Monday, May 19, 2008

The Boise Barracks

From Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas:

“After their calculated rebuff to Gooding’s March 14 request for direct command of U.S. Troops in Idaho, the president and his war secretary had edged toward a limited―and very quiet―intervention in Idaho. In early April, they decided to assuage the governor’s anxiety by surreptitiously reinforcing the garrison at Boise Barracks, perched on a Hillside five blocks north of the capitol. As 1906 began, the barracks were manned by Troop L of the Fourteenth Calvary, at full strength sixty-five officers and men―though, with desertions and other vacancies, more like fifty. Now Roosevelt and Taft agreed in principle to triple that.”

“When nothing happened by April 18th, Roosevelt jotted Taft a note: 'What have you done about getting some more troops quietly into Boise―or even not quietly if necessary?' Two days later, Taft ordered Troops A and B of the Fourteenth Calvary on a practice march from Walla Walla, Washington, to Boise―some 350 miles across heavily wooded mountains and grassy plateaus. The troops―substantially understrength―reached Boise Barracks on May 4, adding seventy officers and men to the garrison.”

Later in Big Trouble:

“For more than a year, Frank Gooding had stewed about threats of a labor or Socialist insurrection during the upcoming trials. In early 1906, he’d persuaded Roosevelt and Taft to triple the cavalry force stationed at the Boise Barracks, bringing Troops A and B of the Fourteenth Calvary from Walla Walla to reinforce Troop L. When pressures built for returning the reinforcements to their home base, the governor and Calvin Cobb had convinced the White House to retain them in Idaho. Only in the late fall―with winter approaching and the troopers squeezed into 'inadequate quarters'―did the War Department finally withdraw Troops A and B, replacing them with Troop K from the Presidio at San Francisco. On the eve of the trial, some 106 enlisted men, five officers, 110 calvary horses, and four newly arrived 'machine guns' were posted at the barracks.”

Above excerpt and picture of Gooding and Cobb come from Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas. Pic of Boise barracks is a period post card in my collection.

I guess the stage was set, machine guns ready and the state fully prepared to deal with any trouble that might occur during the upcoming trial. John

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