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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1891

Vol. IV

(Born Pa.)

William T. Johnston

(Ap'd Mo.)


Born Alexandria, PA.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the U. S. M. A., from June 16, 1887 to June 12, 1891, when he was graduated and promoted in the army to

(Second Lieut. of Cavalry, 10th Cavalry, June 12, 1891)

Served: Garrison duty at Fort Grant, Ariz., Sept. 30, 1891 to April 25, 1892; at Fort Custer, Mont. (in the field suppressing labor strikes, July 7 to Aug. 29, 1894), to Sept. 14, 1894; with rifle team at Fort Sheridan, Ill., to Oct. 29, 1894; on leave to Feb. 20, 1895; garrison duty at Fort Assinniboine, Mont., to Sept. 30, 1895; at Fort Custer, Mont., to Sept. 21, 1896; at Fort Assinniboine, Mont., to Nov. 25, 1896; under instruction at the Torpedo School, Willets Point, N. Y., Dec. 5, 1896 to Oct. 1, 1897; on leave to Jan. 1, 1898; garrison duty at Fort Assinniboine, Mont., to April 19, 1898; with regiment at Camp Thomas, Ga., to May 4, 1898;

(First Lieut. of Cavalry, 3d Cavalry, May 27, 1898)

on recruiting service at Louisville, Ky., to July 5, 1899; with regiment en route to and in the Philippines to ––––

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Military History. — Served: Detached from regiment, Camp Thomas, Ga., May 4, 1898; sent to Kentucky to recruit regiment to the authorized strength; retained to recruit for general service after regiment was filled, with headquarters at Louisville and Lexington; recruited through Kentucky, parts of Tennessee and Indiana, personally enlisting up to July 5, 1899, about 2300 recruits; joined 3d Cavalry, en route to the Philippine Islands, St. Paul, Minn., July 7, 1899; commanded chartered horse Transport Victoria, with 80 enlisted men and 420 horses of the 3d Cavalry, en route to the Philippine Islands, via Behring Sea and Japan; sailed Sept. 1; landed at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska; remained five days; reloaded horses and sailed west through the Behring Sea to Attu Pass, the western limit of the Aleutian Islands; landed at Kobe, Japan, Sept. 26; sailed Oct. 3, arriving at Manila, Oct. 9, 1899; commanded Troop M, 3d Cavalry, in the field, Oct. 20, 1899 to March, 1901; took part in the Northern Expedition, General Lawton, commanding, from San Fernando, Pampanga to San Fernando La Union; after a sharp fight, on Nov. 9, captured a bull train, en route from Tarlac with War Department records, supplies, etc., killing one officer and three insurgents, and rescued two American Prisoners; on Nov. 13, located and drove off insurgent guard over $75,000 silver money in mountains near San  p465 Nicolas; with the assistance of Troop F, which came up after the fight was over, the money was safely convoyed into Tayug; four or five hundred thousand pounds of rice and other general supplies were captured in San Nicolas, on Nov. 9; in indorsement of Nov. 17, 1899, by General Lawton, on a letter to General Otis, recommended for brevet, for distinguished gallantry in action; mentioned by General Young, in communication, dated Nov. 14, 1899, for heroic work accomplished in securing the wagon train, money, etc.; with fifty men, drove insurgents out of Benguet Province, captured Trinidad, the capital, and pursued retreating insurgents thirty-five miles to the east across the Agno River, Dec. 15, 1899 to June 10, 1901; commanded troop in action near Alilem, Union Province, Feb., 1900; relieved from troop about Feb., 1901, and assigned to special duty in the field, covering all towns from Vigan to Tagudin. See report of War Department, 1901, Volume 1, page 41, special mention by General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bell, commanding District: "In this connection Lieutenant Johnston has done remarkable service and is deserving of much credit." Joined Troop G, 15th Cavalry, in June, 1901, at Zamboanga, Mindanao; at Zamboanga and Davao, Mindanao, to Dec. 1, 1901; on the request of General Bell, was ordered by the Division Commander to report to him at the commencement of the Concentration Campaign in Southern Luzon; reported Jan., 1902; Brigade Provost Judge and special work breaking up insurgent organization in the field throughout the Provinces of Batangas and Tayabas until the close of the campaign, about June, 1902; received the surrender of the insurgent columns of Santo Tomas and also that of Tanauan, Batangas, about 150 guns in each command, with officers and enlisted men during this campaign; likewise received the surrender of numerous insurgent forces at Lipa, Batangas and Tiaong, Tayabas. This work is mentioned in report of the War Department, 1902, volume 9, page 275. "Though all these staff officers performed their respective duties in an able manner entirely satisfactory to me, their opportunities varied, and I deem it no invidious distinction to state my conviction that without the exceptionally valuable assistance of Captains Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Boughton, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Davis and Johnston, I could not possibly have accomplished the pacification of this brigade in so short a space of time. These three officers have had ample experience and were masters of their special lines of work. They labored (as did others) night and day, and their zeal, industry, energy, sound judgment, ability and initiative could not have been surpassed. It is with a feeling of profound satisfaction and appreciation that I hereby acknowledge my obligations to them and to my other staff officers." Arrived at New York, via Suez, Dec., 1902; on leave Dec. 1, 1902 to March 15, 1903; Acting Department Inspector and Assistant to the Inspector-General, Department of California, from March, 1903, until the middle of Feb., 1904, at which date joined Troop G, 15th Cavalry, Fort Myer, Va.; at Fort Myer, to Dec. 1, 1904; at Fort Ethan Allen, Vt., from Dec. 1, 1904 to the middle of July, 1905, during which time commanded troop and garrison duty, in the middle of July, 1905 to March 6, 1906; at Headquarters, Department of the East at Governor's Island, New York, as Assistant to the Adjutant-General and Inspector of Small Arms Practice, and in charge of Department Athletics, etc., from March 6, 1906 to March 1, 1909; Aide-de‑camp to Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.F. D. Grant, and Inspector of Small Arms Practice, and in charge of Department Athletics at Governor's Island, New York; as Aide-de‑camp to Major-General Grant, and Inspector of Small Arms Practice at Headquarters, Department of the Lakes, at Chicago, Ill., March 1, 1909 to –––––.

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

(William Thomas Johnston, Born July 26, 1865)

Military History. —

Captain, 15th Cavalry, Feb. 2, 1901

At Chicago, Ill., Aide-de‑Camp to Major-General Grant and Inspector of Small Arms Practice, Department of the Lakes, March 1 to October, 1909; at Fort Leavenworth, Kans., Oct. 4, 1909, to

(Major, 15th Cavalry, Sept. 4, 1914)

October, 1914; (commanded Troop and 2nd Squadron during a considerable part of this time, and commanded Post, January to October, 1914); at El Paso, Texas, and on Mexican border, October, 1914, to

(Transferred to 8th Cavalry, Aug. 15, 1915)

August, 1915; at Washington, D. C., at Army War College, August, 1915, to May, 1916, when he was graduated; at Fort Bliss, Texas, May 20 to July 20, 1916; appointed Adjutant-General and at Washington, D. C., in office of The Adjutant General, July 25, 1916, to

(Lieut.‑Colonel of Cavalry, March 24, 1917)

(Colonel, Temporary, of Cavalry, Aug. 5, 1917)

July 25, 1918; (organized Reserve Division, Adjutant-General's Department, and was in charge of same during the War; had charge of  p583 organization of and exercised War Department control over 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Training Camps for Officers, and the organization of the Central Training Camps for Officers which followed the above; he therefore had charge of the organization, admission, administration and commissioning of all line officers trained in Training Camps, who took part in the War abroad); at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Department Adjutant, Southern Department, July 29 to Nov. 7, 1918, and Chief of Staff, Southern Department, Nov. 7, 1918, to ––––


Distinguished Service Medal

"For conspicuous and meritorious service in a position of great responsibility. He organized and administered the officers' training camps from the outbreak of the war until July 25, 1918, and thereafter rendered conspicuous service as Chief of Staff, Southern Department."

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

Military History:b —

Distinguished Service Medal.

Awarded Silver Star and cited "for gallantry in action during the expedition to the Provinces north of Manila, P. I., during the months of Sept., Oct., and to Nov. 17, 1899."

Died, June 7, 1929, at Fort Brown, Tex.: Aged 64.

Portrait and obituary in Annual Report, Association of Graduates, for 1929.

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Thayer's Notes:

a Gen. Johnston's birthplace is from his AOG obituary.

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b In Vol. VII, Col. Johnston's military history is, in its entirety, as I've transcribed it here; it is the Register itself that fails to detail his career after 1919, and the omission is not repaired in subsequent volumes of the Supplement. An idea of it can be got from his AOG obituary, q.v.

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