3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment (First at Vicksburg) “Forty Rounds”
The 13th Regiment of Infantry was formed on July 16, 1798 in accordance with the first plan for expansion of the United States Army after the War for Independence. The 13th was mustered out in January, 1800, but was reconstituted in the first year of the War of 1812.
War of 1812: The 13th Regiment first went into action on the Canadian border at Lewiston, New York, which fell to the American forces on October 10, 1812. Three days later, Queenstown Heights was also taken by the newly-formed regiment. In commemoration of its service, the city of Buffalo raised a monument to the 13th at Fort Porter, New York. The next engagement in which a unit of the 13th is known to have taken part was at Black Rock, New York, where a company of the Regiment, after considerable losses, captured a British battery. A few days later, the 13th was teamed with Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Winfield Scott’s artillery. Attacking the British at Fort George, New York, the Americans forced them back to “Twelve-Mile Creek.” During the remainder of the war, the 13th was engaged almost constantly in skirmishes along the northern frontier. In May 1815, the 13th was consolidated with the 5th Infantry Regiment, and it saw no more active service until the Mexican War.
Civil War: Reconstituted on May 3, 1861, with General W.T. Sherman as its commander, and Philip Sheridan as one of its captains, the Regiment’s service from that day to this is continuous. On one occasion when Sherman, then a temporary Brigadier General, was asked his permanent rank, he proudly replied, “I am Colonel of the Thirteenth Regiment of United States Infantry.” It was under Sherman that the 13th saw its first action in the Civil War. Ulysses S. Grant, commanding the Union forces, decided that it was necessary to reduce the fortress at Vicksburg. The regiment, as part of Sherman’s command, participated in the Vicksburg Campaign. Beginning with the Battle of Haynes Bluff, on May 1, 1863, the 13th took part in a series of engagements in Mississippi which culminated in the assault on Stockade Redan at Vicksburg. On May 19, 1863, the colors of the 13th Infantry flew briefly atop the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. Seven men carried the colors that day, and all seven lost their lives. Though the price they paid was high, the officers and men of the 13th won for the Regiment the motto that it still retains. Their valor so impressed General Grant that he directed that the 13th Regiment of United States Infantry be permitted to carry on its colors, from that day forward, the legend, “First at Vicksburg.”
On November 23, 1863, the 13th took part in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, its last engagement in the War. Casualties had taken over 60 percent of its strength. Congress thanked the 13th Regiment three times: twice to General Sherman, and once to General Sheridan. General Sherman always retained his affection for the Regiment, and later, to show his esteem, he appointed it the Headquarters Guard.
Post-Civil War Years: In the years immediately following the Civil War, the Government reduced the Army in 1869 to four regiments of Infantry: the 12th, 13th, 20th, and 23rd. These were frequently broken up into one or two company units and sent to fight Indians or assist in the development of the West.
War of Spain: When war broke out with Spain, the 13th Regiment was assigned to the 1st Division, V Corps. The Regiment arrived in Santiago, Cuba, on June 20, 1898, and was engaged in battle at El Caney shortly thereafter. Despite heavy casualties, the regiment succeeded in driving the Spaniards from El Caney, and then joined the attack of San Juan Hill.
Philippines: In May 1899, the 13th Regiment was sent to the Philippines, where units of the Regiment were engaged in frequent minor forays against the insurgents in the environs of Manila. For their efforts, the regiment received the thanks of the Commanding General of the Islands.
World War I: In January 1918, the 13th Regiment became a part of the 8th Infantry Division, but did not participate in battle during World War I.
World War II: In 1939, the Regiment was ordered to the Panama Canal Zone and a year later, after having been disbanded, was reconstituted at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. The Regiment found itself fighting through the hedgerows of France in July 1944 as part of the 8th Infantry Division and led the drive to the Ay River. The Regiment spent a total of ten months in combat in Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe. It occupied a position on the Siegfried Line and was involved in the bloody battle for the Hurtgen Forest. The unit’s final mission was serving at the Wobbelin Concentration Camp, guarding German Prisoners of War. During the European Campaign, two soldiers, Private First Class Prussman and Private First Class Wetzel, received our country’s highest award, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Following World War II, the unit was inactivated at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on November 18, 1945. On August 17, 1949, the Regiment was activated once again at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where it remained until August 1, 1957. It was subsequently relieved from assignment to the 8th Infantry Division and reorganized and re-designated as Headquarters Company, 22nd Battle Group, 13th Infantry Regiment and assigned to the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, under the Combat Arms Regimental System.
Cold War and Post Cold War: On January 31, 1962, the Regiment was inactivated at Fort Carson, Colorado. On March 27, 1963, the Regiment was re-designated as the 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment and was relieved from assignment to the 9th Infantry Division and re-assigned to the 8th Infantry Division. Five days later, the Battalion was activated in Germany and remained there until August 1, 1984, when it was inactivated and relieved from assignment to the 8th Infantry Division.
**On February 27, 1987, the 13th Infantry Regiment was transferred to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and reorganized at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment was created from Task Force Lion. Currently, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 13th Infantry Regiment conduct Initial Entry Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
“Forty Rounds”-- This additional motto is a tribute to the Soldiers that fought in the Vicksburg Campaign. These Soldiers fought without a logistics link to the Mississippi River and Union depots. For well over two months, the 13th Infantry Regiment conducted operations against Confederate forces with only the basic issue of ammunition allotted each Soldier….ergo “Forty Rounds!!”