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Pingenot Auction, Lot 231


231. NANKIVELL, John H. (compiler & editor) History of the Twenty-fifth Regiment United States Infantry 1869-1926. Denver: Smith Brooks Printing Co., [1927]. xx, 212, [21] pp., full-color plate of the regimental seal, numerous photographic illustrations, maps. 4to, original blue cloth lettered in gilt on upper cover. Very slight wear to head of spine and lower corners. Rubber stamp "Bisbee Daily Review/Bisbee, Arizona" on endsheets and a few inner leaves.
         First edition of a privately published regimental history, very rare in commerce (no copies at auction; none in the Morrison guides). John.M. Carroll (in the preface to the 1972 reprint): "The Twenty-fifth was very active in the Comanche Indian Wars of Texas and participated in that very crucial incident at Pine Ridge, south Dakota in 1890-91 (the last major engagement against the Indians)....The regiment saw much action in Cuba—where it was very instrumental in the capture of El Caney and Santiago—and in the Philippines....Exceptional and heroic performances of duty were known but not officially recognized....There is probably no other single incident in their long, honorable history as a fighting force which has caused more debate than the celebrated ‘Brownsville Affray’ of 13-14 August 1906." The regimental also saw service in World War II and in Hawaii, Minnesota, and Mexico.
         Pingenot certainly had the knowledge and will to ferret out modern military rarities like the present work, which preserves forgotten pages in American military history on Black soldiers. I regret that Ben was not granted the time to write a note for this wonderful book. I confess that on first glance, this book seemed quite prosaic, but closer examination revealed it to be filled with interesting material not found elsewhere, e.g., "Chapter I. The Colored Soldier in the Service of the United States prior to 1866"; "Athletics...The Regimental Baseball Teams, 1894-1914—Some Well-Known Players," superb documentation on operations against Native Americans in Oklahoma, Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Texas and the borderlands (excellent documentation on the Mackenzie expedition); Shafter and the Seminole Scouts; Couer d’Alene labor troubles; unusual photodocumentation (Mark Twain viewing the guard mount at Fort Missoula, Montana, in 1895; the Bicycle Corps in Montana; Native Americans in the various regions of service; the baseball teams, etc.).