1871 West Point graduation photograph of Fayette W. Roe, the famous "Faye" of his wife's 1909 book "Army Letters from an Officer’s Wife."
In fine condition with wear as shown in the scan. Image and mount measure 10" x 13.
$195.00 plus shipping
Roe’s family came from upstate New York, though he was born in Virginia. When he graduated from West Point, he married another upstate New Yorker, Frances Mack. Roe’s first post took the couple west to Colorado, and over the next fifteen years, to Montana, Utah, and the Dakotas.
Roe appeared as Frances’s beloved comrade “Faye” in her lively and perceptive account of frontier life, Army Letters from an Officer’s Wife (1909).
Captivated by the beauty of western landscapes, Frances described in telling detail the scenes and events in their army communities. She carefully balanced tales of lively social life with attention to the harsh conditions and isolation that military families endured.
"Colonel Fayette Roe was born in Virginia, May 23, 1850. He was educated at Professor Roe's private school at Elmira, New York, was graduated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and attended the Burlington College for one year.
December, '65, he served as captain's clerk on the steamer Michigan, and in June, 1867, he entered the United States Military Academy In his second class year he was cadet sergeant, and the final year a lieutenant in the corps. He was graduated in June, 1871, and commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Twenty-Fourth Infantry. By special direction of General Grant he was transferred to the Third Infantry, and it was with Company "G" of that regiment (then stationed at Fort Lyon, Colorado) that he began his army services.
Colonel Roe was married August 19, 1871, to Miss Frances M. A. Mack, daughter of Ralph' Gilbert Mack and Mary (Colton) his wife, of Watertown, New York, a lady-whose "Americanism" fully matched his own, and whom he first met at Professor Roe's Academy at Elmira.
Colonel Roe was promoted to a captaincy July 4, 1892, after serving, by order of the War Department, as senior officer to guard the Government exhibits at the World's Fair at Chicago, he rejoined his regiment at Fort Snelling, St. Paul, Minnesota, in the Fall of 1893. At the beginning of the Spanish War in April, 1898, Colonel Roe went with his regiment to Mobile, Alabama, May 9, he received the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel of Staff, and Judge-Advocate of the First Army Corps, with headquarters at Chicamaugua Park. Here he was taken seriously ill, and was ordered home on sick leave. His illness-nervous prostration and neurasthenia, continued in so aggaravted a form that he was unable to accompany his regiment to Manilla, or even to appear befor the Retiring Board which he was compelled to ask for. He was retired, after thirty years' service, with the rank of captain, December 13, 1898.
After this severe attack Colonel Roe was at the Army and Navy Hospital at Hot Springs, Arkansas, for five months; but never after entirely recovered his health. His wife having also become an in-valid, and a warm climate being indispensible for both, he purchased a home at Port Orange, on the Halifax River, Florida, where he continued to reside until his death, September 28, 1916.
Colonel Roe was buried with full military honors at Arlington. The honorary pall-bearers were all his old army friends, Generals McCain, Parker, Chase, Steever, and Crowder; Colonels Borden, Hobart, and Kingsbury; also Colonels Foster and Dowd of the Loyal Legion, Major Van Buren, Captains Avery and Easton, and Mr. R. Golden Donaldson. The insignia of the patriotic societies of which Colonel Roe was a member (Society of Colonial Wars, the Mexican War, the War of 1812, Sons of the Revolution, Indian Wars, the Spanish- American War, and the Loyal Legion) were buried with him. His body lies by the side of his gallant father. Neither his wife nor mother-his only surviving near relatives, were able to be present; his wife, helpless, confined to her room or a wheeled-chair, at the home in Florida his aged mother, whose home is in Washington City, too infirm to bear the excitement and fatigue.
The incidents of Colonel Roe's army life; his advancements in grade, and many changes of station, with numerous highly complimentary details for duty, are fully related in General Cullum's Registry. For four years he was Aide-de-Camp to the General commanding the Department of the Platte, acting frequently as Adjutant-General, Judge-Advocate, Inspector of Small Arms and Engineer Officer. He was Adjutant-General of troops in the field at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1890-91, and of the concentrated troops of the Department of the Platte in the field at Camp Crook, Nebraska, in 1889; these two concentrations of regulars being the largest since the Civil War. In September and October, 1881 Colonel Roe was in command of the escort of the Marquis of Lorne (the Duke of Argyle) Governor-General of Canada, and suite, en route from Fort Shaw to Dillon, Montana. A year or so later Colonel Roe was presented by the marquis, through the State and War Departments, with his portrait.
These services were all "in the line of duty," and their record is "official." For a more intimate acocunt of his many years of service on the plains and among the high Rockies, those who delight in the romance and stirring events on the "frontier" of those pioneer days, may be glad to read their story in Mrs. Frances M. A. Roe's delightful narrative of adventure, entitled: "'Army Letters From an Officer's Wife," and published by Appleton & Company in 1909. The dedication, "To my Comrade, 'Faye'" is a volume in itself. Mrs. Roe relates most graphically many adventures of those perilous times; among the Indian tribes-Utes and Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Apaches (and "bad White men," quite as savage), in Colorado, and Montana, Utah and the Dakotas. With charming realism the story is told of the chase of the buffaloes and swift antelopes; of gunning for game-birds, and fishing in the ice-cold streams of blizzard and cyclone, and to balance these discomforts, of improvised dinners and Christ- mas festivals, and cotillions, and musicales, the glad gay social life of an army post far away from "civilization."
So, in camp or quarters, campaigning, or on peaceful marches, near twenty years with the "doughboys," they two lived their lives, true comrades, married lovers, cheerily and dutifully always. "Comrades" they were and lovers to the end. Lovers, too, of nature they remained, as the pages of "Bird Lore" testify. But with the happiness came to both slowly but surely weakening powers and his death, Fayette had a bad fall, cutting his brow and producing concussion of' the brain. He continued a long time desperately ill. His wife devoted herself to him, till, as he struggled back to feeble health, her own utterly gave way. "I had not been well (Mrs. Roe writes) for some time before Fayette left me, and he thought I was lessening activities, the blight and burden of infirmities. Some call these afflictions, of failing health and impaired bodily faculties, "acts of Providence;" other, perhaps not less reverent, know them as the "order of nature."
So it befell these two at their home on the Halifax River, amid the palms and orange groves; they cared for and tended each other, hardly heeding the world beyond their gates. About a year before going to die, and that is why he brought his life to an end, feeling that he could not live after I had gone. We had been good comrades forty-five years, and now it seems as though I was breaking faith with him by living on."
It seems almost like violating a sanctuary to recount feelings so deep, the pathetic words of bereavement were not written for any publicity of print; but I cannot forbear quoting them, if only that they tell how good a man Fayette must have been for such lasting love.
From many others, his classmates and companions in arms, have come expressions of esteem and affection. The limits imposed forbid more than mention of a few names: General H. P. McCain, Adjutant-General; E. H. Crowder, Judge-Advocate-General; General James N. Allison, and General Brooke, on whose staff Fayette served.
It would be unwise, and might even be cruel, to relate the events leading to the end. Mental sufferings as well as desperate bodily anguish were his. "He was simply tired and worn out with it all." The end came in the early morning. The doctor, who had been call- ing regularly, was coming up the path. It was over in an instant. Later, when he was carried out of his home, to be taken to Arlington, under the care of an old sergeant who had served under him, a mocking-bird came to a tree by the gate, to trill and carol in the sunlight. To Fayette Roe death came.not as a king of terror, but rather as a friend; welcome as in the days of border war, a few surrounded by painted hostiles, famished and ammunitions almost gone, may have seen far away the sun's sudden glinting on barrel and blade, have caught the faint strains of a bugle's war-note, and then-nearer, nearer, nearer, the throb of rescuing hoof-beats.
WILLIAM J. ROE.