15 July 1997

Day 32 - Firth, NE to Table Rock, NE

Distance travelled: 60 miles
Slight head
Up and down
Condition of roads:
Bicycles –30m/Tires – 15m/Lunch – 5h/Other – 30m
Actual travel time:
8h 15m
Rate per hour:
7.4 mph
- Lt. James A. Moss Report to the Adjutant General Synopsis of the Trip

Places & times mentioned:
Firth, NE [6 AM]; Adams [morning]; Sterling [forenoon]; Tecumseh, NE [noon; Table Rock [8 pm]

Firth [Nebraska] --The United States colored troops of the Twenty-fifth regiment came into town [Firth] Wednesday evening about 8 o’clock and camped on the south side of town. They were on bicycles and came from Mt. [sic] Missoula, Mont., on their way to St. Louis, under command of Lieutenant Moss. The trip is an experiment, demonstrating the feasibility of using bicycles in the service of moving troops. In the eastern part of Montana they were caught in a snow storm, and had to walk and carry their bicycles and trappings, weighing 118 pounds, for a number of miles. While passing through the sand hills in the western part of the state they had the same experience, being able to ride only eighteen miles out of 100. They left town at 6 o’clock Thursday morning, following the B. & M. track.”
-Nebraska State Journal Monday July 19, 1897

The 22 soldiers and one reporter who started from Fort Missoula, in Montana, west of the Rocky Mountain range, on June 14, passed through Adams yesterday morning, July 15, on their way to St. Louis. They looked like they would be good for an all summer ride. On Wednesday evening they had made 1,000 miles of their trip and camped at Firth. The trip of these soldiers from Fort Missoula to St. Louis is to determine what can be done in the way of moving troops over the country on bicycles, and the route which has been selected over the mountains and through the sand hills is certainly a good test. On the first part of the trip over the mountains, they encountered heavy storms of rains and snow, swollen streams, and muddy roads. When they passed through here the roads were good. The wheels are the Spalding [sic] military bicycle of the 1897 pattern. They carried their guns, rations and equipments for camping. One of them who stopped in town to repair his wheel said that he had worked at chopping wood, harvesting and other heavy labor but the bicycle trips beats everything to give a man an appetite.

- The Adams Globe [Adams, NE] July 16, 1897

The bicycle corps of the regular army soldiers passed through Sterling last Thursday forenoon. The corps consisted of twenty colored soldiers from several companies of infantry stationed at Ft. Missoula, Mont. They were under the command of Second Lieutenant James A. Moss, S. M. [sic – should be J.M.] Kennedy, Surgeon and accompanied by Edward H. Boos, a young newspaper man. They were on their way to St. Louis and the object of trip is test the practicality of the wheel for army service.

- The Sterling Eagle [Sterling, NE] July 22, 1897

Soldiers On Wheels

The twenty soldiers from Ft. Missoula, Montana, who are on their way to St. Louis by bicycle, arrived in Tecumseh, Thursday noon, and remained here for two or three hours. The trip is being made by direction of the army department for the purpose of testing the efficiency of the bicycle for long distance marches. The men have been on the road about one month. They expect to reach St. Louis one week from tomorrow. The distance from Ft. Missoula to St. Louis is about 2,000 miles. The men are all colored but two or three and are under command of Leiutenant [sic] James A. Moss of the Twenty-fifth infantry, U.S.A.

- The Tecumseh Chieftan [Tecumseh, NE] July 17, 1897

“LATE STATE NEWS. The twenty soldiers from the Twenty- fifth infantry, under command of Second Lieut. J. A. Moss, who are making the trip from Fort MISSOULA to St. Louis on bicycles, arrived at Tecumseh at 1 o'clock yesterday, and went into camp on the court house lawn. They left there [Tecumseh] last night for Humboldt.

- The Evening News [Lincoln Nebraska] July 16, 1897

“Bicycle Corps at Table Rock. Table Rock, Neb., July 16. – The 25th United States infantry bicycle corps reached here at 8 o’clock last evening [July 15] after a hard day’s run, covering 60 miles. From here the run will be made to Rulo, where the corps will cross the Missouri river into Missouri.”
- The Evening News [Lincoln Nebraska] July 16, 1897

“Bicycle Corps Leaves Table Rock. TABLE ROCK, Neb., July 18 – (Special) – The bicycle corps of regular army soldiers, en route from Ft. Missoula, Mont., to St. Louis, arrived here a little after 8 o’clock last evening. They went into camp on the historical camp ground of Table Rock, immediately. The corporal, lieutenant and correspondant, who had preceded them, have everything in readiness. Their repairs had been shipped here, and were awaiting them. They left here at an early hour this morning. A large crowd had assembled last night to await their entrance. They were saluted with loud and lusty cheers.”
- The Nebraska State Journal [Lincoln, Nebraska] July 17, 1897

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