Autographed photo of Bell as a cadet at West Point in 1878, wearing mounted belt rig with cavalry saber.
This image captures Cadet John Franklin Bell in his cadet fatigue uniform wearing a cavalry belt rig with saber; equipment he would soon wear after graduation joining the 7th Cavalry in the same year this image was signed and dated. It was taken by the well known photographer G.W. Pach of New York.
Bell had a good deal of frontier duty until assigned as instructor of Military Science and Tactics at Southern Illinois Normal University, 1886- ’89. In 1894 he was detailed to join the staff of General James Forsyth in the Dept. of California, and in 1898 as Judge Advocate in that same Dept.
When was was declared against Spain, Bell was made Major General of Volunteers and ordered to the Philippines to serve in General Wesley Merritt’s VIII Corps. He was awarded the Medal of Honor when serving as colonel of the 36th US Vol. Infantry, during a fight on September 9, 1899 with Filipino troops.
He had a long and distinguished career having commands of many Departments, etc. During WWI he was given command of a Division in the National Army, and later was found to be unfit for service overseas and continued in his prior assignment as commander of the Dept. of the East, Headquartered at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York, were he died in 1919.
The image is clear, and a bit darkened. It shows some damage to the left side affecting mostly the mount. It is still a nice image, and unusual finding cadets photographed in studio with regular army gear.