Friday, October 31, 2014

About that bicycle corps

The 25th U.S. Infantry Bicycle Corps was organized in July 1896 at 1,520-acre Fort Missoula near Missoula, Montana after General Miles ordered that a "cycle infantry" be established.  Lt. Moss was placed in command of the new corps- one sergeant,one corporal, a musician and five privates- all volunteer black troops for Companies B, F and H of the 25th.

Moss trained his eight men hard for three weeks and soon had them taking daily bicycle trips ranging from fifteen to forty miles.  They learned how to scale fences up to nine feet high in twenty seconds and to successfully ford streams up to three feet deep.

The outfitted their bikes with knapsacks on the handle bards topped by blanket rolls containing one blanket, one shelter half and tent poles.  A haversack was carried either on the front of the knapsack or on the single horizontal bar of the bike.  A tin cup protected from mud and dust by a cloth bag, was placed under the seat.  Canteen and cartridge belts were carried on the soldier.  Every other man carried a rifle strapped horizontally on the left side of the bicycle.  The other men carried revolvers and had canvas luggage cases in the diamond-shaped area of their bikes.  Every man carried thirty rounds of ammunition.

That's all on Montana roads and trails of 1896.  Damn.  And that's not all, more to come.

This is from the June 1981 issue of True West, article by Don Miller.


Mark/GreyLocke said...

Is it available on line? And do you have the link if so?


Firehand said...

Not that I'm aware of, unfortunately