|Letcher H. Hardeman was born on 30 April, 1864 at Mercer County, Missouri being one of ten children of Glen Owen
Hardeman and Permelia Atlanta Townsend.
The younger Hardeman was admitted to the United States military Academy at West Point on 1 July, 1881. One of his fellow
classmates - also - admitted on 1 July - was John J. Pershing. Hardeman passed graduation in 1886 and was assigned as 2nd
Lieutenant with the 4th United States Cavalry. During his tenure with the 4th, 2nd Lieutenant Hardeman was stationed at
various posts in the American south west. These included Forts Lowell and Bowie in Arizona Territory and Fort Wingate in
New Mexico. When the regiment moved north in the early 1890's Hardeman's posting included Fort Sherman in Idaho
Territory, Fort Walla Walla in Washington Territory. In the 3 May, 1935 edition of The Bee (Danville, Virginia) it is
mentioned that while stationed at Fort Walla Walla Hardeman’s troop was comprised entirely of Nez Perce Indians. Assigned
to "G" Troop of the 4th Cavalry Hardeman often filled what could be considered staff positions within the regiment. In a post
return for Fort Bowie dated March 1888 he was listed as "Post Treasurer" amongst his other company duties. At this time
the 4th Cavalry was directly involved with the final expedition against Geronimo and his defiant band of Apaches.
His next promotion came on 15 April, 1893 when we was assigned as 1st Lieutenant with the 10th United States Cavalry
which was one of two all black cavalry regiments in the regular U.S. Army at the time. Stationed at Fort Assinniboine,
Montana Territory Hardeman was now listed as a 1st Lieutenant commanding "J" Troop, 10th U.S. Cavalry. At the same
time he acted as Post Ordnance Officer. He was appointed Regimental Quartermaster on 10 September, 1895. With the
advent of the Spanish-American War in 1898 Hardeman was relieved of his quartermaster's appointment at his own request
in order to accept a major's commission with the 2nd Missouri Volunteer Infantry. The 2nd Missouri was raised at Jefferson
Barracks, Missouri beginning on 1 April, 1898. Hardeman like so many other officers in the regular army probably sought
this posting with the Volunteers simply because it offered a chance at promotion (although temporary) and command that
otherwise would not be open to them. This seemed to work quite well in fact since Hardeman went from 1st Lieutenant to
Colonel during less than one year’s time.
After a brief but as yet undetermined time Hardeman transferred to the 6th Missouri Volunteer Infantry Regiment which had
mustered into service at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, July 20th, 1898 . The 6th remained in the United States until after the
war had actually ended and in December 1898 it finally deployed to Cuba. Hardeman's regiment performed occupation duties
in Cuba until returning to the U.S. in April 1899. The regiment was mustered out on 10 May, 1899 at Savannah, Georgia.
Hardeman was apparently a strict task master and initially proved unpopular with his men but by the time the regiment
mustered out the rank and file had changed their opinion of him. In a 10 May,1899 article from the New York Times this
change of heart by his men was directly related to the discipline that he enforced which kept "... the regiment's sick list down
and its bill of fare up ...". This new outlook towards their commanding officer by the men was manifested and mentioned in
the same newspaper article to the effect that the enlisted men took up a collection - officers being specifically excluded - and
presented Hardeman with a "magnificent sword" which cost some $500.00 as a token of their appreciation.
Letcher Hardeman rejoined the 10th Cavalry after mustering out of the Volunteers. Is should be noted that had Hardeman
remained with the 10th Cavalry he would in all likelihood have taken part is the famous charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba.
Hardeman's former West Point classmate John J. Pershing who acquired his nick name of "Black Jack" for having been an
officer in the all black 10th during the war saw action at the charge. When Hardeman rejoined the 10th in Cuba he seeming
did so at the rank of Captain.
By 1901 he had transferred to the 11th Cavalry and serving as Regimental and Post Quartermaster at Fort Myers, Virginia.
He would serve at posts as far afield as Fort Apache in Arizona Territory to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii Territory and to the
Philippine Islands between April 1902 and March 1904. Joining the Quartermaster Generals Department in November 1905
he would assume command of the Fort Reno Remount Depot in April 1908.
Hardeman had retired at his own request in 1915 but in 1917 was recalled to active duty during World War One. Hardeman
was attached to the American Expeditionary Forces as Principal Assistant in the Supply Office of the Quartermaster General.
He was promoted to Chief of the Remount Service and for his excellent work in this field Hardeman was to be awarded the
Army Distinguished Service Medal on 9 July, 1918. The citation reads as follows:
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 38 (1922)
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the
Army Distinguished Service Medal to Colonel (Quartermaster Corps) Letcher Hardeman, United States Army, for
exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility
during World War I. From 30 May 1917 until 10 October 1918, as Principal Assistant in the Supply Office of the
Quartermaster General, Colonel Hardeman showed great executive ability, excellent judgment, and a rare understanding of
supply problems. On 10 October 1918, during the period of urgent demand for animals so necessary to our overseas forces, he
became Chief of the Remount Service, and by his knowledge, efficiency, and broad experience he was able to organize and
perfect the system for the purchase, collection, and shipment of large numbers of animals to supply these demands.
Immediately after the signing of the armistice, he again rendered conspicuous services by instituting the method by which
200,000 surplus animals were promptly and efficiently disposed of, resulting in the saving of an enormous sum to the
Promoted to full Colonel, Hardeman retired to Rapidan, Virginia in 1919 after over 36 years of service.
Letcher Hardeman married Miss Adelaide Russell of Springfield, Missouri in 1891. They had two daughters. He passed
away on 17 February, 1937 and was buried with full military honors at Emmanuel Cemetery in Orange County, Virginia.
|Above: Major Letcher Hardeman of the 6th United States Volunteer Infantry (Missouri) in Havana, Cuba just after the end of
the Spanish-American War. Hardeman wears a U.S. Army Sharpshooters badge next to his pocket and a star-shaped Seventh
Corps badge just above. His hat is a variation of the M1889 Campaign Hat. The hat like his service blouse were probably
privately purchased by Hardeman from a military outfitter.
Cabinet Photograph -trimmed
Waterman - Photographer
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Above: The photo's reverse showing details of
the image's origin in what is probably
Hardeman's own ink inscription as well as a
pencil notation of "Uncle Letcher Hardeman"
|Above: A conceptual reconstruction of Colonel Letcher Hardeman's medal
group as it would have appeared at the end of his military career. From far left
is the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Indian Wars Campaign Medal,
the Army of Cuban Occupation Medal, the Spanish Was Service Medal and the
World War One Victory Medal. At far right is the The United Spanish War
Veterans Badge. Hardeman may have been entitled to clasps on the Victory
Medal but without specific details I elected to omit these. The inclusion of the
three campaign medals is based on known posting held by Hardeman and their