1900 -

Essex Troop – 1900     The Essex Troop Organized      

June 19, 1902 – Under the command of Lieutenant William A. Bryant, the Troop was mustered for state active duty. First Sergeant Bertram R. Roome was the Troop’s senior enlisted soldier at the time. The textile strikes in Paterson, NJ had become violent and the Governor called upon the First Infantry and the Troop to assist local officials. The call went out later Wednesday, June 18, 1902, and by 5:00 am the 19th the Troop was ready. All members had reported for duty, accept for those members out of town or sick. The Troop left Newark at 5:00 am and arrived in Paterson at 8:00 am. Camp was established near the Fifth Regiment Armory. The Troop remained on state active duty until June 28, 1902. Because of the tension in the city, the Troopers remained indoors during daylight hours and patrol the city streets at night. The patrols at night required the Troopers to enter the local saloons looking for soldiers violating the standing orders. The night patrols encountered no violators of the standing orders. The Troopers held a feeling that they should have covered the back door as well as the front door of the saloon.

Essex Troop Officers 1903
Captain William A. Bryant, First Lieutenant Cortlandt Parker Jr.
and Second Lieutenant Bertum R. Roome

August 18, 1906 – The Troop; fifty-seven officers and men, reported to Mt. Gretna, PA to participate in Regular Army (RA) maneuvers. The Troop was attached to the 15th U.S. Cavalry for the duration of the exercise. On August 19th, the Troop participated in forming a cavalry screen with the 15th Cavalry and squadron from the 13th U.S. Cavalry. This exercise was very tough on men and horses not accustom to the hardships of the field. By days end, one horse died and many others were near death. The Troopers faired a little better than their mounts, but were feeling the aches and pains from the forty-mile march.  The remainder of the week was devoted to instructions of patrolling, platoon drills and combat maneuvers. The Troop returned to Newark at weeks end with a better appreciation for their regular cavalry trooper counterparts and a better-trained organization.

October 30, 1907 – Last drill in the old armory; the same day the building was razed to make room for the new facility. Construction would take a little more than three years to complete. Temporary arrangements were made at the Orange Riding and Driving Club, on Halstead Street in East Orange. The club’s quarters were much smaller than the armory. Drills were held on Wednesday and Fridays nights, with the First and Second Platoons drilling respectfully.

June 26, 1908 – Cavalry maneuvers at Pine Camp (Fort Drum), NY. The Troop was attached to the 11th U.S. Cavalry and worked along with the 15th U.S. Cavalry during the one-week training exercise. Once again, both organizations gained a better appreciation for each other.

October 14, 1908 - The saddle room in the new armory was completed and the following week the Troop conducted its first drill the new riding ring. Soon after the Troop the dedication of the Armory, they received new mounts from Virginia. These new horses proved a much needed improvement over the hired old horses the Troopers had to rent for each drill.  The grill room was completed and opened before the end of the year. As in any armory the grill room was always an asset for the Troopers after a long hard day of work.

March 4, 1909 – The Troop rode Honor Guard at President Taft’s inauguration parade. They arrived in Washington on March 3, 1909 during a heavy rainstorm that would turn to snow during the night. The storm delayed many organizations from appearing on time for the parade. Seventy-five officers and men rode in the parade on the snow-covered streets of Washington. The Essex Troop would escort President Taft two more times in 1910 and 1912.

August 13, 1909 – The Troop participated in the Massachusetts Maneuvers as part of the invading Red Army, under the command Major General Tasker H. Bliss. The Troop sailed from New York Harbor to New Bedford, Massachusetts on three ships. The rolls of the Troop indicated 70 officers and men, and an equal number of mounts. The Quartermaster’s Corps arranged for the S.S. Pilgrim, S.S. City of Brockton and the S.S. Puritan to transport the Troop. The cavalry of the Red Army was organized around one squadron from the 10th U.S. Cavalry. Attachments consisted of a provisional troop from Squadron A NYNG; Troop A, Connecticut National Guard and the Essex Troop. The daily schedule called for a new encampment each night, reveille at 3:00 am, break camp at 5:00 am, maneuvers, mock fighting until 1:00 p.m., and then finding a suitable campsite before 6:00 p.m. The maneuvers stretched from New Bedford, Mass. through the Townships of Rochester, South Middleboro, Plymton, Pembroke, Hanover Four Corners and finishing at Braintree, Mass.  At 1:00 p.m. Thursday, the maneuvers ended with the Red Army in the superior position to capture Boston. Again the Troop returned home a better-trained outfit and perhaps a little leaner around the waste line. Only two meals a day were served, breakfast and diner.

Historical Note: During the early 1900’s, the official name of the Troop was the First Troop, NJ Cavalry. This designation would remain until the reorganization of 1913 when the First Squadron of Cavalry was formed with three troops of cavalry; Troop A and C in Newark, NJ and Troop B in Red Bank, NJ.

Updated 22 November 2009