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Above: Trooper Martin Talmadge of "B" Troop, 7th United States Cavalry was photographed while the station at Camp Columbia, Cuba just after the close of the Spanish-American War. He wears the 1881 pattern Cavalry Dress Coat and holds his 1881 pattern Dress Helmet in his right arm - his regimental number "7" is just visible on the 1881 pattern Dress Helmet Plate. The only uniform concession to the tropical conditions in Cuba is the white summer issue pants he is wearing with his otherwise wool dress uniform. When looking at his helmet plume, jacket facings, and breast cords one could easily assume that they were red as worn by artillery units, but they were in fact the golden yellow reserved for cavalry units. It was a quirk of 19th and early 20th Century photographic processes that could, and often did make the yellow object appear very dark. Talmadge moved slightly during the outdoor photo session, blurring the image.

Born two days before Christmas, 1880 at Stillwater, New Jersey the son of John Quincy Talmadge and Mary Ozenbaugh, Martin Talmadge would enlist in the United States Army at Middletown, New York, on 24 April 1899 for a three-year term and was assigned to “B” Troop of the 7th U.S. Cavalry.

“B” Troop and Trooper Talmadge deployed to Camp Columbia, Havana, Cuba in 1899 to perform occupation duties just after the close of the Spanish-American War. Talmadge would spend the duration of his enlistment In Cuba before mustering out at Camp Chickamauga, Georgia on 23 April 1902. His conduct was listed a “Good”. For his service in Cuba Talmadge was entitled to the Army of Cuban Occupation Medal.

While in Cuba Talmadge’s squadron commander was the famously mustachioed Edward Settle Godfrey who some 25 years earlier as a Lieutenant had commanded “K” Company of the 7th under George Armstrong Custer during the infamous Little Bighorn Campaign.  In another interesting side note of history just two years before Talmadge being assigned to “B” Troop a noted future science fiction writer had also been assigned to the same troop, Edgar Rice Burroughs who would later go on to create the John Carter of Mars novels as well as everyone’s favorite jungle hero – Tarzan.

Martin Talmadge took a few weeks off – probably to visit family and friends – before re-enlisting in the Army for another three years at Chattanooga, Tennessee on 14 May 1902, this time being assigned to 81st Company, United States Coast Artillery.  During Talmadge’s second term of enlistment, the 81st was stationed at Fort Slocum, New York. While Talmadge was stationed at Ft. Slocum the post featured 16, 12-inch coastal defense mortars in two eight gun batteries, two six-inch pedestals mounted guns and two five-inch pedestals mounted guns.  He took his second discharge on 16 May 1905 at Fort Wool, Virginia, again with his character and conduct being listed as "Good".

Martin Talmadge settled in Goshen, New York after his discharge and married Miss Anna Jane Arnot on Christmas Eve, 1904. The couple would have at least three children; Howard (b. 1905), Elsie Mae (b. 1907), and Albert Harold (b. 1910).

With the outbreak of World War One, Martin Talmadge was employed as a machinist with J. H. Newbury & Son in Goshen, New York. He registered for the draft on 12 September 1918 but given his age of around 38 and the war ending not long afterward he does not seem to have served a third term in uniform. He continued in his given trade until retiring sometime in the 1940s.


Martin Talmadge passed away in Goshen, New York on 13 May 1945.

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