization, incidental to the formation of the Twenty-seventh Division, Second N. Y. N. G. Infantry Regiment and the Seventy-first N. Y. N. G. Infantry Regiment (of New York City), were combined to form the One Hundred and Fifth Infantry Regiment, Twenty-seventh Division, United States Army. Captain Jacob S. Clinton was transferred to organize the Headquarters Company of the One Hundred and Fifth Regiment. Company E was then commanded by Captain James S. Slawson (killed in action in France), First Lieutenant George B. Ramsey, Second Lieutenant C. B. Degenaar.

The One Hundred and Fifth sailed from Newport News, Va., on May 19, 1918, and arrived at Brest, France, on May 30, 1918. Its first service was in the Ypres defensive sector in Belgium, in front of Mount Kemmel, where the One Hundred and Fifth participated in the operations which culminated in the Battle of Vierstraat Ridge, Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 1918. Here the regiment, including Companies E and F suffered a number of casualties in killed and wounded.

The Twenty-seventh Division, including the One Hundred and Fifth, was then transferred to the Somme sector, where it formed a part of the Fourth British Army, under the command of General Hubert C. Rawlinson. The Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth divisions, United States Army, formed the shock troops of the Fourth British Army. This army was composed of the following corps: Second American Army Corps, comprising the Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth Divisions; the Australian Corps; six Scottish divisions; twenty-one British divisions; large corps of British Cavalry. The Fourth British Army was assigned to the Hindenburg Line operations, where the American divisions were to start the attack. The Battle of the Hindenburg Line began on Sept. 29, 1918, and continued until Oct. 1, 1918. The objective of the One Hundred and Fifth was the Canal Tunnel, Bony and Le Catelet, which were all attained, following which the Australians leap-frogged the Second American Army Corps and continued the advance through the break made by the Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth divisions. In the Hindenburg Line battle, Captain Slawson and 31 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of Company E were killed and 127 wounded. Company F had 21 men killed and 115 wounded. Company M (machine gun company) had 7 men killed and 37 wounded. Companies E, F and M, together, had 60 men killed and 279 wounded out of a total of about 600 men, or more than half of their strength in casualties. Out of about 250 men in Company E there were only 17 who did not become casualties at some time during the actions in France in which the One Hundred and Fifth participated.

Following the Battle of the Hindenburg Line, the Twenty-seventh Division participated in the advance and battles of Jonc de Mer, St. Mourice River and St. Souplet. On Oct. 22, 1918, the One Hundred and Fifth was drawn back of the line for replacements to a camp at Daours near Amiens. After the armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, the One Hundred and Fifth was located at Ardenay on the Somme, in the Mons area. Here it remained until it embarked on the Leviathan for home, on Feb. 25, 1919. It arrived in New York on March 6, 1919, and participated in the parade of the Twenty-seventh Division in New York City. The regiment encamped at Camp Upton, L. I., until it was mustered out of the service on April 1, 1919, when the men returned to the home station.

The New York Guard units, which had been organized, following the departure of Companies E and F and which had done guard duty during the war, were disbanded and the old companies were reorganized on July 13, 1919, when Captain Jacob S. Clinton was made major of the Second Battalion, which Major Clinton then thoroughly reorganized.

Company F, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, was originally organized, in 1878, as the Washington Continentals, an independent military organization, which wore the Continental uniform of Revolutionary days. It was mustered into the New York National Guard service as the Thirty-seventh Separate Company on June 12, 1880, with a strength of 85 men. Present Companies E and F drilled in the same armory but as independent organizations. The officers of the Thirty-seventh Separate Company, on its organization, were Captain Walter Van Voast, First Lieutenant Nelson MacDonald, Second Lieutenant Thomas Gregg.

In 1898 the Thirty-seventh Separate Company became Company F of the Second New York Volunteer Infantry and part of the Second Battalion, together with Company E, as previously related. The officers at this time were Captain Frank Bauder, First Lieutenant George W. Crippen, Second Lieutenant Albert Wells. Company F has always been distinguished for its marksmanship. It furnished many expert riflemen to New York state teams of the National Guard, from 1911 to 1916. Company F's high standard in marksmanship was largely due to the untiring efforts in that direction of its commanding officer, Captain J. Scott Burden. [Button?]

Company F had the same Mexican border service in the Second New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment as has been detailed in the record of Company E. Company F left Schenectady for border service with three officers and 130 men, the officers being Captain J. Scott Button, First Lieutenant Herbert Crounse, Second Lieutenant Arnold Kriegsman. At Camp Whitman, Captain Button was promoted to major of the Second Battalion, when the Company F officers became as follows: Captain Herbert E. Crounse, First Lieutenant Arnold Kriegsman, Second Lieutenant William H. Fuller (killed in Belgium, August 6, 1918).

As previously mentioned Companies E and F formed units of the Second Battalion, Second New York National Guard. They had the same service on the Mexican border and in the World War, which has been given previously.

At Spartanburg, Captain Crounse was transferred to the Second Pioneer Infantry, following which change Company F had the following officers, all formerly of the Seventy-first New York National Guard: Captain Frank Potter, First Lieutenant K. O'Connor, Second Lieutenant Earl Maxson.

After the return of the men to the Schenectady home station, Company F was reorganized on July 13, 1919, with the following officers: Captain William H. Innes, First Lieutenant Leonard A. Bishop, Second Lieutenant Milton H. Hallenbeck.

Company M, the Schenectady machine gun company, was organized after the call for troops for Mexican border service on June 19, 1916. Under the new tables of organization, Schenectady was designated to organize a machine gun company for the Second Regiment. Company M was organized on June 24, 1916, with 38 men, under command of Captain Howard Bird. It served with the Second Regiment on the Mexican border.

Prior to the declaration of war with Germany, on March 19, 1917, Company M was increased to 78 men under command of Captain Howard Bird, First Lieutenant Stewart D. Tiffany. At Spartanburg Sergeant Glenn C. Wasson was promoted to second lieutenant. Company M. served with the One Hundred and Fifth Regiment of the Twenty-seventh Division in all the operations in Belgium and France, previously given in this chapter. July 13, 1919, the machine gun company became Company M, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, N. Y. N. G., with the following officers: Captain Lewis H. Gibbs, First Lieutenant Glenn C. Wasson, Second Lieutenant Levett C. Powell. Under the recent tables of reorganization, which gave a headquarters company, three rifle companies and a machine gun company to each battalion, Company M of Schenectady became the machine gun company of the Third Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Regiment, while former Company H of Gloversville became Company M, the machine gun company of the Second Battalion.

Although Company M has no such old service history as Companies E and F it is distinguished for general efficiency and high military standards, largely due to the efforts of Captain Glenn C. Wasson. Company M probably comprises (1925) a larger percentage of war service men than any other unit in the regiment.

The Second Battalion, One Hundred and Fifth Infantry, Headquarters Company, was organized, under the change in the tables of organization of the New York National Guard, which went into effect in 1923. It comprises two officers and 41 enlisted men. It was mustered into the service March 10, 1924, with First Lieutenant Raymond L. Hall in command. Its present officers are: First Lieutenant Leslie M. Jensen, Second Lieutenant Earl D. Hamilton.

Some of the citations for World War service of members of the Schenectady units follows: Major Jacob S. Clinton, citation and Conspicuous Service Cross; Lieutenant Raymond L. Hall, Distinguished Service Cross; Captain Lewis Gibbs, citation; First Sergeant William J. Carney, citation; Sergeant John Walsh, divisional citation; Sergeant Edward C. Bradt, citation; Private William Stevenson, citation.

The foregoing practically comprises the military history of Schenectady from the close of the Civil War to the present time, a period of sixty years. This history is that of the companies covered in this chapter which have truly carried on the same military spirit as that shown by the Colonial and Revolutionary soldiers of Schenectady.

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