Colonel (later major general) McCaskey had nearly 35 years continuous service in the 20th Infantry, a regiment with a great history form 1866 to 1907 at the time of McCaskey’s retirement.
Cabinet Photo – Colonel Wm S. McCaskey & Officers & Color Guard of the 20th U.S. Infantry.
This unmounted cabinet sized photograph was taken about 1903-1904 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Colonel William Spencer McCaskey is seated in the front row center, and surrounded by the officers of the 20th U.S. Infantry and the Color Guard.
Colonel (later major general) McCaskey had nearly 35 years continuous service in the 20th Infantry, with two year separated while on recruiting duty in New York in the late 1880s. The Twentieth has service in the early Indian Wars period in the Dept. of the Dakota, Oklahoma, Dept. of Texas, Dept. of Colorado, War service in Cuba, Philippines, and again for 3 years on Luzon, and more.
In 1876, McCaskey and two companies of the 20th Infantry were order to Fort Abraham Lincoln to take temporary command of the post while the 7th Cavalry, with Lt.Col. George A. Custer were on the Sioux Campaign of 1876, which tragically ended with the massacre of 5 companies under the immediate command of Custer at the Little Big Horn Battle, in Montana Territory. When new reached McCaskey of the loss of these officers of the 7th, McCaskey broke the news to Libbie Custer, and the other wives. He stated in his writings it was one of the hardest things he had to do in the 45 years of service in the army.
General McCaskey began his military career as a private in the Lancaster Fencibles, a militia unit from Lancaster, Pa. With the firing on Fort Sumter in early April of 1861, he joined the 1st Penn. Vol. Infantry as a sergeant, and was one of the first units (and men) to answer President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to defend the capital. At the end of his career, Gen. McCaskey retired the last regular army officer to have volunteer a Lincoln’s call for troops, and the last officer in the regular army to have carried a musket in combat in the Civil War.
Several of the officers photographed here went on to have great careers, and many of those as generals of note in WWI.
Image size is 7.5 x 9.5 inches.