top of page
  • Ann D. Watson

Herman Bauer in his Field Uniform

Herman Oscar Bauer in field uniform, about 1895

About the time my great-grandfather Herman Oscar Bauer (1856–1912) was elected Captain of Company G, 3rd Regiment of the Raritan Guards (later the New Jersey National Guard), he went to the photographer and posed for this picture. He stands erect, with straight but not rigid posture. Hands held loosely at his sides and a direct gaze demonstrate a relaxed readiness for action. Intelligent and alert eyes seem to say, "I'm pleased with myself, and pleased with life."

Herman wears a typical Guard soldier's field uniform of the era, the inch-and-a-half yellow stripe on his trousers contrasting nicely with the matching jacket's dark blue wool color. [1] Wrinkles at the jacket's waist and sleeves reveal that it has been worn before, and its wearer, though conscious of looking well, isn't too rigid about it. The tall crown of the campaign hat, standard headgear for a National Guard officer of the time, adds another three inches to Herman's five feet seven. Worn at a slight angle, the hat, along with its wearer's long handlebar moustache and shoes shined for the occasion, suggest a desire to appear stylish.

Perhaps Herman went to the photographer's studio at the outset of the Spanish-American War in 1898, when his regiment was about to head off to Sea Girt, the New Jersey National Guard training camp. [2 ]He might see action and maybe even be killed, and a photograph both showed a soldier in his uniform and documented the occasion in case he didn’t come home.

National Guard drills were held in Keyport every Friday evening at eight o’clock at the Armory in Keyport.[3] The regimental rules — attending all meetings and Company parades, not drinking while in uniform, and conducting himself becoming a soldier [4] — were probably important to Herman, because he quickly rose through the ranks to Corporal, Sergeant, and 2nd Lieutenant. On May 1, 1896, he was elected Captain of Company G, Third Regiment. [5]

The rank and file loved their commander. Under Herman, discipline was strict but he was reported to be "an excellent master." [6] A stickler for drill but generous to a fault, Herman "always looked carefully after the men's comfort and interest and no one but himself knows how many dollars went from his own pocket to assist his men in emergencies." [7]



1. See Record of Fourth New Jersey National Guard, Volunteer Infantry: Spanish-American war 1898–1899 (Jersey City, New Jersey: William f. Roehrer, 1902); images, ( : accessed 9 February 2019). This book about another New Jersey Guard regiment has many photographs of officers in this type of uniform.

2. National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, press release, 13 June 2018 ( : accessed 23 February 2019).

3. By-Laws of Raritan Guard: Company G, Third Regiment, N.G.N.J.: First Organized at Keyport October 8th, 1861, as Company B, 4th Regiment, N. J. S. M., Admitted into N. J. R. C., as Company E, 3D Regiment, July 6, 1866; Admitted Into National Guard June, 1869 (Keyport, New Jersey: Keyport Weekly Book and Job Printing House, [n.d.], 4; Monmouth County Historical Association, Freehold.

4. Ibid., 13.

5. State of New Jersey, Adjutant-General's Office, Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New Jersey (Somerville, New Jersey: The Unionist-Gazette Association, State Printers, 1900), 168; images, Hathi Trust ( : accessed 10 February 2019).

6. "Capt. H. O. Bauer Buys the Paviion," Keyport (New Jersey) Weekly, 14 December 1906, p. 1, col. 3.

7. Ibid.

70 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page