Tag Archives: Philippine Insurrection

California Cossacks in the PI

“Cossack Outpost” Circa 1899:

“Shows Filipino breastwork constructed of bamboo and bundles of reeds piled up. Thatched roof building in the background, a wall lined with soldiers armed with rifles, one carries binoculars.

“California created the First Battalion of California Heavy Artillery, United States Volunteers in answer to the President’s call for troops. Consisted of four batteries, A through D, batteries A and D were assigned to Philippine Islands Expeditionary Forces, remaining batteries served in the U.S.”

Photo drawn from the album documents experiences of Frank Freeman Atkinson, Sergeant in Battery D., Plates in: Spanish American War and Philippine insurrection: photographic album of California Heavy Artillery, with scenes in camp and views of the Philippines, v. 2, pg. 3, no. 81.

The Buffalos

Organized on 11 January 1812, wiped out at the Raisin River Massacre, and reconstituted in 1861 to join the Army of the Potomac, the 17th Infantry Regiment was in the forefront of the Civil War, proving key at Fredericksburg. Post-bellum, they remained on the Army’s rolls and, after the Indian campaigns, fought in the Spanish-American War, during which nine men of its C and D companies earned the Medal of Honor at El Caney, Cuba in 1898.

In between WWI/WWII (Presidential Unit Citation for Leyte), Vietnam, and Korean service, the 17th chased Villa in Mexico and was involved in the Philippine Insurrection, fighting at Malolos, San Isidro, Tarlac, and Mindanao between 1899-1900.

The regulars of the 17th Infantry head for action in the Philippine Islands, 1899-1900. Note the Krag rifles and Mills belts (National Archives Identifier 533179)

The regiment’s 4th Battalion is currently part of the 1st Armored Division, where they serve as a mechanized infantry unit. Their nickname is “The Buffalos” after Lt.Gen. William Wilson “Buffalo Bill” Quinn, who commanded the regiment at Inchon and remained their Honorary Colonel for over 40 years after. Their regimental association is here.