Major General Wm S. McCaskey’s 1902 Sword, Letters, Photographs & More


Of the 75,000 men who answered the first call for volunteers, but twenty remained on the active list of the army (March, 1903), and the name of Col. McCaskey was the tenth upon this list of honor. When MGen. McCaskey retired in 1907 he was the last man standing- THE LAST OFFICER, THE LAST MAN IN THE REGULAR ARMY, WHO CARRIED A RIFLE, AND BORE A COMMISSION, WHO ANSWERED ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S FIRST CALL FOR TROOPS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR. He also bore the sad task of delivering the news to Libbie Custer and the wives of the fallen 7th Cavalry officers killed at the Little Big Horn in June of 1876.

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Major General Wm S. McCaskey’s 1902 Sword, Letters, Photographs & More.

Having purchased recently items belonging to William Spencer McCaskey, gave me the idea of running our weekly mail blast entitled “Firsts and Lasts,” due primarily to McCaskey’s honor of being the last regular army officer who answered President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion and defend the Capital.

When South Carolina artillery batteries fired on Fort Sumter in early April of 1861, McCaskey had already been enrolled in a local militia company, the Lancaster Fencibles;    “On April 15th, I was a private in the Lancaster Military Company known as the Lancaster Fencibles. One that date President Abraham Lincoln issued his first call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion against constitued authorities.  On April 20th…mustered into the U.S. service at Harrisburg, First Pennsylvania Volunteers, as Company “F”.

After his three month service with this regiment, which included guard duty, and provost guard for Gen, Robert Patterson’s army in pursuit of Confederate Joseph Johnston’s army until the 1st Penn. Vols were released from their 90 day service. Many of these men were determined to re-enlist for the war, and McCaskey, now a sergeant, was mustered into the 79th Pennsylvania Infantry on Sept. 5, 1861. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant on Oct. 9, 1862, the day after the Battle of Perryville (recorded in unit history as Chaplin Hill). The regiment was a hard fought unit, participating in battle at  Stones River, Tn., Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mt, Georgia, and the Atlanta Campaign through Georgia, and into North Carolina in 1865, as part of General Sherman’s famous march to the sea, and in pursuit of “Joe” Johnston’s Army.  After that army’s surrender, the 79th, with now Captain McCaskey, moved on toward Richmond, and were mustered out of service near Alexandria, Va. on July 12, 1865.

In 1866, he was offered a commission in the regular army as a 2nd lieutenant in the assigned to the 13th Infantry, in Dakota Territory, and transferring to the 20th infantry in 1869, In the Spring of 1876, 1st Lt. McCaskey and his company were sent to Fort Abraham Lincoln, to take charge of the post while Lt.Col. George A. Custer, and the 7th Cavalry were on the Sioux Campaign of that summer. On May 17, 1876, Custer wrote a letter to McCaskey, “My Dear Captain:  The scouts who carry the mail to Lincoln can return to us after resting their ponies….Also say to Captain Harmon…I heartily approve of his proposition to build a traders store somewhere nearly opposite the present store and on a line with the officer’s quarters at Cavalry Barracks….No signs of Indians, Prospects of a fight…diminishing .  Please apply a little discipline to Pvt. Woodruff and Conaly.  Yours truly, G.A. Custer.” On the back of this letter, McCaskey noted, “This is the last letter i had from the late Gen, C. – Woodruff referred to is a soldier, took care of the horses and was generally worthless on account of rum.”

On the morning of July 6, 1876, McCaskey was informed of the utter destruction of Custer and the immediate troops under his command. He was detailed, along with Captain E.W.Smith (Terry’s Adjt.) and Dr, Middleton (post surgeon) to informing the wives of the officers of the 7th about the massacre.  Prior to being relieved of command at Fort Lincoln in Sept. 1876, McCaskey received the following letter from Libbie Custer, “My dear Captain McCaskey,  It is in my power to express my deep appreciation of the kindness shown me at Ft. Lincoln during those dark days. But I will never forget it and shall ever thank you with a grateful heart for your sympathy and consideration for me in my sorrow. I may never see you again, but I shall pray that you and yours may be spared the anguish that makes life so burdensome. Will you remember me most kindly to Mrs. McCaskey and tell her that she has been blessed with God’s best gift, a devoted and faithful husband.  Sincerely Yours,  Libbie B. Custer.”

In December of 1877, McCaskey, and several companies of the 20th Infantry were transferred to the Department of Texas, at Fort Brown. In Oct. of 1883, completing two years of recruiting duty in New York, McCaskey returned to his company “B” now at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory.  In April of 1885, the 20th Infantry moved back to the Department of Dakota, at Fort Assinniboine, Montana, then another move in 1894 to Fort Leavenworth, Ks, until the outbreak of the Spanish American War.

After being fully equipped for field service, the regiment left Mobile, Alabama, for Cuba on June 22, 1898. McCaskey was now promoted to major and commanded the regiment before Santiago, Cuba in July of 1898. With the surrender of Spanish forces, the 20th Infantry sailed for Montauk Point, Long Island, thence to Fort Leavenworth in August, and arrived there in September, to rest, recuperate, and reorganize, before getting orders to prepare for foreign service in the Philippines, arriving in Manila Bay in February of 1899 with the insurrection in full swing, and Lt.Col. McCaskey became full Colonel in Jan. 1900, and after three years in the Philippines returned to Fort Sheridan, Illinois in late March of 1902.

In December of 1903, the 20th was sent to Luzon, and while located at regimental headquarters at Cuartel Infanteria, P.I., McCaskey received a telegram that he had been promoted to brigadier general.  Correspondence in this collection being offered here relates to the talk with other officers, communicating their concern with whether or not these older soldiers were going to be promoted or resigned as too old to serve in the army. The date of his promotion was Jan. 24th, 1904. At this time he had served with the 20th Infantry nearly a continuous thirty-five years. The new brigadier general was ordered to proceed to Denver, Colorado on April 15, 1905, to take command of the Department of Colorado.

In the spring of 1906, General McCaskey was ordered to San Antonio, Texas, to command the Department of Texas.  On April 15, 1907, he was promoted to major general, and given his last assignment, and appropriately so, having so many years in the Department of Dakota. The general retired 6 months later in October of that year – THE LAST OFFICER, THE LAST MAN IN THE REGULAR ARMY, WHO CARRIED A RIFLE, AND BORE A COMMISSION, WHO ANSWERED ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S FIRST CALL FOR TROOPS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR.   General and Mrs. McCaskey spent some time traveling throughout the stated for a few years, and later built a home  overlooking Monterey Bay, in Pacific Grove, California.  The old soldier pasted away at the age of 70, on August 10, 1914, and was laid to rest at the Presidio, San Francisco, California.

[ Much of the above was extracted from “The Letters of William S. McCaskey.” Edited by Hank Chapman, 2007].

This collection consists of the following:

  • 1902 Sword, marked “The M.C. Lilley & Co. Columbus, O.”  There are a couple of small dents on the scabbard between the upper ring mount and throat, that show up in photographs of Gen. McCaskey photographs (copies). Included is a copy letter from the family stating the original ownership of the sword (s), and that the 1902 sword was once on loan to the Army Museum at The Presidio, San Francisco, and with the original tag that was on the sword while in the museum’s possession, and a note from the museum and signed by the curator.  There is a copy from a Notary Public for Santa Cruz County.  The hilt has a few dings and bends, but generally in fine condition.  I have added a 1902 era general officer’s gilt acorn sword knot, as this sword of such importance, looked a bit plain without it.  The photos of this sword are in several copies of Gen. McCaskey holding the sword, and there is no question about its provenance.  I doubt that General McCaskey had a finer sword. From the letters you will learn, that he was very conscious of money and the cost of things, not having come from money.  He was a frugal man, and a dented sword was apparently not of any concern.
  • A portion of letters from the main collection.( Many of the McCaskey letters were sold around 2007 or some before then. I purchased some of that collection back in 2007.  This grouping of 15 pieces (including original letters from McCaskey, to him, draft letters, etc.)  1.)  Fort Randall, D.T. Nov, 22, 1866, to Brother Jack (John Piersol McCaskey).  “Since my last to you, I have been on a visit to the “States.” All the way to “Sioux City” Iowa – partly on business, partly for pleasure. The trip lasted just one week, and was something “on the romance,” – I assure you if riding 100 miles over the prairie in an ambulance, and have your mules “played out” on the route, thereby throwing your care upon the tender mercies of these heartless frontiersmen – whom we may find scattered over the country, one in twenty miles of travel, (make it inch), and one of these gents? asked us the modest sum of $20. To carry us to the next stage station about twenty miles distant from the point of our “breakdown” -kind wasn’t he. The result of the trip was not what some might consider pleasure, but we enjoyed it although we had but a few days stay in the city of past attraction. On the evening of our stay we visited a lodge of AQM, my mate Lt. Goodloe, being in search of “light.” They have peculiar ways of doing things up in small packages out here and gave me rather a heavy tug, before admitting me. They might not have been so exact were it not that I have met some of them before they considered me “bright,” weren’t they fooled?” Some of them test one really good and peculiar to the western man. I ran the gauntlet with credit, to no. 343, however.  Since my return I have been very busy, having been appointed, Post QM and ACS.- giving me everything about a large part to attend to. You may not think it much, but when you remember that I am Comp’y Comdr, and drill – twice a day – Post and Battln Adjutant with all the duties belonging there to, to look after and daily teaching Non Com Off school, Quartermaster – with about 200 head of stock teams, carpenters, blacksmiths – ferry (to watch over), etc, etc. – Commissary of Subsistence +c+c -just think I have my hands full from reveille to tattoo.  These together with the attention to be parcel to the ladies of the post, take up a great portion of my time, and all but together I offer in apology my neglect…..I think however, you may as well abandon the hope that it has found its way to the “Dead Letter Office.” For the letter was too well directed to allow a child to be mailed as to its destination, and I am fully convinced that the money sent on an express at “Sioux City”.  This is my opinion only, and it is based upon a supposition, but, I am confident that the beer sellers have more of it than I wished. There I too became certain of it and my suspicions prove correct. I could never recover it but have satisfaction of gaining a file in rank – not to be disrespectable or wish ill to any one, but I would be willing to lose it, were I to be the means of removing, from my front, an officer whom I can not look upon, other than a disgrace to the uniform. I am after him hard…..”  Signed “Will.”  Much more.
  • Fort Ripley, Minn. June 16, 1872. To Brother John.  “Since last I wrote you we have had stirring times in this Country……  A murder was committed on the frontier by a party of bad Indians. It was a brutal act, but was nevertheless only such ever one as might have occurred in any civilized community, this however, was the work of Indians, and consequently was the first signs of an Indian outbreak, for you must remember we have plenty of Indians within a hundred miles of us, and that the white settlement press them well up to their reservations……. The people were leaving their homes, some for good, and other to congregate at different points building stockades +c to defend themselves. ….. In addition to the detachment which had already left the post for Leech Lake. I was ordered out with every available man to proceed to the scene of trouble and act as might become necessary to prevent an outbreak. Horseflesh and steam was expended extravagantly and I was 140 miles from here in 12 traveling hours. … I don’t think it necessary giving assurance to the settlers that we could get there soon and defuel them. The Indians were more …. They as a class are peacefully inclined but have their fair proportion of scoundrels and besides have their grievances.  We spent two weeks, pleasantly among them and found to our surprise that Minnesota did exactly have a garden spot. I never saw such a magnificent agricultural section, fine soil two feet deep, with hard clay subsoil. Look up White Earth lake on your map and imagine it as the center of 36 townships, and you have the locality.            Never before did I believe the Indian expectable of advancement. We found a 100 acres or more under cultivation, of from 3 to 6 acre pieces, farmed by the Indians themselves – many dozens of houses well kept and clean. Indians wearing paper collars, and fancy shoes – not three moccasins did I see and but few blankets. Found a boarding school with some thirty to forty scholars, which would be a credit to any town presided over by a graduate of Oberlin College with his wife as assistant…..About 250 farms were persons were present, and all seemed to understand were & how to do everything. I often wished during my stay that you might have been there for you would have enjoyed it.While we were having an agreeable change from garrison life, among the Indians the ladies at the post, were indulging in a scare of magnificent proportions. The communications between us were not at all regular and caused much discomfort, besides sensationalist caused everybody much un necessary fright and had around the whole state to defend themselves against an Indian outbreak and as Minnesota experienced one of those things some years ago, she is exceedingly inflammable It was all smoke however, and after quieting all their fears we returned….(ends here- partial letter only).
  • Wamego (Kansas) Monday, 26, 1896.  To Nellie (Mrs. McC.)  “I went to bed early, and had it not been for the infernal din of the cars, would have slept well. I was getting a cold and took plenty quinine.We had moon this morning to pack up by. Our people have learned to put up the camp quickly and well, and at the general every tent goes down, and within 30 minutes. We get up at 5. Although the distance was two miles shorter today, I was more tired than yesterday. It was sandy then dusty, we reached camp at 1p.m. ……I am glad to have a welcome home, but I wish it was at some other post than Leavenworth. I am so tired of the school and the people, I saw no one at Riley, that impressed me, either man or woman. I like our people much better, and probably they feel the same way. At Riley you know it is also a school and they have the big head, all around. Our people probably wish their pride by ignoring their superiority….”  McCaskey writing from the field, while stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, Ks.
  • Official Letterhead, War Department Exhibit, Tennessee Centennial Exposition,  Typed letter from Post QM Sergeant Jos. J. Hittinger.  April 12, 1897.   “Your letter of the 4th instant, to Captain Ward, was received today and as the Captain is absent on an official trip, to Washington, Phila., New York, and Boston, leaving me in charge, and your letter not being marked personal, was opened by me, and I take the liberty of saying in reply that Captain Ward, informed me prior to his departure, that while in Washington, he was going to make an effort to obtain a position for your son in one of the various Departments of the government, who are to have an exhibit at the Exposition here, of the result of his efforts I have no doubt he will inform you on his return to Nashville.”
  • Pennsylvania School Journal, Lancaster, Pa. Sept. 5, 1898.  Written to McC. from John Piersol McCaskey.   “Donald had written me that I had better go slow about Montauk, there was no accommodations for visitors, water not good, as walks long to get anywhere  and I would be sick as I have not been quite well of late but I would have taken the risks in it…..You had an awful Campaign at Santiago, if Lawton or Bates or Chaffee or you or any other good man had been in Command there would have been a different story both before and after the surrender……Brave boys are they, all of them, boys to be proud of. When I hear Ned tell in his quiet graphic fashion, incidents of the Campaign and the fortitude with which they meet privation and suffering and death that boldness, I knew more and more the stuff that any was made of, and you were all in it and came through it!   What rot some of these people are giving us in defense of Shafter and Alger. I was reading a paper on something of the sort by Wheeler a day or two ago in which he said the Soldiers esteemed it a privilege to suffer as they did in defense of the flag. And he thinks anybody likely to believe that he means it when he talks such bosh as that! The best thing in this world is an honest man, but the world’s so full of them that one gets very tired sometimes……  I always knew Ned was a big fellow….– A man allover, who knows a man when he sees them without regard to the dress he wears, men like him are the salt of the army, but his life is largely lost there. If I had to do it over again I would have him a physician and surgeon in a large cit y that would be his field, and he would grow great in it…..And from below Ned is the man of the General Gordon (“Chinese Gordon”) type. In talking quietly in the battles about Santiago he said something to me that gave me a splendid view into his soul that I had never had so deep before and was again truly grateful for the blessing of such a son.I hope your regiment will soon get away from Montauk and go back to your old quarters. The question here was whether the children should go into school here or wait to see what the Chance for going back into their old schools at Plattsburg…..J.P. McCaskey  [Ned – Brother John speaks of his son Edward William McCaskey, (Father & major, USA)  USMA class of 1886].
  • March 10, 1903 (Fort Sheridan, Ill.).  To Nellie,   “Yesterday, when I was in town and Col. Rodman was in command, he had to go to the corral and have a horse that was suffering with glanders, shot, and now he is sick in bed, with a bad case of grippe. I stopped there with Dr. Ives, on my way home from duties- he was suffering a good deal, and said he has such headache that he thought he would go crazy.I staid there nearly an hour – You know, he isn’t a patient invalid – and I arranged to have a Hospital Attendant stay with him during the night….Capt. Morrison & Mr. Delbril both sent regards to the Colonel. John says their post is so small that they can talk across the parade, and that it is not as clean as this, that he told Capt. Morrison it would never do for Col. McCaskey, to see it condition as now. Probably one may see it for our passes will take us within 150 miles of it, and if time permits, and we can get away, we might run out to Molrana for a day or so…..Gen. Funston’s aide (Mitchell) told me yesterday, that Col. Sanno, was going back with the 18th – that he was well and wanted to go, and that his family was already in San Francisco. I didn’t think he would go, as he is nearly 63 now, but probably he thinks that is the quickest way to get promotion….I send you a clipping concerning Charles. How true he is painted and I have gone through about 25 Manila papers, and found nothing that I think would particularly interest you except in 3, which I send. All that mass of “Sadness” & murders, and trials, would bewilder you so I will bundle them up and send them to Leavenworth & Molrara….Do you know where Paraqua or Palawau Island is.  If not, it is that long island west of Illo or Mindanoa that runs down to near Borneo.We never had any trouble there, have 2 cos of 11th Infant’y now at Paraqua and it is the place some gentleman wanted Hiram to go to, long ago. I suppose he now goes on government business…..Gen. MacArthur told me the other day in fact read me the letter, that the War Dept. want his picture. Said if they sent a photographer out, they could have it, but he wouldn’t send them any – funny isn’t it….William.”
  • March 21, 1903 (Fort Sheridan)  To Nellie…..”The first ray of hope. The Army & Navy Journal, which I send you, gives the plan outlined by the War Department as to promotion & retirement, and I think it is all time enough.Of all the old Veterans – Five are to be promoted and retained in Service, and my name is included in the five, certainly a great compliment , when so many of them have kindred service and rank. The file ran as follows – Carr (Cav) Hains (Eng) B ?, McCaskey, Ward, Infanty. I do not understand the arrangement, and it can’t be as they intend to promote us for S…. is to get the April vacancy. He has had the longest service, always commissioned, Carr has been a Command Officer – 2 years longer than I have, but as long service –  B ? 3 mos. Longer Commissioned service , and Ward, about the same service as I have. Carr (Douglas’ Col.) & B ?, have always ranked me, in B ?I had not opened my papers in the office this morning, when Major Alvord came rushing in with an open paper, saying “Well Colonel, there is certainly a God in Israel “, have you read this, this is straight, and I congratulate you.” It was certainly good news. Later Capt. Webster congratulated me on the walk, but he said, while we all want you to be a Brigadier, we hate to see you go, everyone of us.”’ case- until I reached my Captaincy….I will not get a new pair of trousers, but will change the facings, and I’ll have to get a new pair of straps, mine are disreputable, and some other things to be respectable when I am “presented.” That incident alone may affect the date of appointment alone I must not be shabbily, but make a good impression.  I regret the expense, but I see no other way, mostWhat a stinch will make among the old fellows who are not retained, but may be many of them want to go. You will see there were not many who asked. Gen. Bates told me Miller did not want to quit. Said he was so interested in the school, I smiled and said I never knew him to be interested in much of anything but poker, and then the General laughed.of the other things I will get, will be useful anytime, except the facings on my saddle cloth, and I can give that to Garry…..William.”
  • March 26, 1903 (Fort Sheridan, Ill.)  To Nellie.    “I send you some letter rec’d today, Eleanors’ was written from Ft. Robinson on 23rd & her receipt for Registered package (the ….. I suppose), was dated Ft. Niobrara, 24th so she must have returned there.Capt. Morrison’s letter was very kind, and unexpected, and I shall answer it, for I appreciate it…..Really, outside the need of money. I think the government could have found better and as deserving men as I am to retain, I also think I would have been in good luck to have been retired as B.G.  I don’t care much for the honor, and less for the fuss and feathers, and social requirements that will be forced upon us. But I’ll hold on, and drift, and I am ready to close out. My really useful military life, and play at being a General I know. I will be more lonesome than ever, for I will have on old soldier companion, near me that I have any interest in.The fact of being a General officer don’t impress me. When I compare myself with so much better men, who never reached the grade, like Gen Sykes, Hunt +c+c., it seems a sacrilege to fill their place, but it will please you and it will be a good point from which ancestry can be started for one descendants- 200 year hence.  I hope your name will not be forgotten but go tinker with mine through all time. I find in looking up this genealogy nonsense, that many of our grand mothers are not even mentioned by name……We told the Q.M. General in effect that we didn’t want a second glass wagon and if he couldn’t give us what was asked for, why that was the end of it. I don’t know what eh result will be. He telegraphed me that it would be impossible to furnish Caps- new pattern for the men by April 30, so they will appear in old uniform. I read a letter today from Capt. Moody to Capt. Burnham. In it he said he never heard the 20th praised unless he felt like sharing the praise, for though of 3 regiments he had served in, his sentiment was with us, and that he thought from what he heard the 20th was the best know regiment in the service……William.”
  • Fort Sheridan, Illinois, November 10, 1903. To the Adjt. General , U.S. Army, Washington.  Typed letter (hold copy).   “Sir:” I have the honor to request that I be appointed Brigadier General, U.S. Army, to fill the first vacancy that may occur in that grade.My services have extended over a period of 42 years, since April 20, 1861, when I responded to President Lincoln’s first call for volunteers. Of this 75,000 but 13 remain on the active list. During the Civil War I was continuously with troops in the field, and was never absent from my command on any campaign or from any of the numerous battles in which it engaged.Since the civil war I have served with troops, I was never detached for staff duty, I believe my record is clean. I have never been reprimanded, on the contrary I have been commended and recommended for promotion by every Commanding Officer under whom I have served. Among them will be found such men as Generals Hancock, Sykes, Terry, Holabird, Baird, Davis, Stanley, Otis, Bates, Wheaton, McArthur, Brooks, Chaffee, Bell, Hughes, Carter, Corbin, Barry and Hawkins.I have nearly four years to serve on the active list.I commanded my regiment in Cuba, the Philippines and since and returned with it to Manila, November 20th.My record is in the War Department and I respectfully request that it be examined and considered, especially the efficiency reports of my Commanding Officers and of Inspecting Offiercs and the recommendations of many General Officers under whom I have performed duty.”     Unsigned, but from McM.
  • Jan. 23, 9 a.m. (1903)  To Jennie,  “It was past midnight when I finished my letter to you. Had a fairly good night, it seemed long – up at 7:30.  Met Gen. Richardson, whose son you were interested in – drove us to cemetery +c. Gen says he Contracted Malaria in looking up sites, and was sick for 4 mos.  Nearly died (the General) I mean.  Met M. Torkington, the author of “Gentlemen from Indiana, and Att’y Gen’l Taylor & many others last night.Good by – Indianapolis not as pretty as in August, streets very dirty. Weather fairly mild, looks like rain. Received your letter but overshoes not yet here. I take my others with me……William.”Cover – War Department.  Recruiting station, Indianapolis.
  • Good Friday, 12M. in the office. (1903) Cover from Fort Sheridan. To Jennie,My Dear Wife,    I have just received the enclosed, another incident well closed, and quite a compliment.  I hope you will enjoy it.I will write to both the gentlemen, instrumental in passage of resolutions.  Have just seen Major Alvord. He is so happy for anything and will transfer with Capt. Chapman.     40 years ago today, I was mustered in as 1st Lieutenant Vols. Old veteran, surely, but a good lover yet.Good by, Always Yours,William”
  • Letterhead, Department of Texas, San Antonio.   Sept. 9, 8:30 a.m.   Letter to Nellie,  “Breakfasted at Winslow, and have just crossed Canyon Diablo, expect to reach Ash Fork at noon, and then S.L.Expected orders or telegrams at Albuquerque last night, none there so I came on. At Winslow this morning received telegram from War Department to proceed immediately to Douglas or Nogales on the border and remain in that vicinity, until further orders from War Department. I am to confer with Governor & Marshall so will go via Phoenix…I spent most of my time in Smoker. We have men & women in the Sleeper, the usual assortment, but I have talked with none of them except a gentleman, heavily interested in mines in Arizona, a great admirer of Mr. Murphey….Mr. Murphey you know, is a man of large affairs, the big Man of Arizona, has large mines of his own, like the Congress, is interested in Tombstone & Mexico, the head of banks, railroads, business houses, +c+c. The only fear the people here have is that Mr. M. is working himself to death. He looks well, but is feeble and he is not an old man either.  I hope he will live.  He breakfasted with us at the Club, and drove us and Major Walcott, around the post and over the drive, & through his parks, between 8 + 9 this morning and then saw us off on the train. He wanted to fix me up on private cars on other roads, but I can’t wait for that. ….I had telegraphed to Governor, U.S. Marshallls, collectors of Customs & Commd’g officers, Huachuca for information and their replies were the basis of telegrams (rough road, but scenery & switchback over mountains interesting. When in Colorado Mr. Radirre inquired for Hiram and he had hoped to see him, that he would find no trouble in finding position in Colorado, in all mining. Engineers, were needed & many of them……12th 10 a.m.We will take up the story of our trip as we go north from Albuquerque, which point we reached at 7:30 this A.M.  At Phoenix we were met by Dr. Vickers, mentioned before, who was asked by Mr. Murphey to look after us. Capt. Alexander, the U.S. Attorney, went with us to the Capital Building, where we had a conference with the Acting Governor. I learned from them that the troubles were all over, and arrests made, and that civil authorities competent to handle the situation. Later at the hotel, the Mexican Counsel of Douglas, where the troubles were, called and he made the same statements and by appointment made by Mr. Murphey, Mr. Gage, one of his partners, in mines at Tombstone, called and we had a long talk on the situation. I had exhausted all sources of information and wired War Department results, and recommended that troops be withdrawn and that I be permitted to return to my old qrts at Denver, that I would be in Tucson several hours next day, where an answer would reach me. Tucson is where the train for Huachuca, that ……..Benson is made up.  We had callers all the time we were at the hotel in Phoenix, and didn’t get over the town. Several of the officers of the Battalion of Arizona Infantry who have been at Austin, called as did Major Seavell, retired, and who is now in charge of the Militia…..Tucson is quite a large place, sanitarium for consumpture, a fine hotel and lots of wealthy miners & others.Phoenix is also a cure all place and thousands of invalids spend the winter in those two towns. They are fearfully hot places in summer. We met more big men here. Among them the great Wisconsin Democrat Mayor Rose of Milwaukie, next to Bryan, the most prominent man in the party…..William.”  Much more.
  • Draft letter to General Frank Baldwin.  Comes with a Feb. 1906 telegram to the Chief of State stating he (W.S.M), having no desire of change of station.  “My tenure of active service is no more assured than is your own and I do not feel that I can seek a new assignment to duty at the present time.April 14th is the date upon which both your future and probably that of the rest of us will be determined providing they advance Gen. Wade to make way for Gen. Bell.  I shouldn’t be surprised if the President retired everyone of us on that date with or without advanced rank. Of course Gen. McArthur’s announcement is it ever occurs might be a beacon of hope but that is absolutely the last for any of us who are younger than yourself.Under all these conditions I certainly cannot request a change of station, which will involve me in much expense and uncertainty. If I am retained on active duty, on April 14th I would ask for assignment to Dept of Texas, providing there was any probability of remaining until Oct. 1907, otherwise not.  If the worst should come, that would give you 2 months with your many friends & admirers in Denver, providing you went to Texas and desire to change.I wired to the Chief of Staff this morning, “stating that I desired no change of station, at present, that it would be of much inconvenience to me.”
  • Draft by W.S.M.  No date but circa 1906.  In Washington.  No addressee.   “We noticed the statement of the Secretary of War, that the present Brigadier Generals of War Service, and the Chiefs of Staff Corps were not to be promoted….Suitable and proper provision is being made for the Veteran Major Generals, and the Colonels of War Service, and nothing is to be hoped for by the Brigadier Generals of same class. We must be up and doing, while we were glad to see Gen. Weston promoted, we regrated that it should be accomplished at the expense of Gen. Baldwin, and the rest of us. Service with & in the line seems not to be of merit, or worthy of Consideration…..My aim in life is to get more money, and I want to be retired as a Major General. I am willing to quit the business as soon as you do for then all of the men in whom I have interest will have gone. I know the President can retire us at 62, and we are all past that, but it is the only way to get rid of us unless he advances us for retirement…..An amendment could probably be made to existing law including the 6 or 8 Brigadier Generals still remaining of War Service. I write this plainly to you that you many know the feelings of at least General Baldwin and myself…..Except that I passed thru Washington once or twice and took an insane man there in the 70’s I have not been to the Capital since the Grand Review. I notice that there are only 3 of us left on the list who answered President Lincoln’s first call for Volunteers (very old chestnut), Lt. Col. Macklin- 3d Infantry, Col. Godfrey – Cav, & myself.  Col. Regan is the only man who was a soldier or in the Army on the date of muster in Apr. 20, 61. Godfrey – disappeared after the 3 mos. service.We are all well, and I suppose Colorado is as good a department as we can find. We don’t like cold weather, nor would we like it to hot, so I think we are well off. Mrs. McCaskey & I are going down to San Antonio after inspecting Fort Huachuca – have free transportation. We wanted to go for a few days to old Mexico, but we will probably not be able to afford that, and we can’t get free transportation……We wish you joy in your new office. We are all so glad you have been so highly and justly honored. We hurrah for the old 20th Infantry, the best ever.

    Mrs. McCaskey’s regards……”

  • Letterhead, Headquarters Department Of The Colorado, Denver, Colorado.  Notes in McM’s hand concerning the pros and cons of various army post (based on personal experience).   No date but circa 1906.   (hand-written notes on military departments in W.S. M.’s hand).   “Comments & Data concerning the Military Departments of the Army in the U.S.Columbia – Vancouver Barracks. Not much milage.  Comd’g Gen’l occupies Qrs.  Would necessitate shipment of baggage from San Francisco,  employment of Servents, entertainments, etc, etc.______________________________________________________________________________California.Dept. Comdr. Occupies Qrs at Fort Mason.  Would necessitate opening of baggage, keeping open house for San Francisco.  No milage.San Antonio, Texas. Same as above – Quarters, entertainment, society expenses, not much milage. I do not believe we want to be bothered with any of the foregoing unless it be California and then the Occidental Hotel, is good enough for me.


    Dakota, St. Paul.

    Comd’g Gen’l occupies Great Ryan Hotel or other places – some milage, some entertainment etc. etc.  Cold climate  Yellowstone Park.

    Dept. of Gulf, Atlanta.

    Not well, It contains within its limits – My service as a soldier, from Kentucky to Savannah +c to Washington, but Atlanta is a Country town + the garrison mostly artillery, of which I know nothing , No milage.

    CColorado, Denver.

    No comment, you are familiar  with it .

    The greatest am’t of milage.”


  • Booklet, “The Twentieth U.S. Infantry In The Spanish American War.”  (written on cover “Major Miller” in McM’s hand)  13 pages, Prepared by Col. McCaskey. December of 1898.
  • Other miscellaneous paper, and photos (some real and copied), including telegram, photos of California home in retirement years, photo portrait of MG & Mrs.McC in civilian clothings by S,L. Stein, Milwaukie, addressed covers, Bachelor Officer’s Hop, Fort Sheridan, Ill. Tuesday Evening Nov, 18, 1892 dance card with mini pencil, small photo of Ft. Sheridan along parade ground, Research material includes copy photos of McC from Civil War to retirement years, and others, copper engraved plate for calling cards, etc.
  • Cabinet Photo of a group of Officers at Fort Sheridan.