The Ninth United States Infantry Regiment is one of the oldest active units in the army. The original authority permitting organization was an act of 16 July 1798 when the creation of twelve new regiments was authorized by congress. Tension had arisen between the United States and France and the creation of these additional units was deemed essential to the safety and preservation of the union.
The regiment itself came into physical existence in January 1799, in Maryland, and was composed primarily of Maryland volunteers. The Regiment's first commander is recorded as having been Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Carville Hall. In early June 1800, the Ninth Infantry was disbanded.
The Fighting Ninth was called upon to engage in the War of 1812 and was organized for the second time in March 1812, under the command of Colonel Simon Learned. The main body of the Regiment was composed of New England volunteers. In December of that year it joined the Army of the North at Burlington, Vermont and participated in engagements at York, Fort George, Sacketts Harbor, Chrystler's Field, Fort Erie and the Chippewa River. Upon termination of the hostilities, all units of the army with the numerical designation of nine and above were disbanded.
The Ninth Infantry was disbanded on 13 March 1815.
By April 1847 the Mexican War had stretched existing forces to the breaking point. At that time, 32 years after it had disbanded, the Ninth Infantry began its third organization. Volunteers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts formed the nucleus of the unit. Upon arrival in Mexico, having been immediately dispatched to the center of the conflict, the Ninth was active in the battles of Padiema, Churubusco, the Valley of Mexico and the bloody battle of Chapultepec. During the battle of Chapultepec, the Regimental Commander, Colonel Truman Ransom, was killed while leading an assault upon the Citadel. During the short time remaining before the end of the war, the Regiment marched to the outskirts of Mexico City. The Ninth Infantry was disbanded for the last time in 1848.
The Ninth Infantry Regiment was officially constituted in the Regular Army on 03 March 1855. On 26 March 1855 its headquarters was established at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Immediately after this, its fourth organization, the unit was transferred to the western frontier on 15 December 1855 and began to revive the glory known to units that had previously borne that designation. The vastness of the western territory required the regiment to be decentralized. As a result, various elements of the Ninth Infantry were stationed at Fort Vancouver, Fort Steilacoom and Fort Walla Walla, all in the Washington Territory. The unit was subsequently awarded battle honors for Washington 1856 and Washington 1858.
In April 1861, the Civil War broke out and elements of the Infantry were returned from the western frontier. Its integrated elements were established as a portion of the 18'h U.S. Infantry Regiment. The actual history of the Ninth Infantry during the Civil War is hazy and the specific accomplishments are not as definite as other portions of the unit's past. Nevertheless, their effectiveness may be visualized by referring to battle honors awarded for Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Atlanta.
After the Confederate forces surrendered on 09 April 1865 and the Civil War ended, the 9th
Infantry was again posted to the western frontier. Intermittent service was rendered on various portions of the frontier to include Nevada, Nebraska, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, the Dakotas and Oregon. No less than 400 skirmishes were fought with numerous Indian tribes led by great war chiefs such as Geronimo, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. During one of these skirmishes, a small 30 man element of the Fighting Ninth was suddenly attacked by approximately 2,000 Sioux warriors near Fort Phil Kearney, Nebraska on 02 August 1867. This small band of soldiers was led by Major James Powell. Choosing to stand and fight, these soldiers hastily erected a barricade of wagon boxes, and during the entire morning stood off charge after charge. The Sioux finally withdrew, leaving behind several hundred killed and wounded. The defending forces suffered only three casualties. This action was recorded in history as the famous "Wagon Box Fight."
Elements of the Ninth also participated in the infamous Little Big Horn Campaign.
Attached to the southern force under the command of General Crook, the Ninth participated in the engagement at Rose Bud Creek, and never arrived to support General Custer during his ill fated assault on the Indian village at the Little Big Horn. Elements of the ninth also participated in the famous "Starvation March" which General Crook led in pursuit of the Indian tribes which had massacred Custer and elements of the 7th Cavalry. As a result of those actions, battle honors were awarded for Wyoming and the Little Big Horn campaigns.
On 26 September 1867, Company F, Ninth Infantry Regiment was dispatched from San Francisco to Sitka, Alaska to assist in operating the newly acquired Alaska Territory. Company F arrived in Sitka on IO October 1867 and participated in the ceremony in which the sovereignty of the Alaska territory was passed from Russia to the United States. Company F remained in Alaska for approximately two years before being relieved.
In 1892, after years of activity on the western frontier, garrison duties at Madison Barracks, New York were finally awarded the battle hardened men. This respite from combat was relatively short lived though, and on 16 April 1898 the Fighting Ninth was ordered to duty in Cuba. The Ninth Infantry landed in Siboney, Cuba on 24 June 1898. During the ensuing campaign, the Ninth again distinguished itself. The Regiment earned a battle streamer for its participation in the Battle of Santiago on 01 July 1898. It was during this battle that the Regiment crossed the San Juan River at the "Bloody Angle" and participated in the assault and seizure of San Juan Hill. On 14 August 1898, after the Cuban fighting had ended, the 9th
Infantry returned to the United States and resumed garrison duties at Madison Barracks, New York.
Six months later, on 28 February 1899, the Regiment was dispatched to the Philippine Islands to help quell the Philippine Insurrection. Immediately upon arrival in Manila, the Regiment moved on line. It was detailed responsibility for the elimination of insurgents on Luzon Island. After many small, fierce engagements the area was declared clear when General Macabulos, the commander of Tarlac province surrendered on 15, June 1900.
In the meantime, foreign dignitaries and missionaries (including Americans) were being subjected to the terrors of a rebellion in China. The 9th Infantry was one of only two American units chosen to protect American interests in China. After landing at Taku Bar, the Regiment began the trek towards Tientsin under the direction of the Regimental commander, Colonel Emerson H. Liscum. The assault on Tientsin began on the morning of 13 July 1900, a day that is deeply engraved in the memory of the entire Regiment. At approximately 0900 hours on that day, the Regimental Color Sergeant, Sergeant Edward Gorman, who was standing beside Colonel Liscum, was severely wounded by the intense fire. Colonel Liscum had been struck in the shoulder but he gallantly seized the Colors from the fallen sergeant, stood fearlessly holding them erect and continued-to direct the assault on the city walls in the face of murderous fire. A few moments later, the Colonel fell mortally wounded and shortly after directing his men to "Keep Up The Fire Men," he died. The regiment remained pinned down by the fierce Boxer fire for the rest of the day, and at dusk was ordered to retreat by General Dorward, the British commander of the multi-national task force. The assault was resumed the next day and the Japanese Infantry broke through the city gate and the city fell.
The Regiment participated in another engagement at Yang-Tsun and then participated in the assault on Peking. The Fighting Ninth was the first unit to break into the forbidden city and, after the fall of Peking, a sentry of the Ninth remained on guard at the entrance to the forbidden city for almost one year until the Regiment was withdrawn in mid-1901. As a result of their exemplary performance during this campaign,, the Regiment was awarded the honorary title of "Manchus," earned its foremost trophy, the Liscum Bowl, and its motto, "Keep Up The Fire."
After withdrawal from China, the Regiment was returned to the Philippines, and upon arrival in Manila in June 1901, it was assigned to Samar, to quell a rebellion. The rebel commander was Vicente Lukban (who replaced Emilio Aguinaldo who was in custody). Their duty on this island produced many encounters with the rebels. In one of these battles, seventy-four men of Company C, under the command of Captain Thomas Connell, were ambushed at the town of Balangiga. The Manchus fought fiercely and killed hundreds of natives, but of the 74 men in the company, all except four were either killed or wounded. Nevertheless, by May 1902, the island was cleared and the Regiment returned home.
Upon the entry of the United States into World War I in April 1917, the Regiment was again called to battle on foreign soil. It arrived in France in 1917 as part of the famous "Indianhead" Second Infantry Division. In early October 1917, the Manchus moved to the front. The Regiment first became involved in the then static warfare in the Sous Reuvrois Sector. When subsequently moved to Chateau-Thierry, it met and stalled the Boche Purge on Paris. Later during the involved campaign in the Meuse-Argonne Sector, and in one of the final campaigns of the war, the 9th Infantry successfully spearheaded one of the most reckless and daring moves in the history of modern warfare.
After capturing the edge of the Belval forest on the afternoon of 03 November 1918, the Regiment immediately prepared to continue the surge into the enemy lines. At 1630 hours, during an intense rainstorm and under cover of darkness, the forward movement was begun with columns on either side of the only passable road through the wooded terrain. The movement necessitated passage through the main line of enemy resistance, carried within 100 yards of artillery engaged in firing upon their recently abandoned positions. Without disturbing those units, the Regiment proceeded silently, intercepting and capturing enemy patrols and outposts, as well as defensive positions without firing a shot. At 2330 hours the movement was completed and a perimeter was established more than five miles to the rear of the defending Germans.
The German's attempt to make the Bevel Forest one of the fierce, slow defensive maneuvers was thwarted and their lines became utterly disorganized. This was one of three successful night moves or raids made by the Manchu Regiment within a period of days that aided considerably in dealing a death blow to the bewildered Germans.
After the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, Manchu troops marched into Germany to serve as an occupation force. Occupation was terminated and the Regiment returned to the United States in July and August 1919. This was the fourth such return of the "Manchu" Regiment since the turn of the century. The Regiment was awarded battle streamers for Aisne, Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine, Ile de France, St. Mihiel and Aisne-Mame campaigns. In 1918, the Manchus were awarded the French Fourragere for gallantry during the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
During twenty-six years of peace, the longest non-combat period in its history, the first battalion was stationed at Camp Bullis, Camp Stanley and Fort Sam Houston, Texas. It was rotated among those posts until the start of World War II.
In October 1942, extensive training and winter maneuvers were begun at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. A year later on 08 October 1943, the Regiment sailed for Ireland aboard the S.B. Anthony and arrived in Belfast, Ireland on 19 October 1943. Training became more intensive in preparation for the impending invasion of the European continent. On 07 June 1944 (D-Day +1) the Manchu Regiment set foot on the hostile soil of Omaha Beach, Normandy and immediately moved forward to capture Rubercy. Within three days they had intercepted the main rail line between Cherbourg and Paris and had driven through the Carisy Forest. After momentary reserve activity, the 9th was called forward again and captured the town of St. Germaine d' Elle. A short time later it was spearheading a three day drive south to enter Tinchebray. The 9th Infantry moved from Normandy to the Brittany peninsula on 19 August 1944. It was on this peninsula, during the Battle of Brest that some of the most courageous acts of the war are recorded. The city of Brest contained a key Fort located in a comer of the Brittany peninsula that governed a large inlet. The city was to be held at all costs. Constant pressure was maintained on the defenses by the Indianhead Division and other Allied units. On 04 September 1944, the outer defensive ring was broken, and the 9th was responsible for the capture of two of the strongholds in that defensive line.