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Veni, vidi, vici. [I came, I saw, I conquered]-- Julius Caesar
Many great soldiers have served at Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor, New York. Several landmarks commemorate the service of the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment at Madison Barracks. The Ninth United States Infantry Regiment was stationed at Madison Barracks at the end of the Indian Campaigns in 1892.
With hostilities between the Native Americans and the settlers diminishing, the regiment was no longer needed in the west where it had served since 1855. In the early part of the 1890’s a flurry of construction provided new barracks, mess facilities, stables, officers’ quarters and administrative buildings.
Garrison life on this post was probably favorable to the hardships associated with life on the Western Frontier. But, military training continued in the form of long marches, inspections and marksmanship training. Soldiers from Madison Barracks were often seen marching to and from other posts, some more than 100 miles distant. As one of its details, the regiment participated in Columbus Day celebrations in New York City in October 1892.
In 1898, America was drawn into war with Spain. The soldiers of the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment were dispatched by train to Miami, Florida, where they boarded ocean going vessels with the next stop being the steaming jungles of Cuba. Although deadly, the fighting in Cuba was short. When hostilities in Cuba ended with an armistice between Spain and the United States, the soldiers of the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment returned to Madison Barracks. As a result of America’s decisive victory over Spain, and the Treaty of Paris, our country became the “owner” of several islands formerly possessed by Spain throughout the world. Thus, America became a world power. Peacetime duty at Madison Barracks was short lived.
The Philippine Islands, one of the spoils of the War with Spain was wracked with violence as the Philippine Insurrection occurred as a response to American possession. Soldiers from Madison Barracks were needed again, so the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment was on the go, this time to the pacific, by way of the Presidio of San Francisco. Again, the soldiers of the Regiment were subjected not only to combat, but the rigors of life in a jungle environment.
Being a world power offered America opportunities to expand trade beyond our borders, but also provided increased danger to our citizens in these far away places. The Boxer Rebellion was brewing in China. Hostilities directed toward American and other foreign nationals in China required a response. Among the military units sent to protect American interests, the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment, withdrawn from the fighting in the Philippines landed in China. The Regiment was engaged in several campaigns, but one of the most noteworthy was the attack on the walled city of Tientsin.
On July 13, 1900, the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment was engaged in deadly combat to capture Tientsin, when the color bearer of the regiment was wounded. The Regimental Commander, Colonel Emerson H. Liscum recovered the colors but he too was wounded. Colonel Liscum’s wound was fatal, but before he died he handed the Colors off to the Adjutant with his final command to the soldiers: “Keep Up The Fire!” Fighting continued and the regiment was successful in its attack. In the days following this costly attack, soldiers of the regiment discovered a silver storage facility, partially burned. They secured the silver and reported its existence to Chinese authorities. The thankful government of China rewarded the soldiers of the Regiment by giving them part of the salvaged silver. They also bestowed on them the nickname “Manchu”, recognizing their bravery by naming them after the greatest Chinese warriors, the Manchurians. The Regiment sent the silver to Japan where an enormous Silver Punch Bowl, plate and set of cups were made. The punch bowl became a tribute to Colonel Liscum and remains a source of pride in the Regiment. The “Liscum Bowl” has it was named is in Korea where the remaining battalions of the regiment serve today. The Colonel’s dying words have become the motto of the Regiment. As a result of the regiment’s valor in combat, the War Department granted special permission to have a special belt buckle and crest made showing the Manchurian Dragon, the numeral “9” and the motto: “Keep Up The Fire!”
No longer needed in China the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment returned to further hostilities in the Philippine Islands. In 1901, Company C of the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment was ambushed and nearly annihilated. The signal for the brutal attack was sounded using church bells. In retribution to this attack, the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment captured the church bells of the village of Balangiga.
When service in the pacific was over, the Regiment returned to Madison Barracks. Affixed to the water tower, one of the most prominent landmarks on the military post, is a large plaque on which are listed the names of soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment that lost their lives in service in Cuba, Philippines and China, between 1898 and 1907. The captured Bell of Balangiga was displayed near the officers quarters. The concrete pedestal where the bell was mounted still stands in the shadow of the water tower. The word “Balangiga” is plainly visible on this landmark. Shortly after the troops returned the newly fabricated Liscum Bowl was delivered to Madison. During action in these locales five soldiers of the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment earned the Medal of Honor. They are:
2LT Ira C. Welborn, Santiago Cuba, July 2, 1898
2LT George W. Wallace, Tinuba, Luzon, Philippine Islands, March 4, 1900
PVT Robert H. Von Schlick, Tientsin, China, July 13, 1900, (Posthumous)
1LT Louis B. Lawton, Tiensin, China, July 13, 1900
CPT Andre W. Brewster, Tientsin China, July 13, 1900
The Ninth United States Infantry Regiment left Madison Barracks prior to WWI but they saw action with the 2nd (Indianhead) Infantry Division during WWI, WWII and Korea. Soldiers of the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment served in Vietnam with the 25th (Tropic Lightning) Infantry Division, Panama with the 7th (Bayonet) Infantry Division. They have also served in Alaska, Fort Ord California, Fort Lewis Washington and continue to serve on Freedom’s Frontier in Korea, again with the 2nd (Indianhead) Infantry Division. The Liscum Bowl with its platter and cups and the Bell of Balangiga are on duty with the Ninth United States Infantry Regiment in Korea.
Note: Submitted by: Richard T. Novy, Command Sergeant Major, U. S. Army, Retired, Former Regimental Command Sergeant Major. Ninth United State Infantry Regiment (Manchu)
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The Ninth United States Infantry Regiment and Madison Barracks, New York
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