Texas Military Forces Historical Sketch
Reduction To A Brigade
Adjutant General J. O. Newton, in 1908, reported that the company officers were discouraged because of heavy local expenses, armory rents, lights, maintenance, etc., and no company funds. These officers personally had to bear the expenses. But General Newton also reported that increased interest in the Guard was brought about through successful and pleasant camp of instruction at Camp Mabry, July, 1907; instructive joint Army-Militia encampment, Leon Springs, July, 1908; general interest in rifle practice, and an appropriation made by the 30th legislature of $5,000 each year for armory rental, equipment, maintenance, etc. With the number of units then organized, this appropriation justified allotments as follows: infantry companies, $8 per month; cavalry troops, $12, and battery of artillery, $16.
Eleven companies were mustered out and 12 mustered in during this two-year period, and the Guard consisted of 39 companies of infantry, two bands, four troops of cavalry, one battery of artillery, one company of signal corps, one hospital corps, one company of engineers and three companies of infantry in the process of organization. This made a total of 246 officers and 2,351 enlisted men.
It became evident, though, during 1907 that in order to conform to the organization of the regular army by January 21, 1908, as required by the Dick Bill, it would be necessary to reduce the organization of the Texas National Guard from a division to a brigade, both because of vacancies of companies in regiments and limited finances. The War Department ruled during 1907 that each regiment, after January 21, 1908, should have 12 companies, each having a minimum enlisted strength of 58 and a band of 28 enlisted men. The term "minimum enlisted strength" referred to the organization, and not to the men actually borne on the rolls. "This means," stated the Adjutant General "that we are expected to have the equipment necessary to equip whatever organization we claim to maintain, whether we have the men or not."
Increased interest was shown in rifle practice during this period and the companies were attempting to establish their own rifle ranges at their respective home stations. The Adjutant General recommended that this interest in rifle practice be encouraged by an allowance of $2,000 and two target frames, etc., to be provided each company, provided suitable places, convenient for practice, could be found near them. Eight companies had either constructed a range or were arranging to put one under construction by the end of 1908. By 1910, rifle ranges had been provided for 20 organizations and seven more locations arranged.
The rifle teams in the National Matches showed improvement, winning 17th place in 1909 and 14th place in 1910. The 1909 team scored 3,550 out of a possible 4,200, winning the famous trophy, "The Soldier of Marathon," a prize of $300 cash and a bronze medal for each member of the team. Individual members of the 1910 team also won several prizes.
The next few years were taken up with routine matters in the Guard, and the Adjutant General reported that the militia was becoming more and more federally involved. By the end of 1914, the Guard was organized as a reinforced brigade and consisted of two regiments of infantry, one squadron of cavalry, one battery of field artillery, and one field hospital. The personnel included 207 officers and 3,185 men.
With the $12,000 which had been paid by the Citizen's Encampment Committee supplemented by a legislative appropriation of $3,412, title was taken in the name of the State for the 55-acre tract immediately east of the railroad track and adjoining the former boundary of Camp Mabry, which then comprised a total of 425 acres, 200 acres the property of the Federal Government and the balance the property of the State Government. Camp Mabry was officially designated as the mobilization point of the Texas National Guard and complete plans for cantonment were on file in the Adjutant General's department.
Such was the status of the Texas National Guard in the period preceding the call to arms for service on the Mexican Border.