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The 4th United States Cavalry (CEC)

Some of the 4th US Cavalry on parade

Perhaps the most famous of all US army formations to operate on the Texas frontier was the 4th US Cavalry. The regiment had fought throughout the American Civil War and when that conflict ended, was stationed in Macon, Georgia. In November 1865, the troops received orders to ride for San Antonio, Texas, for service in the West.

The 4th US reoccupied the line of forts in the Texas hill country and along the Rio Grande frontier, seeing very little action. Most of its soldiers occupied themselves with routine patrols, providing security along the roads heading west toward San Angelo and north toward Jacksboro, and helping to build roads and lay telegraph lines in the region. The few skirmishes with Indians were inconsequential.

Then, in 1870, Colonel Lawrence Pike Graham turned over command of the regiment to Colonel Ranald Slidell McKenzie, who had commanded the black 41st Infantry in Texas before it was consolidated into the 24th infantry during the regimental shakeup of the previous year.

McKenzie transformed the 4th Cavalry into a crack fighting force that saw a lot of action in the coming years in campaigns from the Panhandle of Texas to south of the Rio Grande.