|Above: Based on research outlined below I believe that this unnamed officer is 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Lisle Tate (West Point Class of 1880) of M Troop 1st United States, Cavalry.
While the photograph is unnamed evidence presented below in my opinion in all likelihood confirms the above indentification.
The People's Art Gallery, Charles Derby, Proprietor - Photographer
No. 34 Third Street, San Francisco, California, United States
The term "shavetail" is an age old term in the United State Army denoting and inexperienced 2nd lieutenant - quite often one just out of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. This
young officer of the 1st United States Cavalry wears the 1872 pattern dress uniform. His shoulder boards bear the regimental number "1" but no rank insignia as was specified for 2nd
lieutenants in army regulations. His 1872 pattern helmet with its 1872 pattern eagle plate rest on the photographer's plinth next to him. The plate also bears the regimental number at
the center of the shield. He is armed with a Model 1860 Light Cavalry saber.
This photograph was probably taken c. 1882 - Charles Derby was the proprietor of the People's Art Gallery photographic studio at that time. The 1st Cavalry had just been in action
against the Bannocks and Paiutes during the so-called Bannock War in Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada in 1878. Like most U.S. Cavalry regiments station on the frontier at the
time the regiment's indivdual companies were spread out over several northwestern several territories and states - California, Oregon, Washington Territory, Idaho Territory and
In October 1881 Companies C, G, I and M were detached for service against the Apaches in Arizona Territory and in 1882 returned to their previous station. In on 20 January, 1882
Troop M (the army having redesignated cavalry companies as troops on October, 1881) was assigned to the Presidio at San Francisco which leads me to believe that this lieutenant was
in all likelihood an member of M Troop. Based on a March 1882 post return for the Presidio this officer is probably 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Lisle Tate who was in command of M Troop
at the time the return was compiled. No other 2nd lieutenants with the 1st Cavalry were present at the Presidio at the time.
Daniel Lisle Tate was born on March 24, 1856 at Cambellsville, Kentucky in Kentucky one of at least six children of Dorothy Lisle and Robert Stuart Tate.
He was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 14, 1876. He graduated on June 12, 1880. Commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry he briefly served
as an assistant instructor of tactics at West Point before being posted with the Company M, 2nd U.S. Cavalry at Fort Walla Wall, Washington Territory on Dec. 4, 1880.
In 1881 Companies C, G, I and M were deployed against the Apaches in Arizona Territory where Tate and Company M performed scouting duties but had no direct action with the
Apaches. In October the companies returned to various posts in the North West with Troop M going to the Presidio of San Francisco on 20 January 1882. About this time the United
State Cavalry stipulated that all “companies” would be henceforth called “troops”.
|Above: The same officer of the 1st U.S. Cavalry in a standing pose. This image was taken during the same photographic session as the seated image at the top of the page. In this
image the young lieutenant chose to wears his plumed 1872 pattern helmet.
|From April 23 to May 30, 1882 Tate again returned to the Arizona frontier on detached duty before returning to San Francisco. Tate then deployed with the 1st Cavalry to Fort Custer,
Montana Territory and Camp Sheridan, Colorado often serving in the field beginning in 1884 and would continue doing so until Dec. 17, 1888 when he was appointed Assistant
Instructor of Infantry Tactics at West Point in 1893.
Even if indeed the young 2nd lieutenant had been referred to as “shavetail” or other such doggerel it would have in all likelihood been soon dispelled given Tate’s continued active
field duty at various frontier posts. This same service would entitle Tate to the Indian Wars Campaign Medal but he would have to wait some time before getting it since the army did
not approve the medal until 1907.
Tate was promoted 1st Lieutenant on January 31, 1891 and a posted with the 3rd Cavalry then assigned to the Department of the Platte. The 3rd along with Tate was assigned to the
Department of the East in 1894 and would remain so until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The 3rd Cavalry took part in the famous charge up San Juan Hill alongside Teddy Roosevelt’s famed 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry (the Rough Riders) and the much storied all
black 10th United States Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers). Tate seems to have missed the fun and games in Cuba since a return for Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont dated September 1898 shows
him in command M Troop which was one regiment’s troops left at the regiment’s depot in Tampa, Florida to care for the regimental mounts which were not taken on campaign.
He was promoted Captain on March 3, 1899. Although Tate does not seem to have seen any action in the field during the Spanish-American War the fact that we was on active duty
would have entitled him to the Spanish Campaign Army Service Medal. Once again Tate would have to wait some time before getting his medal since congress did not approve the
medal until July 9, 1918.
From October 1899 to April, 1902 Tate was assigned to patrol Yosemite National Park in California with Troop M. He remained with the 12 during the regiment overseas deployment
for garrison duties in Philippines, from January 1906 to February 1908. He was promoted Major on February 21, 1906. After his return to the U.S. Take request a leave of absence
from the army and took up the position of Professor of Military Science and Tactics at University of Vermont, which he held until late 1911.
He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel on March 4, 1913 and attended the Army War College from August 15, 1913, to May 17, 1914. Assigned to the 5th Cavalry at Fort Sheridan,
Illinois on June 2, 1914 he would take part in the Punitive Expedition in Mexico of 1916-1917.
The border town of Columbus, New Mexico was raided by irregular forces under Mexican guerrilla leader Francisco “Pancho” Villa on March 9, 1916. In response to this and other
provocative incidents. And expedition under General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing was organized to pursue Villa into Mexico. Tate and the 5th would take part in the chase. The
expedition was only marginally successful but did see the first use of automobiles and aircraft in the field by U.S. forces. He was promoted Colonel while in the filed on July 1, 1916. For
taking part in the expedition Colonel Tate was entitled to the Mexican Service Medal.
Tate was the assigned as Inspector-instructor of National Guard Cavalry, at San Antonio, Texas from March 31 to November, 1917. His final posting was with the 12 Cavalry at
Corozal, Panama Canal Zone, from November 28, 1917, to March 24, 1920. He was mandatorily retired on March 24, 1920.
Being a member of a cavalry regiment of the U.S. Army – none which saw service in Europe during World War One – Tate was none the less entitled to the U.S. World War One
Victory Medal for being on active duty during the war.
Daniel Tate married Eliza 'Lida' Scranton in 1887 and the couple had one son, Joseph Scranton (1894–1963) who would also graduate from West Point. After his retirement from the
army Tate and his wife resided in New York State and he passed away there on January 3, 1931. Both he and his wife Lida are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
|Above: Colonel Daniel Lisle Tate while serving with the 12th Cavalry c. 1916.
Photo: Library of Congress.
|Above: Colonel Daniel Lisle Tate from his 1920 passport application.
Photo: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA);