Major Tom Loftin Johnson, an art instructor at the West Point Military Academy and a well know American muralist, painted the five panels in this room sometime during 1939. Depicted are the campaigns of the 28th Regiment from its founding in 1901 through its major victory at Cantigny, France in 1918.
The Regiment's first foreign posting of the Regiment which Johnson depicts was that in the Philippines. It took place in the period November 1901 to January 1904. Next, he show us the Regiment performing police and guard duty in Cuba, where it was posted in 1906-1909 in the wake of an uprising.
Johnson's depiction of the Regiment in Vera Cruz, Mexico, recalls the events of 1913-14. Anticipating trouble in Mexico, the Army staged the Regiment in February 1913, at Galveston, Texas. When Mexican forces arrested 14 American sailors at Tampico in 1914, President Wilson ordered American troops into Mexico at Vera Cruz to prevent shipment of arms to the Mexican Army. In April 1914, the 28th arrived there to occupy the city and control its shipping port. Later that year, when the rebel government was overthrown by a regime friendly to the U.S., the Regiment returned stateside.
Born in Denver, Colorado in 1905, Johnson trained at the Yale School of Fine Arts and at l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He is particularly identified with his Panorama of Military History a 1936 WPA project which dominates Washington Hall, at the US Military Academy, West Point.
In 1941, Johnson was selected from among 5000 artists to receive first place in the Carnegie Institute's competition "New Directions". His winning entry, entitled American Pieta, depicts the scene of a family coming the morning after a lynching to take home the body of their father.
Cantigny by Tom Loftin Johnson