THE NEW ARMORY


In 1899 with the reorganized 13th on the three Battalion basis, it was immediately evident that new and more commodious quarters must be obtained for the regiment. Col.Watres at once undertook that work. The old armory was the property of the Scranton City Guard association and was in the hands of a board of trustees. It was sold to the Masonic Fraternity. After paying off all debts of the association, the sum of $30,000 was left which was invested in interest bearing securities.

The new armory was erected from funds subscribed independently of the proceeds of the old armory. The block of land extending from Jefferson Ave to the Adams Ave, north of Myrtle St. covering 160 feet on Adams and Jefferson Aves, was purchased in 1899. By August of that year sufficient funds had been subscribed to insure the success of the project, and work was promptly begun. The cornerstone was laid on the 3rd of November 1900. The following brief item is front the files of the Scranton Times, November 3, 1900.

"The cornerstone of the new Armory was laid by H. M. Boies at 11:30 this morning in the presence of trustees. Mrs. Boies pronounced the stone plumed and true. Dr. S. C. Logan offered prayer. There was no military demonstration. A red copper box containing the corner stone of the old armory (laid in 1877), records of the 13th Regiment and copies of the local daily papers was placed in the corner- stone. The following were present, Col.H.M.Boies, Col.P.L.Hitchcock, Col. H.A.Coursen, Lt.Col.C.C.Mattes, Col. Herman Osthauss, and Mayor W.S.Miller."

On June 1, 1901 the splendid structure was completed, and opened. The architect of the armory was Mr. Lansing C. Holden of New York City. The contractor and builder was Mr Conrad Schrader of Scranton.

March 4, 1901 the regiment attended the inaugural parade in Washington,DC. The 13th has again started in rifle shooting. All the good shooters seem to have been eliminated by the Spanish American War. And the Regiment again had to start at the bottom. In 1902 The 13th wins the Regimental match with a score of 339 using for the first time the new magazine rifle.

In 1903 the Kraig 30 caliber magazine rifle was issued to the 13th, replacing the 45 caliber. The 13th won the practice or preliminary rifle match and also the skirmish rifle match, but lost the Regimental match to the 3rd Brigade.

In 1904 a new match was established, called the Rapid Fire Match. The distance was 200 yards and five shots. The soldier with magazine gun, one cartridge in the chamber and four in the magazine stands at the firing point,,at ready. At a given signal a target appears. (A silhouette of a man) and remains visible for twenty seconds. During this time the soldier must fire his five shots. Unfired cartridges count as misses.

In 1906 the 13th had one success. It won the Rapid Fire match with a score of 215 out of a possible 250. Also in 1906 Company "G" of Montrose was disbanded. In 1907 Typhoid fever became epidemic in Scranton. Many of the 13th were affected during the time of spring inspections. This caused a very unfavorable inspection report. Mayor Robling was a popular and efficient officer and one of the best rifle shots in the Guards, and a member of the 13th team. His death during the epidemic was a severe loss to the Regiment.

The new model N.S. magazine 30 caliber was issued to the regiment in place of the Kraig.

The 13th has had the credit of having been the leader in a number of important features in the development of the National Guard. Among these,is the rifle practice at annual encampment. Now another feature to be added to the list is the introduction of a most practical element into the routine of annual encatrpment instructions. The study under conditions of actual warfare. Problems of attack and defense. Problems of strategy in field movement of troops.

Under Col.Stillwell the 13th had the credit of decisive victories over opposing forces. Also this year the 13th won the rapid fire match, with a score of 220 out of a possible 250. Pvts.Charles W. Moore and J.W. Burns of Company "A" each had scores of 49. One point short of being perfect.

In 1910 the 13th Regiment was detached from the Division and assigned to a Camp of Instruction at Gettysburg. It was evidently a camp of maneuvers. Col. Stillwell commanding the 13th reports the camp very instructive and proposes it as an experiment. In 1908 the 13th won two Junior Regimental matches. One on the 3rd of August at Mt. Gretna and again on the 18th of August.

In 1909 the 13th won the Infantry Skirmish match.

In 1910 the 13th won no matches, but the scores were fairly good and above average.

In 1911 the War Department established a camp of maneuvers at San Antonio Texas. The 13th's tour lasted for 14 days. This tour was unquestionably most valuable and instructive. The 13th made no special showing in rifle competition this year.

In 1912 a new rifle match called the Surprise takes the place of the the 200 yd rapid fire matches.

In 1915 on the 15th of June a mine cave in opened the armory walls to such an extent that its use for drills or any occupation had to be discontinued. It was not until January 1, 1916 that the armory became safe for use for the resumption of drills. This period of idleness had a demoralizing effect on the companies. Resumption of drills had hardly begun when the winter inspection were ordered. The showing of the 13th at these inspections was undoubtly bad. The inspecting officer made no allowances for the condition's and lack of a chance to recuperate. The result was a very black eye for the 13th whose inspection record always stood so high.

On September 26, 1910 the existence of the 13th Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania ceased toexist when they were mustered into the regular service of the United States. It then became the 13th Regiment N.G.P. United States Service. But as long as its identity remains intact we will follow it. Although in the service of.the United States it is still the 13th in which we are interested. This status continued until October 4, 1917, when it merged with other organizations,(The 1st NGP and what was then designated as the 108th Machinegun Battalion)

NOTABLE MIILITARY PAGENTS IN WHICH THE 13th HAD THE HONOR TO PARTICIPATE
(1) City-Guard escort to President Hayes and Cabinet at the Wyoming Monument July 3,1878.
(2) 13th Regiment, with the Division at the inauguaration of Governor Hoyt at Harrisburg January21,1879.
(3)With the Third Brigade at Philadelphia on the occasion of a public reception to General Grant September 16,1879.
(4) At the inauguaration of President Garfield in Washington D.C.with the Division N.G.P. March 4,1881.
(5) At the inauguaration of President Cleveland in Washington D.C., with the Division N.G.P. March 4,1885.
(6) With the Division N.G.P. in Philadelphia at the Centennial Celebration of the formation of the Consititution of the United States, September 16,1887.
(7) With the Division N.G.P. at the inauguration of Govenor James A. Bearr at Harrisburg,January 18,1887.
(8) At the inauguration of the President of the U.S. at Washington D.C with the Division W.G.P. on March 4,1889
(9) With the 3rd Brigade in New York at the centennial celebration of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, April 30,1889.
(10) At the inauguration of President Cleveland at Washington with the Division N.G.P.,March 4, 1893.
(11) With the Provisional Brigade N.G.P. on the occasion of the dedication of the Grant Memorial Monumsnt at Riverside Park New York City, April 27,1897.
(12) In Philadelphia on the unveiling of the Statue of General Washington. Presented to the City by the Society of Cincinnati,OH, May 15,1897.
(13) At the inauguration of President McKinley, with the Division N.G.P., Washington D.C, March 4,1901.

REFORMS INSTITUTED BY OR THROUGH THE INITIATIVE OF THE 13th REGIMENT, NATIONAL GUARD PENNSYLVANIA
(1) The reorganization of the N.G.P. on a sound Military Basis, following the reorganization of the 13th.
(2) Military encampment of instruction annually, following the first encampment of the 13th, held in 1878.
(3) Military Rifle practice as a part of the instructions of the soldier commenced by the 13th in 1878.
(4) Marksman Badges, and rifle matches in competition, begins by the 13th in 1878.
(5) Annual conferences, or conventions of National Guard officers for the betterment of the Guard.
(6) The introduction into the routine of annual encampment, instructions in the science of strategy and military maneuvers in actual practice.

ACTIVE SERVICE
Several times the 13th Regiment was called into State Service and into the service of the United states. The latter including the Mexican Border campaign and World War 1. It is to be mentioned here that any further State Service it and active services from World War I up to the present time will be mentioned as they occur further on in this article.

The first State call was in 1892. The Regiment under the command of Colonel Ezka H. Ripple was ordered to Homestead, near Pittsburgh,PA. It's duties there were very strenuous maintaining the peace, and protection of property. It was held in service eighteen days (18) and received the thanks of the Govenor and Commander-in Chief for faithful,efficent service.

It's second call to State Service was in 1897 when Lt.Colonel Charles C. Mattes, Commanding the 13th at that time was aroused from his sleep by a vigorous ringing of the doorbell. There stood a message boy with two telegrams. One announcing that a serious riot had occured at Hazelton, PA and the other was as follows. "Move your Regiment to Hazleton, PA at the earlist possilbe moment and reach there by daylight if possible. Railroads have been notified to assist you, answer quickly to Governor Daniel H. Hastings". Colonel Mattes had six (6) companies in Scranton, one in Honesdale, about 35 miles east of Scranton, and one in Montrose, 47 miles north. His orders was to concentrate his companies in Scranton, then bi in place at destination before day light, a short three (3) hours away. To do this in daylight would have been a miracle but much more difficult in the middle of the night. Colonel Mattes work was prompt and vigorous. At 7 o'clock am, he was able to start for Hazelton with his field staff, drum Corps, and all the companies except "G" Company of Montrose. That five (5) hours of mobilizing is a splendid tribute to the efficiency of both officers and men of the 13th. The Regiment was sent to Lattimer, near Hazleton, where they remained for fifteen days.
The third call to State Service was in 1902 when industrial conditions had become so unsettled throughout the State, that nearly all the infantry regiments and a portion of the artillery and calvary were called into service. The 13th was charged with maintenance of law and order in Lackawanna and upper Luzerne countiess. Colonel L.A. Watres was in command of the regiment which encamped at Olyphant,PA from September 23rd to November Ist, a period of forty (40) days.The discipline of the camp and the conduct of the men gave luster to the National Guard.

Colonel L.A.Watres staff included LT Colonel F.W. Stillwell,Major Frank Robling, Major R. Bushfield of Easton and Major Whitney of Honesdale. D.B.Atherton was adjutant of the regiment. R.M.Vail was Sgt.Major, Frank M.Vandling was quartermaster, William J.Torrey was quartermaster sergeant and Rev.W.H.Swift of Honesdale was the Reginment Chaplin.
The first call by The United States was for service in the Spainish American War. When the order came April 25, 1898 to mobilize the Division at Camp Hasting's, Gretna, PA. The Regiment left the armory about 9:00pm April 27, and marched to the station through a dense crowd of cheering friends and relatives. They arrived at Mt Gretna at dawn the 28th of April, and erected its camp in a severe snow storm.
On May 7th, the Reginient was mustered for inspection by the Inspector General and the officers  and men were individually asked if they would volunteer for two (2) years or the duration of the war. Practically every man and officer shouted "YES". On May 13th, the field staff and men were mustered into service and on the morning of the 19th the Regiment entrained for Camp Alger, near Falls Church, VA. Here the Regiment was joined up with the 8th and 12th Pennsylvania Regiment's to comprise the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corp. Owing to the increasing and dangerous sanitary conditions the Regiment was moved in July to a new canmp site near Dunn Foring Station. On August 31st the 2nd Corps was ordered to Camp George G. Meade, Middletown, PA. In September, the 12th Pennsylvania Infantry was ordered detached from the 3rd Brigade and be mustered out. The 15th Minnesota took its place. The nights were growing too cold for comfort and health, and on November 14th, the Regiment traveled to Camp Mckenize near Augusta, Georgia. The 2nd Corp had been held in service to be sent to Cuba as an army of occupation. But the Cuban's proved easily pacified and additional troops were not needed there. And consequently the 2nd Army Corp with the exception of a squadron of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry was ordered to prepare for muster out. On March Ilth, 1899, the paymaster paid each officer and man. So ended the 13th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. They arrived home March 13,1899.

The vacancy in the National Guard caused by the call into Federal Service of the 13th was temporarally filled by the organizing of a Provisional Regiment under the command of Colonel L.A. Watres, which was named the 11th Provisional Regiment. The Regiment consisted of three (3) Battalions of four companies each. One Battalion having it's headquarters in Scranton in the armory of the old 13th Regiment, on return of the 13th in 1899. The Provisional Regiment was disbanded and most of the men joined the reorganized 13th Reginment, which was now formed under the three (3) Battalion system of twelve companies on August 25,1899. In June 1916, the National Guard of various states were mobilized and ordered to proceed to various points on the Mexican Border. The 13th Reginent was an exception, it was not mobilized at this time. The Regiment prepared for its usual summer encampment scheduled for July 1916. At Mt Gretna a conference was held at 3rd Brigade Headquarters conducted by Colonel Ezra H. Ripple Jr and Colonel Asher Miner. It was determined that the 9th and 13th Regiments could be transferred into artillery units and fill the encamped portions of the Pennsylvania Division then camped at El Paso, Texas. Soon the transferring of the 13th to the artillery branch of service was changed. The 2nd Pennsylvania Infantry in camp at El PASO was to take its place. The 13th instead was to remain as Infantry. On the August 14, the Regiment pulled our of the Lackawanna Station for Mt.Gretna. The 13th stayed at Mt. Gretna for a little better than seven weeks. The location of the Regiment while on the Mexican border was a part of the 7th (Pennsylvania) Division at Camp Stewart near El Paso,Texas. On March 21,1917, the border duty for the 13th terminated. On the arrival of the 13th Regiment back in Scranton, an event never to be forgotten. The tanned and travel tired soldiers made a great impression on the large crowd that were there to welcome them home. The Regiment remained in Scranton. A few days later the Regiment received orders from the Eastern Department of the Army directing the Regimental Commander to safeguard all the transportation lines operating in northeastern Pennsylvania. The area to be covered by the Regiment bounded the state lines on the north and east. By the north and south line running east of the town of Lock Haven on the west, and by the east and west line running south of the town of Liverpool on the south. The assignment meant guard duty against unknown foes, as the extent of the activities of German sympathizers and agents were unknown. In order to cover this assigned territory properly, provisional battalions were organized. Provisional Battalions, companies A,B,D and I with headquarters in Sunbury, with Lt Colonel E.H.F.Conrad, commanding. Other Provisional battalions were established with companies E,L,M and a machine gun company also Battery E, of the 3rd Pennsylvania Field Artillery with headquarters in Scranton. Mayor Robert M.Vail, commanded Provisional Battalion Companies F,G,H and K, with headquarters in Allentown. Major Ralph A. Gregory, commanded the Provisional Battalion in reserve. Major C.J. Kelly, commanded the headquarters and supply companies along with company C. The Regimental Headquarters with their headquarters in Scranton, commanded by Colonel Ezra H. Ripple Jr was the inspecting officer of the Eastern Department which highly commended the Regiment for its accomplishments of their designated duties.
The Regiment maintained its Scranton headquarters first at the Regintental Armory from April until June, and then at Laurel Hill Park in Dunmore,PA. There they remained until September 10th. They then traveled to Augusta,Georgia for war training, which was a place designated for the 28th Division training. The streets were lined with thousands as the Regiment marched in the rain from Dunmore,PA to the station to board the train. The Scranton cheering of the people helped soften the heavy hearted feeling of leaving. The Regiment departed for Camp Hancock,NY, were they found that they were to camp within a half mile from the same place where they camped in the days of the Spainish American War. The future of the 13th as an organization was very uncertain. And in a very short time an order was issued for the reorganization of the 28th Infantry Division. The 13th merged with the 1st Regiment from Philadelphia. Together, the two famous organizations became the 109th United States Infantry. The men of the 13th were being tranferred to many different units. But the large majority of the men were placed in the 109th Infantry and the 108th Machine Gun Battalion. Both of these units were part of the 28th Infantry Division. This was the begining of the end for the 13th Regiment. The 13th Regiment may have ceased being a active National Guard organization but it's traditions continued on through the newly formed 109th Infantry Regiment.


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