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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter  14 - The Griffin Rifles

E Company, Third Infantry

(-as transcribed from pages 209 - 210)

The Griffin Rifles were now to be known as E Company of the Third Infantry.  Of this regiment Colonel Martin T. Moore, of La Crosse, was in command.  In the following summer the company went into its first state camp.  This was at Menomonie.  The company was designated by the men of the other companies as the "Babies," owing to the fact they had but so recently entered the service.  They were under constant and critical observation by the regimental officers and inspectors and came home with an excellent record.

June 17 to 25, 1889, the Third Infantry encamped at the newly established Wisconsin Military Reservation near Camp Douglas.  The Third was the first regiment to make use of the grounds.  Previous to this time the regiments had camped at various towns in the State.  General Chapman and Captain George Graham, of Tomah, were the first to consider the grounds near the village of Camp Douglas for military purposes and in the summer of 1888 made an investigation.  They found the present reservation as well fitted for encampment purposes and maneuvering.  No funds being available for the purpose, General Chapman at his own risk purchased four hundred and forty acres from seven different owners.  On April 22, 1889, a conference of officers recommended the State purchase of the grounds from General Chapman.

Nearly all the reservation was covered by second growth timber and brush.  The first drill of the regiment after reaching the reservation and making their camp was fatigue work.  All hands turned to and proceeded to clear uprooted stumps and brush.  This was piled in a huge heap near the guard quarters and made a magnificent bonfire which burned throughout the week.

The annual encampments since 1889 have been at the Wisconsin Military Reservation.

The Griffin Rifles were one of the several companies invited to the inauguration ceremonies of Governor William D. Hoard, at Madison, January 7, 1889.  They left Eau Claire in evening of Sunday, January 6, and returned Tuesday morning.

October 14 to 19, 1889, the company gave a second "Fair and Art Loan," which proved to be a great success.  A cane contest evoking great interest was a feature of this fair.  Richard T. Farr, a lumberman, was voted the cane.  His principal competitor was Horace Rust, another lumberman, and the race between these two gentlemen was fierce but good natured.  Net receipts of this fair were about $800.00.

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