Old Soldier's Friend - The Mounted Rifleman's Slug
Formed in 1845, the Regiment of Mounted Rifles acquired a distinguished record during the Mexican War, earning the nickname “Brave Rifles” from General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, which it still bears today, as the 3rd Cavalry, a redesignation effected in 1861.
Following the war with Mexico, the Mounted Rifles spent several years on frontier duty, distributed in small detachments across a wide swathe of southern Texas. For a time in the 1850s, regimental headquarters and about 200 riflemen were stationed at Fort Inge, near Uvalde, about 100 miles west of San Antonio, with outposts scattered across a “front” of over 200 miles. As on most of the frontier, this duty was characterized by boring, mind-numbing routine, occasionally punctuated by the need to chase bandits or stray Indians.
Like many regiments, the Mounted Rifles had their special drink, the “Mounted Rifleman’s Slug.” According to former Rifleman August Cline, the recipe was quite simple:
- three fingers of whisky
- a spoonful of honey
- water, optional
Cline, a Prussian immigrant, served in the Mounted Rifles during the ante bellum period and during the Civil War, when the regiment became the 3rd Cavalry, rising from private to quartermaster sergeant. Around 1873 he left the army, and settled in the village of Wallace, west of Uvalde, where he married a local gal. Initially employed by Celeste Pingenot, the first settler of the town, to tend a store and stagecoach stop, he later became postmaster, and after the railroad came to Wallace in 1883, he became station master.
Like many an old veteran, Cline enjoyed the company of soldiers. So he was usually ready with a “generous drink” when troopers from Fort Inge, about 20 miles to the east, or Fort Clark, some 20 miles to the west, passed through the village, particularly during long winter patrols.
The village was later was renamed in Cline’s honor.
FootNote: Readers who know of some interesting liquid refreshment with a military tie may send the recipe, with background information if possible, to Feedback. Naturally, appropriate care should be taken when testing this imbibable.