Abbreviated and Incomplete They
fought the British, Rebels, Indians,
History of the 19th Infantry Regiment
Spanish, Mexicans, Philippine Insurgents,
Hurricanes, Blizzards, Malaria (and maybe Elliot Ness)
by John Troesser
19th Infantry Regiment
& Private Dennis Buchicchio
flag of the 19th Infantry Regiment that
was flown over Veracruz
a mere 16 days after the War of 1812 was declared, the 19th Infantry originally
served under the command of General Winfield Scott. During this conflict, the
19th participated in the Battle of Niagra, the attack on Fort Mackinac and the
Battle of Fort Erie. At the close of the war (1815), the 19th was consolidated
with other regiments to form the 3rd U.S. Infantry Division. |
Civil War elements of the 19th saw action at Shiloh, defended Washington against
a threatened attack in 1862, participated in the battle at Murphreesboro and Chickamauga
and were present at Antietam (but not engaged).
During Reconstruction the
19th was stationed in towns across Arkansas and in the 1870s, elements of the
19th guarded wagon trains to Fort Supply and Fort Dodge, Kansas while others guarded
the railroad. Units fought Indians at Sappa Creek and others were caught in a
blizzard outside of Fort Wallace, Kansas in January of 1875.
In 1879 the
19th's commanding officer, Lt. Col Lewis received a fatal wound in a skirmish
with Indians fighting under Chief Dull Knife. The 19th took part in the last major
campaign against the Indians and then various companies of the 19th were scattered
to lonely outposts throughout the West waiting for the next fight which didn't
take place until the USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor.
During the Spanish-American
War, the 19th was one of the first units dispatched. Transported by train
to Mobile and then Tampa, on July 21st the regiment boarded the USS Florida and
USS Cherokee to set sail for what was then called "Porto Rico." They spent a year
in Ponce performing guard and provost duty, then sailed to New York where they
boarded trains to the west coast. On July 27, 1899 they sailed for Manila.
regiment was broken into company-sized units and participated in many battles
with the Insurgents before returning to the U.S. in 1902. They served a second
tour in the Philippines from 1905 to 1907 and a third and final tour from February
1910 to May of 1912.
On April 23rd, 1914, the regiment was made part
of the Fifth Brigade under General Frederick
Funston - an American hero from his actions in the Philippines and for being
"The Man who saved San Francisco" during the 1906 earthquake. They were with Funston
when he briefly occupied Vera Cruz, Mexico after a "misunderstanding" between
the U.S. Navy and Mexico. After that they were then sent back to Galveston
- where they had been quartered prior to the Mexican occupation. There at Galveston
they were battered by the hurricane of August 15, 1915. The camp was destroyed
and the 19th was again split up with some companies being dispatched to Fort Sill,
Oklahoma and other units to Fort
Sam Houston in San Antonio.
In the fall of 1917 the third battalion of the 19th was sent to Goose
Creek, Texas (now included in greater Baytown)
to quell a riot by oil field workers. After the strike was settled, the 19th won
praise from the oil worker's union for their fairness in dealing with the strikers.
The president of the union even requested that "if the Government intends to keep
troops here, why can't it be the 19th Infantry?"
Robert C. Williams|
(West Point Class of 1886).
WWI the 19th was again scattered - but their Headquarters was in the newly formed
Camp Travis, just north of San Antonio's
Fort Sam. Company 'A' was camped on San Antonio's South Flores Street - guarding
the Army's warehouses and the U.S. Arsenal. The 19th provided men for other units
that were reorganizing for Europe. In 1918, the 19th's commanding officer Col.
Millard F. Waltz, was given a retirement parade in downtown San Antonio, not far
from the Arsenal grounds. Col. Waltz was replaced by Colonel Robert C. Williams
(West Point Class of 1886). |
gatepost at the former U.S. Arsenal in San Antonio |
TE Photo March 2006
Buchicchio of the 19th Infantry Regiment|
Photos courtesy of his
son, Raymond Buchicchio, Roselle, Illinois, who spent 29 months riding a destroyer
in both Atlantic and Pacific Theaters of War during the Second World War..
Our thanks to Mr. Buchicchio for providing the photos and the Regimental Roster
for the 19th Regiment which have since been forwarded to Fort Sam Houston's library.
Buchiccio in dress uniform 1918|
Motorcycle Messenger of Company "B"
Private DB poses on cycle with sidecar. Inscribed on back: "Come on Katie, let's
go for a ride. I am starting the machine."
A dapper Private DB in gloves and garrison cap. 1918
Dennis Buchiccio back home in Chicago on a civilian motorcycle.|
| Al Capone's Triggermen?|
organization of the Army and its various units have evolved over time. In 1918
Army battalions had "Machine Gun Companies." It is interesting to note that the
roster of men from the 19th Infantry Regiment's Machine Gun Company were mostly
recruits from Chicago, Illinois.
Of the 147 enlisted men, 114 were from
Chicago (five more were from NYC). All of the men were Privates except for one
Corporal and a single "First Class Private" as they called PFCs back then. The
NCOs were mostly from northern states (Michigan, Iowa, and Pennsylvania) with
a sprinkling from the South (Kentucky and South Carolina). A single Sergeant was
from San Antonio. Among the Privates there were only four other Texans. One each
Gardner, San Antonio and Amarilla
Assuming these men were discharged after the war (to become "The
Forgotten Men" of the Great Depression), they would've still been in their prime
during Prohibition. Imagine looking for a job in Chicago when the only piece of
equipment you could operate fired bullets? Who in Chicago was hiring during the
The following names are from the 19th Infantry's Machine Gun Company's
roster: Vincenzo Castrogiovanni, Pietro Castronovo, Fernand Delaune, Nicholas
Delirigio, Vincenzo Di Gaetano, Vito Forges, Carminio Ianone, Cesare Palma, Natale
Porcelli, Bruno Ritacco, and Jimmy Romegnano. There's not enough evidence to prove
that they were later employed by Mr. Capone, it makes an interesting historical