Dragoons 1833-1850

APPENDIX

 

What follows is an attachment of sundry materials dealing with the 1st Dragoons gathered over by the years by the authors and Tim Kimball.

 

  1. Muster Rolls of Selected Companies of the 1st Dragoons, 1834-1847

Company B, 1st Dragoons, May 30, 1834

 

Officers

Capt. E. V. Sumner

1st Lt. Thomas Swords

2nd Lt. J. H. K. Burgwin

Bvt. 2nd Lt. George McClure

 

Non-Commissioned Officers Place and Date of Enlistment   Stoppages for lost equipage

 

1st Sgt. Samuel Roberts           Youngstown, Ohio      May 12, 1833

Sgt. John Leton                       Utica, N.Y.                  May 21

Sgt. Samuel Jordan                  Salina, N.Y.                 May 20

Sgt. Jacob Martin                    Canandaigua, N.Y.      April 17

Corp. Aaron Young                Cleveland, Ohio          Aug. 6

Corp. Nelson Derthick           Canandaigua, N.Y.      May 1

Corp. Joseph Fenton              Watertown, N.Y.        May 27

Corp. Timothy Kempshall     Utica, N.Y.                  June 17

Bugler John Leprey                Brownsville, N.Y.       July 11

Bugler Caleb Goodrich            Utica, N.Y.                  May 21

Farrier James White                Sackets Harbor, N.Y.  July 23

 

Privates

 

William Belding                       Canandaigua                April 22, 1833

Theodore Bingham                  Utica                           July 22

William Bennett                      Utica                           June 6

Benjamin Casterline                Utica                           May 3

James Craig                             Brownsville               July 6  rifle flask

George Clarke                         Canandaigua                July 23            breast plate, rifle flask,

Faustus Close                         Canandaigua                April 29

Robert Dickerson                    Canandaigua                May 11

George Daggett                       Brownsville                 July 6    spur

Norman Fullington                  Canandaigua                May 9

James Fletcher                                    Brownsville                 July 6

Nathan Fitch                           Cleveland                    April 5

David Grummon                     Canandaigua                May 9

John Grantor                           Utica                           June 25   spur

John Goodall                           Utica                           June 13

Phillip George                         Brownsville                 June 21

Seth Hubbell                           Utica                           May 20

Lewis Halstead                       Canandaigua                May 3 wiper

James Heald                            Brownsville                 July 6

James Hildreth                        Genoa, N.Y.                Aug. 6

Willis Kelsey                          Cleveland                    Aug. 2

Aron LaFleu                            Canandaigua                April 15

George Latham                        Utica                           July 1

Archibald Montgomery          Youngstown, Ohio      May 4 curry comb, brush

Alfred Miller                           Sackets Harbor            May 28

John Marble                            Watertown                  June 6

William McCann                     Utica                           June 17 rifle flask

John Oatman                           Utica                           June 12

Abel Osmun                            Cleveland                    Aug. 6

William Pennington                 Utica                           July 1  screw driver

Horace Partridge                     Canandaigua                May 30 waist belt, plate, wiper

Peter Rhoda                            Canandaigua                April 18 rifle flask

Ira Rosier                                Youngstown                April 27 pair of spurs

Samuel Runnion                      Youngstown                May 30

James Rundel                          Cleveland                    August 6

George Rockwood                  Brownsville                 June 30

John Smith                              Utica                           May 3

Joseph Sayer                           Canandaigua                June 26

William Sheldon                      Utica                           July 20

Andrew Snyder                       Canandaigua                May 16

John Sherwood                       Cleveland                    April 15

George Thatcher                     Canandaigua                May 30

Lester Templar                       Utica                           May 10

William Vann                          Utica                           June 25

Benjamin Vanbauchoten         Cleveland                    Aug. 6

Arthur Washburn                    Utica                           June 22

Abiatha Walden                      Cleveland                    Aug. 6

Hiram Young                           Canandaigua                May 9

 

Discharged

 

Robert Green                          Roscoe, Ohio              Aug. 9

 

Deserted

 

James Fitch                             Brownsville                 June 21

 

 

 

 

 

Company I, 30 April 1835

Camp Des Moines, Iowa Territory

Officers

 

Capt. Jesse Browne, present, sick.

1st Lt. Abraham Van Buren, absent, ADC to Gen. in Chief.

2nd Albert M. Lea, present, commanding company.

 

Non Commissioned Officers When and Where Recruited    

 

J.C. Parrot,               1st Sgt.         Feb 10, 1834     Wheeling, Va.

B.F. Price                   Sgt.                 “       8,   “               Parkersburg, “

Styles, L.A.                 “                   “     10,                    Wheeling,   “

Heishberger, H.R.,   “                   “     11, 1835         Carlisle, Pa.

Burtlett, S.M.           Corp.             Jan. 30, 1834          Parkersburg, Va.

Barnett, R.,                 “                   Apr.   4,   “              Lancaster, Pa.

Wilson, C.C.               “                     Mar. 11,   “              Wheeling, Va,

Haber, B.M.              “                    Feb. 5,       “                   “             “

Deem, J.                   Bugler               “   3, 1835           Reading, Pa.

Deem, R.,                     “                           5,   “                     “           “

Ambold, F.             Farrier           Jan 30,   “                  Harrisburg, “

 

 

Privates

 

Britte, Jacob                                            March 13, 1834   Wheeling, Va.

Browne, Geo. S.                                 “       12,   “               “                “

Brown. A.C.                                     Feb.       27,     “       Parkersburg, “

Bishop, Benj.                                   “           20,   “       Carlisle, Pa.

Cornoy, Wm.                                   “            9     “             “           “

Chapman, A.                                     “           18   “             “           “

Deem, Daniel                             Feb. 3, 1835           Reading, Pa.

Dennis, James                                 “   13,   “                        Carthage, New York

Eastman, John                             March 31, 1834             Portsmouth, Pa.

Foley, Jas. A.                                  Feb. 8,         “                  Parkersburg, Va.

Farmer, John                                March 18, 1835             Carisle, Pa.

Gaston, Chas. W.                          Feb. 17,     1834              Clarksburg, Pa.

Herr, Henry                                   “     12,         “                 Wheeling, Va.

Holladay, A.G.                              April 16, 1834         Chilicotthe, Va.

Heermance, Ed                          March 12, 1835       Carisle, Pa.

Hoffman, John                             Feb. 9,         “             Reading, Pa.

Kent, William                           Jan. 30,       “              Harrisburg, Pa.

Lockard, A.M.                              March 5     “               Carlisle, Pa.

Magonan, James                        Jan. 30, 1834             Parkersburg, Pa.

Miller, O.H.P.                               Feb. 11,     “                Wheeling, Va.

Mitchell, C.S.                               “     19,     “                        Clarksburg, Pa.

Mitchell, Robert                     Jan. 27, 1835                       Harrisburg, Pa.

Morrison, Daniel                   Feb. 11,     “                           Carlisle, Pa.

McDonough, Jos.                   Mar. 4,       “                     “           “

McKinley, Alex                           “ 15, 1834                        Parkersburg, Pa.

McCleary, Wm.                       Feb. 4, 1835                         Harrisburg, Pa.

Mc Farland, Gil.                     Mar, 27, 1834                        Zanesville, Oh.

Neely, John                               Feb. 18,     “                         Clarksburg, Pa.

Norton, Abel                           April 16,   “                           Chillicote, Va.

Pennington, Jos.                         “     12,   “                         Baltimore, Md.

Piper, Conrad                         March 7, 1835                      Carlisle, Pa.

Platte, John                             Feb. 18,     “                     “

Robinson, John                         “     17, 1834                      Parkersburg, Va.

Rubble, Geo. W.                     February 8, 1834         Parkersburg, Va.

Strait, J.B.                                       “         20,   “                       “

Smith, John                                   “         3, 1835               Clarksburg, Pa.

Shelton, Jacob                             “         6,     “               Harrisburg, Pa.

Shoemaker, A.W.                        “         8,     “                   Reading, Pa.

Sheffer, William                         “         4,     “                 Harrisburg, Pa.

Trowbridge, Levi                     “         7, 1834             Parkersburg, Va.

Willey, Henry                             April 11,   “                   Baltimore, Md.

Wolf, John                                  February 11, 1835     Carlisle, Pa.

Worth, Henry                                 “             9,     “                   “

Wynkoop, Isaac                           “             “                             “

Young, William                         Jan. 31,                 “ Harrisburg, Pa.

 

Muster Roll Company C, October 31, 1846 (prior to San Pasqual)

 

Captain Benjamin Moore, commanding *

Lieutenant Andrew J. Smith

Lieutenant Joseph McElvain

Bvt. Lt. John Adams

 

Non Commissioned Officers Where recruited and Stoppages

 

Sergeant R.T. Falls                January 1, 1844, Weston, Mo. (re-enlisted) Great coat                                                    $4.75.

Sergeant Richard Williams   May 24, 1846, St Joseph, Mo.

Sergeant John O’Brien         December 15, 1845, Weston, Mo. Pistol $8.00, Boots                                                       $1.22

Sergeant John Cox *                         May 24, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)                                                                                     Promoted sergeant, July 1, 1846.

Corporal Paul Woods             September 24, 1844, Weston, Mo.

Corporal John Cassin           July 19,1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)                                                                          surcingle $.73.

Corporal Edward Heinrich   July 28, 1843,            Ft. Scott, Mo. (re-enlisted)

Corporal Oliver Wilson        November 4, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)

Daily duty in charge of Howitzer; 2 pr. Socks $.49.

Bugler Michael Halpin          October 7, 1843, Leavenworth (re-enlisted) due                                                                         sutler $8.00

Bugler James McKee            December 8, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted) Daily                                                       duty escort to Kearny.

Farrier John Roady                 January 19, 1846, Dayton, Ohio, appointed farrier                                                         August 1, 1846.

Privates

 

George Ashmead *                 October 1, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted) Flannel shirt                                            $.49, greatcoat $4.95.

Stephen Bishop                     May 20, 1844, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)

George Bryan                       October 7, 1844, St, Louis, Mo. Headstall $.55.

Zarah Bobo                                       January 14, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Flannel shirt $.49.

John Brown                                       January 24, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Gen’l court martial                                                        suspension of half-month’s pay for 12 months.                                                                        (Wounded at San Pasqual.)

George Casselt                         February 10, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlistment).

Edward Cumen                        October 14, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlistment) Flannel                                                        shirt $.49, socks $.49,carbine sling swivel $.75.
Mark Childs                               June 27, 1844, St. Louis, Mo. Screw driver $.24,                                                                       cartridge box plate $.10, carbine sling swiverl $1.50.

Joseph Campbell *                   February 14, 1846, St. Louis, Mo.

Jeremy Crab                             January 20, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Wool jacket $4.19.                                                      (Wounded at San Pasqual.)

Caroloust Callahan                July 26, 1844, Louisville, Ky.

John Douglass                           May 7, 1846, Leavenworth

John Dunlap *                        August 10, 1845, Ft. Washita, IT, re-enlistment. Pistol                                                     $8.00.

A.C. Donaldson                         December 17, 1845, Wheeling, W. Va.

William Dalton *                       June 18, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Pistol $8.00 (in                                                                 confinement)

Peter Forney                             December 14, 1843, Weston, Mo.

Erasmus French                       January 3, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue frock $.61,                                                       flannel shirt $.61 (hospital stewart). Deserted, Los                                                         Angeles, September 25, 1848.

Thomas Grady                         January 26, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Sling &                                                  swivel $1.50, sabre $2.50, 2 cotton shirts $.86. Daily                                                        duty Howitzer.

John Henerle                             April 2, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Sling & swivel $1.50.

Joseph Kennedy *                 July 15, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Daily duty escort Kearny.

Matthew Louber                     July 10, 1845, St. Louis, Mo.

William Lecke*                       January 6, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue cap $.95.5, cotton                                               jacket $.72.

Jacob Mauser                           May 7, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Daily duty                                                    Howitzer.

John McNeilly                      May 3, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Wool overalls $3.36, flannel                                                   shirt $.90, fatrigue frock $.61. (Wounded Jan. 6, 1847.)

James Murphy                           December 24, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. $9.00 due to court                                                            martials of May 22 and August 28, 1846. Wool jacket                                                          $4.19.

George Myers                           December 29, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue frock $.61.

John Murtry                               July 23, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Resigned.

Ferdinand Nichols                  June 27, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Extra duty under                                                               Quartermaster.

John Osborne                                     July 30, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Reins $.40, snaffle bit $.62,                                                           2 cotton shirts $.86.

George Pearce                           July 1, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Company letter $.05. Daily                                                            duty escort Kearny.

Henry Purcell                        January 16, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Sabre $4.50, belt $1.50,                                                             cartridge box $1.10, wool jacket $4.19, flannel shirt                                                     $.90.

Amasa Palmer                                   Jan. 15, 1846, Dayton, Ohio.

James Pinkerton                       January 9, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Cartridge box and plate                                                          $1.10. Daily duty Howitzer.

Isaac Randolph                         August 29, 1844, Jefferson Barracks. Pistol $8.00,                                                        fatigue shirt $.90, 2 pair socks $.49.

Samuel Repose *                              December 10, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Wool jacket $4.19.

James Reppeto                       October 30, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue cap $.95, wool                                                             jacket $4.19, cotton jacket $.72, cotton frock $.61.

John Stokely                             February 2, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Sling swivel $1.50.

Michael Tubb                           July 19, 1844, St. Louis, Mo. Daily duty escort Kearny.

William Tubb                                    January 16, 1846, (re-enlisted) St. Louis, Mo. Daily duty                                                             escort Kearny.

Christian Teinchand               May 5, 1843, Dayton, Ohio. 2 shirts $.86.

Paul Vanaken                                     December 13, 1843, St. Louis, Mo. Boots $1.22.

John Vyzer                            November 1844, Dayton, Ohio. Ramrod $.59; fatigue cap                                                           $.95; wool jacket $4.19; wool overalls $3.56; sling &                                                            swivel $1.50; cotton jacket $2.00; cotton overalls $.98,                                                    ramrod $.59

George Williams                    August 20 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Wool                                                          overalls $3.36; belt plate $.10; socks $.49

Jacob Westfall                        December 22, 1845, St. Louis, Mo. Cotton overalls $.98

William West*                        August 3, 1844, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Flannel shirt                                               $.90

John White                            February 6, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Daily duty driving                                                         howitzer.

Harry Walker                         May 26, 1842, Leavenworth (re-enlisted).            Left sick at                                                      Leavenworth

 

  • Died, Battle of San Pasqual

 

 

German born soldiers who served with Company B, 1st Dragoons 1847, Lt. John Love commanding. This information was gleaned from the muster roll and recruitment records for Company B of the 1st Dragoons. At the time this company left Ft. Leavenworth for Santa Fe in June of 1847, over one-quarter of its privates were of German extraction.
1st Sgt. Frederick Muller 15 Apr. 1844, St. Louis, Mo., Prussia, Promoted Ordnance    Sergeant and died at Fort Wood, NY Harbor, 1860.
John Baker 29 April 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Prussia, Fireman Discharged due to   Disability, Chihuahua, Mexico 27 Apr. 1848
Henry Heineke 16 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo.; Wounded at Battle of Rosales, 16 Mar.,    1848, Discharged due to Disability Chihuahua, Mexico, 15 May, 1848: Civil        War service: Lt., 14th Illinois Cavalry
Joseph Hoerner 29 Dec. 1846, St. Louis, Mo.; left sick at Santa Fe, 10 Feb. 1848
Phillip Joost 4 Jan. 1847, St. Louis, Mo. Germany; Signmaker Deserted Ft.         Leavenworth, 4 June 1847
Joseph Kieffer 23 Dec. 1846 St. Louis. Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability
19 March 1850, Taos, NM
Hy Kroaus (Kraus?) 27 Dec. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Tailor Discharged due to   Disability, 24 Aug. 1848, Santa Fe, NM
Edward Langerwelsh 13 Jan. 1847 Jefferson Bks Germany Laborer 19 Aug. 1848,   Santa Fe, NM
Conrad Leffler 16 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability
28 Dec. 1848, Alburqueque, NM
Frederick Lohrmeyer 19 Apr. 1847 St. L. Mo. Germany; Laborer; Dicharged 19 Aug   1848; re-enlisted 1 Dec. 1855 Alburqueque, NM
George Meyers, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 25, 1847 Wounded at Rosales 16 Mar. 1848 (lost             right arm); left sick Santa Cruz de Rosales (18 Mar. 1848)
Peter Mokenhanbt 3 March 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Deserted 28 May             1848; captured.
25 Nov. 1846.; Detached Duty as officer’s servant Feb-Apr. 1848; Discharged end of            service 3 March 1850

John Mokenhanbt 21 Jan. 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Deserted 4 May       1846, captured 25 Nov. 1846. Discharged end of service 1850
Jno Racener 9 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Farmer Discharged 9 Aug. 1848      Santa Fe.
Jno Scott (Schott?) 9 Jan. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Painter Discharged 9 Aug.      1848 Santa Fe.
Frederick Sick 28 June 1846, Ft. Scott Germany Soldier 2d Enlistment. Discharged
Disability 24 Aug. 1848 Santa Fe.

John Stein 14 January 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany; Wheelwright; Deserted Ft.         Leavenworth, 7 June 1847; captured 21 Dec.1847; Discharged General Ct.
Martial 16 Jan. 1848.

Edward Schobe 24 Apr. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Clerk Discharged 19 Aug. 1848           Santa Fe,

Jno Shobe 9 Jan. 1847, St. Louis, Mo. Germany, painter; Discharged Santa Fe, 19 Aug.            1848.
Herman Sigler 11 Apr. 1846 St. Louis, Mo Discharged 11 April 1850 Taos
George Sigler 11 Apr. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Dischgd 11 Apr. 1850, Taos
Wm Strobe 10 Dec. 1846 Jefferson Barracks Hanover Laborer, Discharged at            Sonoma Barracks California, 10 Dec. 1851
Geo. Stremmle 5 Dec. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Locksmith Discharged 5 Dec.        1851 Ft., Leavenworth; end of service
Peter Trimborn 22 Jan. 1847 St. Louis, Mo Germany Carpenter Dischgd 19 Aug.        1848, Santa Fe; Civil War service: pvt. West Missori Volunteers.
Henry Vankaster 24 Mar. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Farmer; Severely wounded in           battle with Commanche; 26 June 1847; Discharged Disability 19 Aug. 1847        Santa Fe
Jno Wedeg 15 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability 15    Feb. 1848, Chihuahua, Mexico
Henry White 23 Mar. 1847 Jefferson Bks. Germany Farmer Discharged 19 Aug, 1858          Santa Fe

 

Muster Roll of Phil Kearny’s Company F of the First Dragoons, Following the Battle of Churubusco, Mexico City, October 31, 1847
Capt. Philip Kearny, Jr.         Sick
1st Lt. A. Buford                     Absent. Never Joined. Place and duty not known.
1st Lt. Richard Ewell             Commanding Company.
2d Lt. Oren Chapman           Joined from duty 2d Drags. 5 Sept. 1847

 

Non Commissioned Officers     When and where recruited

1st Sgt. David Reed               9 Jan. 46, Ft. Leavenworth
Sgt. Henry Hence                   23 Nov. 46, Sick
Sgt. Fleming Megan               8 Aug. 46, Terre Haute Sick, Pueblo, Mexico, since 8 Aug.
Corp. James Clark                  7 Sept. 46, St Louis
Corp. John Perkins                8 Aug. 46, Shelbyville
Corp. Wm Anderson             28 Aug. 46, St Louis
Bugler Joe Hodgson              25 Sept. 47, Joined City of Mexico
Farrier George Thompson    12 Jan. 44, Ft. Scott,  $2.00 stoppage garrison ct martial

 

Privates
Daniel Alaways                      21 Aug 46, Chilicotte
John Alaways                         “     “    “               “             Sick, Pueblo, Mexico, since 8 Aug.
Joseph Aleut                          21 July 46. St Louis
John Askins                            8 Aug. 46, Shelbyville     Detached service, since 31 Oct.
Allen Bullard                          13 Aug. 46, Terre Harte
Michael Brophy                     20 Apr. 46, Rayado, joined co. prisoner exch. Sept. 3
Thomas Bryant                      5 Aug 46, St Louis, Sick, Pueblo, Mexico since 8 Aug.
Morris Kane                           18 Sept. 46,  “    ”
Hugh Call                               16 Oct. 46, near St Louis
Peter Christman                    6 Dec. 43,  St Louis, Sick; wool infy coat, $2.28
Alonzo Clark                           16 May 47, Jalapa, Mexico,     joined during march.
James Curley                                     18 July, 46, St Louis
Eleazor Dort                                       10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
William Donovan                               29 Aug., St Louis                           Daily duty
David Dunton                        9 Dec. 46, Saltillo, Mex.               Daily Duty
Samuel Flint                           14 July, 46, Chilicotte
Philip Frankenberg               6 Aug. 46, Ft. Leavenworth, Sick, Puebla, Mex., 8 Aug.
Charles Graman                    10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute        Sick
David Giesler                                     21 July 46, Chillicothe
Andrew Gillespie                               26    ”      ”       ”
James Grace                                       16 June 46, Ft. Leavenworth
Jacob Grant                                        5 July 46, Jefferson Bks, Sick Puebla, Mex. 25 May
Augustus Gruber                               6 July 46, Ft. Leavenworth, Sick, Puebla, Mex., 8 Aug.
Thomas Hall                                       5 July 46, Jefferson Barracks, Sgt. until 29 October.
John Harper                                       28 July 46, Chillicote, Stoppage pistol $7.50.
Patrick Hart                                       4 August 46, St Louis; Tabacayo 5 Sept. prisoner exch.
Michael Henry                       12 Sept. 46, Philadelphia; from desertion 16 Feb 47.
Thomas Hewitt                      27 Aug. 46, Terre Haute, Sick, Puebla, Mex., since 8 Aug.
Henry Hoffman                     14 Jan. 46, Dayton                  Sick
Martin Howard                      11 Aug. 46, Terre Haute, Sick, Puebla, Mex., since 8 Aug.
John Howell                                       6 Feb. 46, Ft. Leavenworth; flannel shirt and pistol
William Jeffers                       19 Oct. 46, New Orleans
John Kaler                                          4 June 46, St. Louis
John Keckler                          17 Aug. 46, Chillicote
Levi Kimball                                       1 June 46, Sackett’s Harbor; Detached Service 31st Oct.
Antone Lange                                    14 Aug. 46, St Louis                     Daily duty.
William Martin                                  8 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
Persaruis Maypelle               25  July 46, St. Louis
John Moore                            10 Aug, 46, Terre Haute
Wm McAllister                       17 Aug. 46, Covington, Ind., 1 blanket $2.22.
Wm McCrea                                       19 Aug. 46, Roseau, Ind.         Daily duty.
John McDonald                      19 Aug. 46, Chillicote, pistol $7.50.
Anthony Pulver                     7 Dec. 46, Corpus Christi; det. ser. since 31 Oct.

Charles Prother                                 10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
Christian Ranner                   10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
John Roberts                                      1 April 47. Vera Cruz    Sick at Puebla since 8 August.
Frederick Rodewald              16 Aug 46, St Louis, left sick at Puebla since 8 August.
William See                                        15 Aug. 46, Terre Haute    Detached service since 31 Oct.
John Smith                                         10 Aug. 46.

John W Smith                                     “    “          “  , stoppage flannel shirt $1.30.
Robert Stewart                                  8    “       “     “          ”
James H Stevens                                1 Apr.  46, Vera Cruz.
Daniel Suter                                       6 Aug. 46, Ft. Leavenworth; Daily duty.
Clinton Thompson                14 Aug. 46, Terre Haute, sick at Puebla since 8 August.
Harvey Thompson                4 Aug. 46, Shelbyville; Daily duty.
James Thompson                              8 Aug. 46,        “                     Sick at Puebla since 8 August.
John Walkes                           24 Aug. 46, St. Louis; Sick
Joseph Westgenes                 17 Aug. 46,  “      “          “   ; Sick, Puebla since 8 Aug.
Robert Whitener                               7 Jan. 41, Ft. Crawford; Sick Perote, since 25 May.
Andrew Whitley                    31 July 46, Geldon, Ind.
William Wilson                                  25 Sept. 46, Jefferson Bks.
Robert Wright                       8 Aug. 46, Terre Haute.

 

 

  1. The Otoe Question: June 28, 1843, Jefferson Barracks Col. Kearny to Major Samuel Cooper, Assistant Adjutant General, 3rd Military Department, St. Louis, Missouri, Dragoon Letter Book 197

 

 

Sir.

 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from Major General Gaines, Commdg. 3d Military Dept. & of yesterday’s date on the subject of the late disorderly conduct of the Otoe Indians, and requiring a report from me of my opinion of the measures which should be adopted towards them.

By letters (which you sent to me, and from which I now return) from Capt. Burgwin, U.S. Dragoons, and Mr. Daniel Miller (Ind. Agent) it appears that Otoes are evincing “a restless and turbulent spirit, and that they have openly and directly insulted their agents and the Government.”—“That their feelings are hostile to the Government and the authorities”—“That they told him [their agent] that he must go away, and that they expected to find his house empty when they returned from their hunt”—“That their [sic] would return is about the 20th August”—That “they may have 350 or 400 warriors, active, well armed, and having the reputation of being misbehaved on that frontier”—and by the deposition of Mr. P. D. Passin and of Mr. T. Roberts it appears that the latter was dangerously wounded on the 9th inst. when they were peacefully descending the Platte River in their Boats, when opposite the Upper Platte Otoe Village, by a ball from a party of 10 or 12 Otoes, who fired four vollies of shot at them!

 

If a Military force is to be sent into the Indian Country, “to convince the Otoes & Missouri Indians into a sense of their duty to the Central Government”, as their agents Mr. Miller requires, is should be large enough to put down opposition (should any be exhibited) from 400 well armed and discontented Indian Warriors; and full powers should be given to the Officer in command to decide upon a Peace or War with them, as their conduct may call for! If it be deemed necessary to apprehend those Indians who on the 9th inst. fired at the Boats and wounded Mr. Roberts, it should be previously determined what it to be done with them? Will the Officer in command of the troops be authorized to caused those Indians to be whipped or authorized punished as is his judgment may deem with? I have no reservation in saying that it would have a bad affect to those Indians into the State of Missouri and turn them over to the civil court for trials–no testimony could be produced there which would ensure their conviction & [im]prisonment.

 

Another course towards the Otoes & one more pacific than the former may be entitled to consideration! They are now in receipt of annuities amounting to about $2,000! What would be the effect of instructions being given to their agent to tell them that he is directed to stop any further payments of their annuities—to present officially any direct or indirect intercourse between them and the Traders—to remove the Missionaries & any other White who may be living with them—that we with hold no kind of communications whatever with any of them, will they repent of their former bad conduct and then their submission and a proper respect to the Government of our Country & its Representatives sent among them. Should they not soon find their situation a deplorable & intolerable one! Like outlaws they would be surrounded by Persons of their own Race, enjoying privileges from which they were debarred & in sight of comforts & necessities which their own conduct prevented them from obtaining. Their annuities stopped & unable to get any thing from the Traders, and all their intercourse with the Whites having ceased. They would soon become the scorn of other Nations of Indians & would assuredly be made to feel it in with this subject, I have to state, that on the 25th April 1838, Capt. Boone & myself being commissioners under the Act of July 2, 1836, in a communication to the Q.M. General, urged upon the Secretary of War, the establishment of a Military Post at the mouth of Table Creek—I send a copy herewith—That point is in Otoe Country & a Post were would serve to quiet those Indians, as well as to produce much other good—It would be the starting point from the Missouri River to Oregon Country. Should a line of posts to connect them be determined upon & the point from which Emigrants to that Country will commence their land journey. The Sect. of War in June 1838 told me that he highly approved of the site selected, & that he would cause a Military Post to be established there, as soon as he could draw troops from Florida.

 

In connection also with this subject I have to state what I have frequently reported to the authorities in Washington, that the laws relating to the Indians could as much better executed & peace with them more officially secured, if Congress could be induced to proclaim Martial Law over the whole of the Indian Country.

Very Respectfully,

Your Ob[edient] Servant],

S.W. Kearny

Col. U.S. Dragoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Weapons Seized by Dragoons from the Snively Party in 1843.

 

29th Congress, 1st Session. Senate Document 43, 1846

DOCUMENTS SHOWING The description and value of the arms taken from a party of Texans, within the Territory of the United States, by Capt. Cooke, 1st Regt Dragoons, June 30, 1843, and deposited at Fort Leavenworth, Mo.

January 8, 1846.
Submitted, and ordered to be printed, to accompany bill S. No. 37

Head Quarters, Fort Leavenworth, 4th August, 1844. Sir : I have to acknowledge the receipt of the communication, addressed to me from your office by Capt. Freeman, Assistant Adjutant General, on the subject of the arms, &c, taken from a party of Texans on the 30th June, 1843, by Capt. P. St. G. Cooke; and I now transmit a return of those arms, and a report of a board of officers convened by my order, for the purpose of furnishing the information desired by Captain Freeman for the department of State.

I understand from the president of the board that the value placed upon the several arms is rather their worth, with respect to condition when seized, and their probable cost, than their value here, and now.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

  1. WHARTON,

Major 1st Dragoons, commanding.

Brigadier General Jones,

            Adjutant General, Washington, D. C.

Proceedings of a board of survey convened at Fort Leavenworth by virtue of the following orders, viz:

Orders}                       Head Quarters, Fort Leavenworth, Mo.

No. 85}                       August 3, 1844.

Extract.

A board of officers, to consist of Capt. Moore, 1st dragoons, 1st Lieut. Johnson, and bvt. 2d Lieut. McClelland, 3d infantry, will assemble this morning at half past 9 o’clock,, and proceed to ascertain “the number, description, and condition, and as nearly as may be the value of the arms ken from a party of Texans on the 30th of June, 1843, by Capt. P. St.Geo. Cooke, commanding a detachment of U. S. dragoons,” and which arms are now in possession of the ordnance sergeant, by whom they will be shown the board. As the report of the board is intended for the
Department of State, the board will be as minute as possible in stating the variety, condition, and value of the respective arms.
By order of Major Wharton:

  1. C. HAMMOND, Bvt. 2d Lieut. 1st DragoonsPost Adjutant

Fort Leavenworth, August 3,1S44.

The board met pursuant to the above orders: present, all the members.

The board then proceeded to the careful examination of a number of arms presented by Sergeant Hemming [sic, Ross Flemming], ordnance sergeant at Fort Leavenworth, being those taken from a party of Texans by Capt. P. St. Geo. Cooke, viz: Thirty flint lock rifles, valued at eighteen dollars each, including the barrel of one which has no stock, which appears to have been 1st in transportation. Twelve percussion rifles, valued at twenty-two dollars and fifty cents, including the barrel of one which has no stock, which appears to have been lost in transportation. Fifteen English flint lock guns, valued at ten dollars each. Three tower pieces, valued at seven, dollars each. One large American flint lock shot gun, valued at twenty dollars. Two double barreled flint lock shot guns, stub and twist, at fifty dollars each. Four percussion lock double barreled shot guns and twist, valued at sixty five dollars each. Three half stock Middletown rifles, percussion lock, valued at eighteen dollars each. One full stock percussion lock, valued at eighteen dollars. One half-stock flint lock Middletown rifle, valued at eighteen dollars. Two American dragoon carbines, valued at seventeen dollars each. One American and two Texas muskets valued at sixteen dollars each. Four pairs of flint lock holster piston valued at twenty dollars a pair. Two pairs percussion lock pistols, valued at forty dollars a pair. Eight flint lock holster pistols, odd, valued at ten dollars apiece. Seven percussion lock belt pistols, valued at fifteen dollars apiece. One percussion lock duelling pistol, valued at forty dollars. One sabre and scabbard, brass mounted, valued at ten dollars. One steel mounted sabre, no scabbard, valued at ten dollars. One steel sword and scabbard valued at ten dollars.

The board are of opinion that the arms are considerably injured from rust, and many of them broken, apparently from transportation from the place of capture.

  1. D. MOORE, Capt. 1st Dragoons. B. R. JOHNSON, 1st Lieut. 3d Infantry. Geo. C. McClelland, Bvt. 2d Lieut. 3d Infantry

The above is the original official record.

  1. WHARTON,

         Major 1st Dragoons, commanding

 

Return of arms taken from a party of Texans, by Capt. P. St. G. Cooke, 1st Regt. Dragoons, June 30, 1843, within the territory of the United States, and now deposited in the ordnance store at Fort Leavenworth, Missouri.

No.      Description of arms.

30        Flint lock rifles.
12        Percussion rifles.
15        English flint lock shot guns.
3          Tower pieces.

1          Large American flint lock shot gun.

2          Double barreled flint lock, stub and twist, shot guns.

4          Percussion lock, double barreled, stub and twist, shot guns.

2          Half-stock, percussion lock, Middletown rifles.

1          Full stock, percussion lock, Middletown rifle.

1          Half-stock, flint lock, Middletown rifle.

2          American dragoon carbines.

1          American musket.

2          Texas muskets.

4          Pairs flint lock holster pistols.

4          Pairs percussion lock pistols.

8          Flint lock holster pistols.

7          Percussion lock belt pistols.

1          Percussion lock dueling pistol.

1          Sabre and scabbard, brass mounted.

1          Sabre, no scabbard, steel mounted.

1          Steel sword and scabbard.

Head Quarters, Fort Leavenworth,

August 5, 1844.

  1. WHARTON, Major

 

  1. D. Plans to return Arapahoe Captives, Col. Kearny to Capt. William Eustes, Dragoon Letter Book 1845:270

 

Head Quarters, 1st Regt. Dragoons

Camp on Platte River 55 miles

Above Ft. Laramie

June 18, 1845

Sir,

Two men of Co. Pvts Callahan & Buckner return to your camp in charge of a Squaw and 2 children, supposed to belong to the Arapahoe Tribe of Indians, and having seen out column from a bluff on the opposite side of the river, followed on and came into camp after we had halted for he day. The Squaw relates as far as her signs and language have been understood, that she is of the Arapahoe Tribe, and living on the prairies north of us with a party of Ree Indians, they were attacked by a War party of Sioux, and that she with the 2 of her was permitted to escape, the rest having been killed. The Colonel supposes that through the interpreter at Laramie you will be able to obtain more satisfactory information from this Squaw, and he instructs me to say that should an opportunity [arise?] offer of sending her home, that you will do so—if not, that you will give her protection in your Camp until our return, when she can accompany us towards the Arkansas and be returned to her people.

 

Capt. W. Eustes                                             I am Sir,

Comdg Dragoon Camp                                   Very respectfully,

Near Fort Laramie                                           Your Hum. Servt.

Platte River                                                     Signed H.H. Turner

Adjt. 1st Drags.

 

P.S. Should you have an opportunity, the Colonel desires that you will write to some one at Bents Fort starting that we expect to be three towards the last of July and will need the Government provisions supposed to be there.

  1. Correspondence between Capts. Sumner and Cooke with the Adjutant General re their availability for war with Mexico.

 

Fort Atkinson Iowa
May 18th 1846
General
I have this day received the startling information of the commencement of hostilities in Texas. As I presume this will lead to the rapid concentration of all our regular troops that can possibly be spared from their present stations, among the rest a large part of the 1st regiment of dragoons, I hasten to state to you that Capt. Cooke’s company and my own can be withdrawn from this frontier. If a single company of volunteers was raised (which can be easily and quickly down) to garrison this post, with a detachment at Fort Crawford, and the frontier put under the charge of Governor Dodge [original Colonel of the 1st Dragoons, at this time Governor of Wisconsin Territory], it would be perfectly secure. The Winnebagoes, although troublesome, are not at all inclined to be hostile, and there is no man in the country for whom they have more respect & fear than for Govr. Dodge.
These two companies of dragoons are full and effective, the horses are in fine condition, and I can safely guaranty they will do good Service.
We could leave immediately, & could join the Army in Texas (by Steamboats) in less than 20 days from the receipt of the order. Will you please take this subject into consideration. Capt. Cooke and myself have been so long in Service it would be very humiliating to us, to be left at these remote posts, while the rest of the army, and particularly our own regiment was actively engaged in the field.
I am Sir,
With high respect
Your obt. Servt.
Signed E. V. Sumner
Capt. 1 Drags
[To:] Brig Gen. G. M. Brooke
Comdg 3rd Dept
True Copy
PS GeoCooke
Capt. 1. Drags

[the following personal enclosure was included:]
Fort Atkinson Iowa
May 18th ’46
My dear Sir
I have just addressed you officially about affairs in Texas. May I ask the favor of you to do what you can for me consistently with your public views. I have been so long in service and on a peace establishment at that, it would be particularly mortifying to me to be left up here, if the rest of my regiment takes the field. I don’t know what effect this news will have upon the Bill for the Mounted [Rifle] Regiment. It appears to me there is some secret and powerful hostility to that bill. If it should be determined to replace my compy with volunteers, Mr. Rice [Henry M. Rice, Post sutler, soon to be Tty Congressional Delegate for Minnesota, later a Senator as it became a state ] will raise a company, if authorized to do so, and he would be an excellent person to take charge of these two posts [Fort Crawford, Wisconsin Tty, also] and all the public property for he is both responsible and careful.
I am Sir
Very sincerely yours
E V. Sumner
[To:] Genl Geo. Brooke

[Attached letter]
Fort Atkinson Iowa
May 18th ’46
My Dear Sir

Index 218-C, 1846, filed with 80-K, 1846
Fort Crawford May 20th 1846
Sir,
I enclose this with a letter from Capt. Sumner Commander of Fort Atkinson reporting that his and my company can be spared from this part of the frontier at this time with other states & remarks relative to the commencement of hostilities at the south.
So far as my short command here has enabled me to judge of its Indian relations, I must concur with the opinion of Capt. Sumner which he has had every opportunity to mature & I heartily respond to his whole letter.
The 1st Regiment of Dragoons have steadily matured & perfected a system of tactics and discipline of cavalry, its equipment for, and the art of making, long and active campaigns without disorganization or deterioration. The Mexicans are understood to be strong in this arm, (which must be met by its like,) and it is precisely that which cannot be created on such a sudden requisition as the present war, which takes the most time & pain for sufficient organizations.
Under these circumstances I trust the general has even anticipated our earnest request to be sent where we may be of much more importance to the public service.
Very respectfully
Yr. Obt. Servant
PSGeoCooke
Capt. 1st Drags.
Comdg
[To:] Lieut R. B. Garnett [for Brooke]
ADC &AAAdjGen 3 Mil. Dept.
Saint Louis

 

  1. Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales, as reported in the Santa Fe Republican, April 22, 1848.

 

CAPTURE OF SANTA CRUZ

We copy the following from the Santa Cruz

Banner, a small sheet published at that place by P. G. Ferguson.

 

On the first of March Gen Price set out from El Paso with four companies of the Missouri regiment of horse under command of Colonel Ralls, two companies of U. S. Dragoons under command of Major Beall, and two mounted howitzers with an artillery detachment under command of Capt Hasseduebel for a forced march upon the city of Chihuahua, 300 miles distant, south from El Paso, at Carasel [sic, Carrizal], 100 miles upon the road.  The Santa Fe battalion, Major Walker’s, joined us, making in all, nine companies, with which we marched on to Chihuahua, in the unprecedented time of six days; reached the city with the nine companies, but the enemy under Gen. Trias, with his forces some eight hundred strong, with principally Cavalry, had left some12 hours before with all the public property, including a [blurred] of newer artillery for the South.  A few hours after our arrival at Chihuahua, we were put en route to over take the enemy.  Our forced march upon the city exhausted a great many of our horses and men and we set out for the South with skeletons of nine companies, numbering in all about 300; with this force, we kept our march in pursuit—we made sixty miles march in about 12 hours, and approached Santa Cruz at about sunrise,where the enemy had already fortified himself, his batteries fixed, and full and efficient disposition made for defence of the place, he having reinforced himself to the number of about 1200 in all behind his barriers, also occupying the church itself, a perfect fortification.  As we moved our column around the west of the city, a nine pounder was discharged by the enemy, passing our centre, when several of the companies of his infantry filed through the balcony, ranging in order upon the church, a person supposed to be a priest, harangued them, and the surrounding populace, a part of which was heard and distinctly understood, was replied to by loud cheers by the soldiery, and the people with many “vivas” “vivas” and vevar Republicano Mexicano.”

 

An express was sent back to hurry on the pieces, and the place was put under siege.  We permitted no communication with the place, allowed omen and children and non-combatants two days to leave the city with their effects, when our pickets were closed upon them. The siege last from the 9th to the 16th. Many attempts were made by parties of the enemy during the siege or leave the town, but few succeeded—now and then, a fleet horse would out run our pickets and get to the mountains.  The third day of the siege, the commander of one of the pickets, sent word to the general that a number were escaping, which he could not prevent, his picket was too small.

 

On the morning of the 16th, Lieut. Col. Lane, arrived with artillery &C., and we received the enemy’s invitation to come on.  Our forces are referred to the reports of Col Ralls and to Lt. Col. Lane in this number, which detail their part of the affair.  The reports of Major Walker andBeall would make this account complete.  Maj.Walker’s command distinguished itself by storming the South of the town while the dragoons acted well the part assigned them, and Capt. Hassandeuebel [sic] and Lieut. Love, gallantly

managed their batteries the whole day, with great science and skill. The charge of Col Rall’s column was a splendid affair.  It moved like a thunder-bolt, precisely in the direction it was sent spreading dismay, death and destruction, and it was over this column that Col Sanchez extended the flag of surrender.  It was a proud day for all, but for those leading and directing this column, it was particularly so, and Col Ralls in his report has but rendered justice to his officers and men, and that report does that commander distinguished honor for the virtue of his head and heart.

 

An entire park of artillery was captured with about 2,000 stand of arms and munitions, with other public property to the value of seven to eight hundred thousand dollars. We captured the whole force, including thirty commissioned officers, Gov. Maj. General Trias at their head. After the day had nearly expired we learned that the place could only be carried by storming. The order to charge was given, and in one hour’s time the city surrendered, our arms as ever, victorious, adding another trophy to the Fame of the great Republic we serve.

 

LIST OF THE KILLED AND WOUNDED. – 2d Lieut. George O. Hepburn of Co. D, privates Schafenberg and Bockman, co. B.

WOUNDED.—Private Ripper, Greff and Dedrich, co. B, Jackson, Kearnes, Williams and Gillam, co. D.

We also understand by a private letter that a young man by the name of Maston, commissary Sergeant, started out from Santa Cruz, to meet Love’s command, and has never since been found or heard from, he is supposed to have been killed.

  1. Dragoon Recruitment Advertisement 1847

On the front page of the Indianapolis Indiana Journal for February 8, 1847, there appeared the following notice:
UNITED STATES ARMY
Recruiting Service: Wanted for the United States Army,
able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35 years, being
above 5 feet 3 inches, of good character, and of respectable
standing among their fellow citizens. None need apply to en-
ter service, but those who are determined to serve the period
of their enlistment, honestly and faithfully for the term of five years.
Table of established rates of pay agreeably to existing laws.
Monthly Pay
Sergeant Major, Quarter-
Master Sergt. Chief Musician
and Chief Bugler, $17
1st Sergeant of a Company 16
Ordnance Sergeant 18
All other Sergeants, 13
Corporals 10
Buglers 9
Musicians 8
Farriers 11
Privates 8
Besides the monthly pay, as above stated, one ration per day
is allowed every soldier, which is amply sufficient for his sub-
sistence; also a large supply of comfortable and genteel cloth-
ing. Good quarter and fuel are at all times furnished; and
every attention will be paid to those men who may enlist and
are determined to serve their country in good faith. The best
medical attendance is always provided for the sick soldier; and
no deduction of pay is made during the period he is unable to
perform his duty. Should the soldier be disabled in the line of his
duty, the laws provide a pension for him.
By the above it is seen that pay and allowances are res-
pectably and that, with prudence and economy, the monthly
pay of the soldier may be laid up—”as every thing requisite for
his comfort and convenience is furnished by the Government,
including sugar and coffee. The prudent soldier, therefore,
may readily save from $420 to $1020 during his enlistment of
Five years; and at the expiration of the term he can, if he
chooses, purchase a small farm in any of the Western States,
and there settle himself comfortably, on his own land, for the
rest of his life.
JOHN LOVE,
1st Lieut. 1st regt. Dragoons
Recruiting Rendezvous
Drakes Hotel

  1. Letters from Corporal Matthias Baker, Company B., 1846-1847

Santa Fe, Mexico, Sep 13th 1846
Dear Sister [Mrs. Hugh Martin],
I suppose that by my previous letter you have long since known my starting for Mexico and by this time you will see I have advanced as far as Santa Fe which at present is held by an American Army, commanded by Gen—™l Kearney [sic]. You will have seen by the papers that the Mexican soldiers & officers on the approach of the American Army, retired and totally dispersed. The whole country gave up without a gun being fired, if I except the firing of the American Artillery (blank cartridges) on this day of the entry into Santa Fe. I am much disappointed in this country. It is bare of wood and water, mountainous and the only parts they can cultivate is [sic] a few of the valleys that are watered by springs and small streams from the Mountains. The houses of town and country are built of mud bricks dried in the sun, are one story high and have no windows, so when the door is shut the room is dark at mid-day. However they are very warm in the winter & cool in summer. The roofs all flat. They raise corn, wheat onions, no potatoes, have thousands of goats sheep, some cattle, plenty of asses and mules with some fine Pony horses. The silver and gold mines siren to be plenty and no doubt before long Yankee skill & perseverance will bring many to light, as yet undiscovered. The Americans have heretofore been afraid to hunt for and work the mines on account of the Indians, who have been the Real masters of the country. But the American Dragoons will soon learn them to keep quiet. They have no mills for grinding wheat except some small hand concerns, and they have to use to the sieve or what is commonly done [to] eat bran and all. They kill-dry both corn & wheat. They have some apples & peaches as well as melons and their grapes equal those I saw in France. They are fond as a nation of dancing and have Fandangos every night in town & country and the way the Mexican Senora dances could be a caution to a Broadway belle. The beauty of Mexican ladies is not generally great but in some cases is extraordinarily fine and brilliant. They become women very young and marry early, but fade and become old & haggard in proportion. Indian blood is almost universally mixed through out the population & the language is far from the pure Spanish. I have given you some few ideas of this country & people but cannot dwell at length on the subject now. You know I must have something to talk about when I see you. I suppose you are anxious to know when that may be, I cannot say for certainly when for I start the 25th of this month to go some hundreds of miles south into the country, to Chuwauwau and then west into California, to Monterey, about 1400 miles off. This is the most healthy country in the world, and I am much larger and heavier than ever before. It rains only in the Spring & Fall. You would laugh to see what a complexion I have, burnt to the colour of Mahogany and with an immense Moustachios.
This will be carried by Government express to Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri about 1000 miles from this and hence mailed to New York. I wish you would write me and direct to me care of Major E. C. Sumner Santa Fe via Fort Leavenworth, Missouri. I wish you would also have mailed to me the latest N.Y. Weekly Herald. I suppose the difficulties between the two countries have been settled before this time, if not all our troops have to do is to march from our part of of the country to the other for the Mexican Army will not fight.
Well good bye for the present. Remember me to all of the members of our family. I am anxious to hear how brother James—™ healt is. I have not heard since he left for England. I hope you are in good health and spirits. I always am,
Affectionately your brother,
M. L. Baker
Fort Leavenworth Dec. 10 1846
Dear Nephew,
I was much pleased to receive your letter in fact I was delighted to receive a communication from any one East, but was most highly gratified to get a letter from you which is perhaps the first one you have sent to any one. Your first inquiry is —œare you in the Army—and next add that my previous letter must have been miscarried as none had been received.— That must be the reason, the letter must have been miscarried and therefore you left in ignorance of my whereabouts. And so you hope I am not in the Army! Why not? Should a consideration of fear keep an American back when he may be wanted by his country to fight for its causes? No my dear boy; you should not have any selfish feelings on such a subject, you should hope and wish for a x welfare that would go to the x , but at the same time feel proud of a relative—™s determination in such a matter. Yes, my dear boy, I am in the Army, and although I do not rank as high as some yet without the influence of powerful friends, but my merit alone am already a N. C. Officer of B Troop of the U.S. Dragoons. I went out last spring under Gen Kearney [sic] and was with him in entering the Mexican Territory and in the taking of Santa Fe. When Gen. Kearney [sic] left for California our Company was broken up and the men out in other companies to fill them up, and our officers ordered to the U.States to fill up a new company. Some are now in Ohio, St. Louis & [et]c recruiting for us and by spring our Troop will be organized and sent to the seat of War. As to the exact point I cannot say, perhaps, to join the Southern Army commanded by Gen Taylor or which is very probable ordered to California. But the whereabouts is very uncertain as a soldier seldom knows where his presence may be wanted for an hour ahead.
We had a hard time of it in coming from Santa Fe this time of the year. Scarcely any grass was left, and very little wood. We had two six mule teams and one four mule carriage and put in much corn as we could carry besides our own food. We could only give our mules but two quarts a day! Yet enough of them lived to bring our waggons to this post, having lost about Ten, but we replaced them by saddle mules and by the saddle party (17.) walking the last 150 miles. Yet notwithstanding all this we made the trip in thirty one (31) days! We had plenty of Buffalo and Antelope meat on the way with an occasional Squirrel, Hare. Turkey & [et]c. Some shoot the Prairie Dogs but I don—™t fancy them as for friends and inhabitants of their holes [,] Owls, a Rattlesnake and a horned frog! This is singular, but true and the Frog is a most curious and beautiful animal, entirely harnless. The Dog is about the size of a plump rabbit and their meat and [et]c resembles a squirrel, but they resemble very much a bull pup as they sit at the mouth oftheir holes and bask at you. They live in Towns, never above, for when you come across a dog hole you will see debris in extent all dug up huge rattle snakes running in and out of the holes, here and there, an Owl hopping in and out, the prairie dog shaking his little tail and shirilly barking, while here and there is the most curious of all curious animals the horned frog. The Grass grows around a dog town. For hundreds of mile in the Buffalo range, we see in all directions as far as the eye the eye can reach the ground blackened by Buffalo. To look at this you would not expect they could run very fast but it takes a very fast horse to keep up with them. Their meat is most excellent and no butter can compare to the marrow in their bones. A person can eat four fold the quantity of this meat than of Beef, and feel no inconvenience. The road is infested part of the way by the Comanche Indians, but we saw none of them except one evening, when by a timely precaution we perhaps saved ourselves from a night attack. The place is called Rocky Point and is noted for many attacks being made there by the Indians on Traders & others. We noticed on coming into Camp we noticed some dung from Indian ponies grazing at a . . . .and suspected immediately that some of these devils were in the neighborhood. As soon as we got supper over a few of us went out armed to the teeth to reconnoitre. We had had proceeded about one hundred yards when the Mules were panicked, when up jumps an Indian from behind a rock and starts off with the speed of a Deer. He was distant—“above 90 or 100 yds when he started, and it being after dark he certainly could be x seen again, but on [letter damaged hereon] carbine at the rascal but none of the Balls hit him as he . . . . coursed and suddenly disappeared among the rocks. . . . . him/loading as we ran, but could find no trace . .. . . put on guard to keep watch but we sure . . . . more by them. They know the difference between a Dragoon . . . . I find my letter must come to a close for . . . .

Fort Leavenworth April 28, 1847

My Dear Boy,
I received your letter a short time since and from its date, I see that it has laid in the office for some time. In the Army, we know not at which moment our services may be required and although we may be at this post to day, yet we may be about some fifty miles by the morrow. Such as been the case with me during the past winter. I have been ordered to take charge of a party to go among the Indians, and in one quarter of an hour have been in my saddle, and on my journey, fully armed and equipped. Such is a Dragoon—™s life, he must have always, all his accoutrements ready, and in the proper place, so that whether we are ordered night or day, it makes no difference in the dispatch. I have been called upon at 10 O Clock at night and traveled without moment—™s rest the distance of one hundred and forty miles. Some say a soldier—™s life is an easy or lazy life. In some respects, the Infantry does lead such a life (as garrison), but no one can say our Corps, (that is the Dragoons) are ever idle. I will give you a small detail of my duties during the day. I rise at Reveille (that is early dawn.) The men are all formed into line and the roll called = one half hour. After Drill Call is blown, and we mount our horses and Exercise with Carbine, Sabre and pistol for an hour or so. Then comes breakfast call. The men are all paraded and they march into the eating room. But previous to this all the horses are thoroughly groomed and watered. In mornings we have ourselves except we may be on Guard or on some fatigue party, which a non commissioned officer (like myself) always has charge of—”in x. (for a non commissioned officer is not supposed to labor at all) At 12 O Oc[lock] Stable Call, when all the horses are led into line and watered. At One O Clock Dinner. At Two—”Drill for something like an hour. At Six P.M. stable call, the horses groomed, watered, & [et]c. At sun down, Retreat sounds, all are paraded during the fifteen minute of the Band playing, from thence to supper and at 9 Oclock Tattoo sounds, all parade again answer to their names. Half an hour after this call sounds second Tattoo, at which all the lights in the garrison are put out, and all have retired to bed. Such is a garrison life of a Dragoon, and considering the different set of arms he has to use, as well as his horse equipage, all of which must be in a clean state, I am sure no one can say he has an idle and lazy life. At our leisure moments, we repair to the library and read the papers & periodicals of the day and take perhaps some work home to our quarters to peruse. I have been very busy since I last wrote you. Lately a number of Recruits have arrived from St Louis all of which now being drilled. Three of us have that duty to perform, dividing the men into different squads. I need not say it is a very serious task to be drilling a lot of green horns and especially when they are sometimes so Dutch as not to understand or be understood. Our Company is about full and will be organized either here or at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis in about three weeks, when we will get orders to proceed either to join Gen. Scott or, once again, to visit Santa Fe, I prefer the latter, on account of the climate for it is the most healthy climate in the world. Wherever I go, I shall sit down before I start, and let you know so you will do in the public print the departure of B. Company. I should like much to see you all again, but no one cannot say when. Certainly not until the close of the War and maybe not for some years afterwards. You must let me hear from you, as soon as you receive this, for I know not how soon I may be on my way to Mexico, and be sure to give me all the news concerning the family & [et]c. & [et]c. I am enjoying the best of health and satisfied and contented with my present mode of life.
When the war closes, I may perhaps leave the Army, but I do not promise for I may have inducement held forth to help me, for the balance of my life. But if such shall be the case, I shall see you much more and perhaps more for I can get a furlough (that is, leave of absence) when the Army is laying still. My dear boy, make as rapid progress as possible in your studies, for perhaps you may in time be thrown on the world like myself and then you will see the advantages of improving one—™ self in early life. Give my love to Pa & Ma, as well as other friends and relatives. I much need close, so good bye and believe me to be an uncle that wishes you all the happiness this world can bestow.
M. S. Baker
Corporal B Troop & 1st Regiment
of U.S. Dragoons

  1. Please say, I received the Phila. papers and should be pleased to receive any that my friends would take the trouble to send me.

Council Grove                      June 14, 1847
My dear Nephew,
We arrived at this place to day and will remain encamped until the morning—”On the 17th inst., Company B 1st Dragoons left Ft. Leavenworth as an escort and Guard to Maj Bodine Paymaster in U.S. army who takes out some $350,000 —“ to pay off troops in Santa Fe.  We are about 100 strong and have 12 waggons —“ On the 3d day out an express brought out the last Eastern mail and was pleased to receive your one (a letter) from you. I can spare but a moment to acquaint you that I am again going out to New Mexico —“ I forgot to say we have 120 waggons loaded with provisions for our troops in Santa Fe which are a few days ahead of us which will proceed in company as soon as we get up. The whole road is full of hostile Indians who are plundering all the trains not guarded by a military escort. They have some 800 lodges about 200 miles from here and it is our commanding officers intention to give battle on coming up. They are Comanches & Pawnees. I hope we may be able to find them and give them a severe punishment for they richly deserve it —“ Yesterday we met a train waggons belonging to the Government returning and they had a man who was scalped by three monsters —“ Four of the men were out hunting buffalo, when suddenly the Indians burst on them killing two, wounding one who escaped and the fourth supposing him dead took his scalp!! His friends found him still breathing, they took him to the waggons, and by a miracle almost is still alive. It was a horrific sight, not a vestige of hair remains and the skin was taken off clean to the skull! It made a great impression on our men and they swear signal vengence on such demons. We just now hear they have taken the mules from a train of ours ahead of 30 waggons, we of course move rapidly and try to regain them with other property. The Mexicans have visited these tribes and made them presents to induce them to harass & stop all American trains. I shall not be surprised that after having been to Santa Fe we shall have to return and Guard this road until Winter sets in —“My health continues uninterruptedly good. You must not expect a long letter for I have little chance to write much. You can see by any large map of the U. Sates where I am penning these few lines —“ it is 160 miles from Ft. Leavenworth. We have made but small progress as yet owing to the roads which are the worst in the whole route. Give my love to Ma & Pa Also to my relatives and friends. I may perhaps never be permitted to see you again and I will again remind you to pursue your studies diligently while you have the chance, to be kind & dutiful to your dear Parents for you cannot expect to have them always with you and you will in so doing remember your Uncles advice after having grown to manhood and learned by experience and observation the cares & duties of the life man. I should much like to see you my dear nephew before I shall I suppose you will have grown to be quite a man. If any one should wish to write me they can direct to me B. troop U S Dragoons Santa Fe via Ft. Leavenworth and I will get it sooner or later. Well I must close and bid you and all friends good bye and believe me to be your affectionate uncle.
M Baker
P.S, It is uncertain whether we remain in Santa Fe, go to California go to the Southern Army and come back to guard the road, or return immediately to Ft. Leavenworth, but when we started we expected we should return to Ft. Leavenworth. I am glad to hear brother James is in such good health and spirits. My best respects to folks next door &c &c.
Your &c
M. L. B.

Arkansaw River one days march
From Pawnee Forks June 27 1847
My dear Nephew
When I last wrote you I was at Council Gove on my way to Santa Fe. After leaving there we proceeded on our journey and nothing of note happened until we reached Pawnee Forks, where we arrived just one day late to have had an encounter with a party of Comanches & Pawnees, who attacked a homeward bound train of waggons  and drove off over one hundred oxen and wounding some of the men. We found here two government ox trains of thirty waggons each, which started the next day with us. Two other trains of thirty each had started some two or three days ahead. We traveled some 16 to 18 miles and encamped on the Arkansaw. At Revielle or light the next morning we discovered that the Indians had made a charge on Haydens train and were driving off their oxen —“ The order to saddle and mount our horses was given and in a few moments all were in the saddle.  I was among the first in the ranks, but was ordered to remain behind to help guard the camp.  About Twenty one men (only) started off in pursuit of the Indians —“ Opposite to us on the other sie of the river, was a large crown of Indians, ready to cross and fall on our camp if we went away with our men. Our men (21) headed by a sergeant made a gallant charge on the Indians and they commenced to run off. At this time the Indians on the other side run their horses up the river a few hundred yards, crossed and charged in the rear after our men. The Indians in front seeing this, turned around and there was our poor fellows with enemies in the front & rear and ten to one at least (When the Indians commenced crossing the river I foresaw the result and wanted only twenty men to attack them and keep them from attacking our men in the rear but our commanding officer Lt. Love would not send the men and the result was horrid to relate. I make no comment, but leave the facts to speak for themselves) There was at least two hundred warriors all mounted, with lances, bows & arrows & a few guns, all of them on trained horses and themselves the best horsemen in the world. Those could not last only a few moments, when our men made a retreat for camp at the top of their horses speed. They got by this time all the cattle, some 70 to 80 yoke of oxen across the river and had about one hundred and fifty men on foot during this part. The first man that came in was Segt. Bishop, wound with a bullet just above the kidneys. He is not as yet thought dangerous, although it is rather doubtful. The next was a young man by the name of Vancaster, son of a German Baron, who fell from loss of blood &c off his horse some 200 yds from Camp. Besides being lanced, he had an arrow, still in him, which entered under the right arm and the steel point was sticking out through him just above the heart. He still is living but his has is thought hopeless. The next was the Farrier of the Company Seeing he was fainting I ran out, several hundreds from camp and held him on his horse until he got in. He held on to his sabre until I told him to let go his grasp. His case is doubtful, another came in lanced in the back and is very bad to day, but not dangerous. Two belonging to my mess were slightly wounded with lances. The roll was called and we found five men missing & party of umounted and went over the field of battle and the first one we found was the dead body of a fine young man of my mess —“named Arlidge. He was stripped of all clothing, but his scalp wasn’t taken. Then on looking around we found the dead bodies of three more Blake, Short & Dickhart, all three were horribly butchered. Most besides being lanced in a dozen places had his throat cut from ear to ear. Dickhart had his ears cut off and mouth mutilated. All of these three had their scalps taken.We buried them all in a single grave with honors of war. The fifth man, Gaskin, we did not find until this morning, he was dreadfully mutilated, his scalp was not taken, but half of his hair was pulled out, I suppose the one that killed him had no knife about him. So you see we have had five brave fellows taken from us and six wounded, four of them badly. We do not know for a certainty how many of the Indians died with them, but it cannot fall short of thirty, for almost all of our men killed one and those of our men that got killed, each killed two to four & five.  The Indians have not as yet made another attack, but we expect nothing else every moment. We are well prepared for them. The two ox trains lay close along the side of us and shall remain here until we can get cattle to take along the waggons.  There are some days behind us several hundred head of cattle going to Santa Fe, which when they come up will I suppose be put in the waggons. We have just learned the Indians have taken and destroyed the new fort lately built at Jackson Grove near the crossing of the Arkansaw. They killed three men, the rest escaped with a six pounder and have gone to Santa Fe with Smiths train as guards. We are somewhat fearful they will in a few days bring a still larger number and give us battle. I do Not think they can harm us, as long as we remain encamped as we now are, and very soon we will have a reinforcement as several companies of volunteers are on the road. Almost all the men remain under arms day & night. I have given you a hasty but impartial account of this tragic event, and one must be on the spot & participate in the scene to have any idea. It may be my fate never more to return if such should be the case it is my wish that whatever may be due me by government as well as my other property shall become your own. I will write again when I arrive in Santa Fe. Give my love to Ma, Pa, and all my relatives and friends. Good bye. God bless you, and sometimes if you see me no more spare a moment to think of your uncle
M L Baker
P.S. An express starts at dark for Fort Leavenworth by which I sent you this letter. I hope it may get through safe.

  1. Two Dragoon Deserters in Puebla, Mexico

The Puebla American Star for June 20, 1847, reported:

DESERTERS—No instance could more clearly demonstrate the fats we urged in our last, relative to the treatment deserters would receive from the enemy, than the fact that we are going to state:–Two dragoons having taken French leave from their quarters, thought they would better their condition by repairing to the enemy’s camp. They had not proceeded three leagues on the road to Alixco, before they fell in with a party of the enemy, who stripped them of every thing but their shirts. The greasers then took their arms, mounted their fine American horses, and rode off, notwithstanding the deserters exhibited to them a pass from a Mexican officer in Puebla. The most degraded nation in the world despises a deserter, and the treatment such as the above shows it. This is the way they pay deserters for their arms and public property they may take away with them. Excellent indeed.

  1. P. Kearny to Love 1848 re Churubusco

 

On Nov 4, 1848, Kearny wrote the following to fellow 1st Dragoon, Lt. John Love.

I understand that there are whispered rumors of rashness on my part to detract from what our troop did at Churubusco. My answer is, that those who investigate the matter will find far sooner cowardice, (of, at least, a moral nature), and stupid doltish incapacity on the part of Col. Harney, who interfered with our columns which he was too far in the rear to comprehend the position of. I hold Harney, who took the command out of my hands, responsible for sounding the “Recall” at all, or too late, [as when the head of it being committed, the foremost were left in the lurch.] From the first moment of seeing the “El Pinon,” and understanding the enemy’s double line of defences, I had determined, when opportunity offered, to win distinction for ourselves, by ___?___ into the second line of defences, protected by their own fugitives. It was on the eve of accomplishing this, when I found the rear part of the column had been withdrawn. The ordeal of [re]-calling a squadron of ho[rse] on a hard gravelled [sic] avenue [[with?]] cries, in the [[turn]] around & confusion to boot!!! Lt. [Julian] May [Mounted Rifles] recalled the men from his rear. Neither Ewell nor myself, nor Sergt. Reid ever saw or heard him. Thank God we are all young. I may have another chance yet. You would be surprised to find how little the loss of an arm incommodes me. I heard from Ewell yesterday. He is at “Buckland, Prince William County, Virginia.”See him if you can. We old men of the First must rally warmly to each other. We are all getting (young though we be) too old & form new friendships and god knows our late [ranks?] & [dearest?] ones have been decimated. I was very glad that Mrs. Stewert has seen you. Believe me, very Truly Yours
P. Kearny

  1. Col. Thomas Swords writes to Capt. Love

Washington City. March 8, 1850

 

My Dear Love,

I had hoped that before that I should be able to tell you something definite in relation to this detestable matter about Schumburg, but it appears this subject is not yet settled. The Senate in acting on the nomination of Ewell, refused to confirm it and called the attention of the President to a former resolution brought by them.  I have understood that the President replied that he was aware of the resolution, and the Secy of War had investigated and made a report on the case–here the subject rests for the present. The President says he will never nominate Schumburg, so the vacancy may remain open, at least until another occurs either among the Captaincies or First Lieutenancies, as if S. is not placed on the Register as 1st Lt. [,] the Senate may refuse the confirmation [of] the next nomination of 1st Lieut.

Everybody here is in quite good spirits to-day from the effect of Mr. Webster’s speech delivered yesterday and the disunion stock is getting quite below par, if they table the question over a few weeks longer, the probability–is, it will result like a lover’s quarrel and all parties will be more loving from the temporary estrangement. I might perhaps to except the abolitionist as I consider them beyond the influence of common sense views which operate in sensible beings. As to the Freesoilers, they may be considered among the things that were, at least as far as their influence is felt in Congress. No notice is taken of them by either of the other parties.

We have nothing new in the way of Army movements, no assignment has yet been made in our Dept. towards scattering some of us in the spring. What will my fate I don’t know, neither do I much care. Would have no objection to remaining here, if I could be permanent, which is not the case, as every little while I get a scare about going somewhere, I know I could make myself contended in almost any place which Mrs. S[words] could go with me.

We have had a very gay winter of it–at a party almost every night go at 10 or a  1/2 before and come away at about 1 or 2 , but it makes no difference as to our hour of getting up, which is always in time for breakfast. Ewell has been over occasionally with some ladies from Balt. and if don’t take care, I think, from what we hear, he will get fixed before he leaves here. I have been locking for him since the action by the Senate, but if he has been [passed] over he has not shown himself to me. 17 member of the Senate were absent when the nomination was acted on, and the resolution of passed by only one majority. Clay voted against Ewell’s nomination.

I have had a very pleasing reception of Mrs. Love and think you have been fortunate–as well as myself in your selection. I could wish you no better wish, than that you may continue to be as happy as we have been in our married life.

Give my love to Mrs. Love and say that I hope at some day to have the pleasure of being at the same station with her and that she and Mrs. S. may become friends. I know they would be, if they could be together.

Yours most truly

Thos. Swords

 

 

 

 

 

Lieutenant Love’s Indiana Recruits

LIEUTENANT JOHN LOVE IN INDIANA 1846-1847

By Will Gorenfeld

After he left the military, John Love became a successful businessman in Indianapolis. Active in civic affairs, he was a co-founder of the Indiana Historical Society. In this capacity, he left his collection of correspondence with the society. This is a brief account of his recruiting efforts in Indiana during the Mexican War.

An intrepid horseman and a dragoon, John Love was born in Culpepper County, Virginia. He was the son of Richard H. Love and of Eliza Matilda Lee, the granddaughter of Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Raised in Tennessee, Love entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1841, he secured a lieutenancy in the First Dragoons.[1]

When war came between the United States and Mexico in 1846, he was on recruiting duty in Indiana. Lt. Love remained on recruiting duty while his regiment was getting ready to ship out for the war. As might be expected of a young officer eager for glory, he chaffed at being precluded from joining his company and repeatedly wrote to Kearny and to Adjutant General Roger Jones, seeking permission to shut down his recruiting depot and “join my Company should my Regiment be ordered into the field.” Captain Henry Turner, Kearny’s adjutant, calmly instructed Love to remain at his post.[2] Three agonizing weeks passed before orders arrived relieving Love of recruiting duties, commanding him to report to Ft. Leavenworth to serve on Kearny’s staff. He reached the fort on June 15th and, attached himself to Kearny’s staff, departing from Ft. Leavenworth on June 30, 1846.[3] Participating in the conquest of Santa Fe, Love returned to Fort Leavenworth with orders to rebuild Company B.

First Lieutenant John Love must have felt he was in a rut that winter of 1846-47. As in the year before, he was on recruiting duty. Lt. Love desperately sought to recruit a full company of men so that he might return to New Mexico before the fighting was over. On December 20, 1846, the Lieutenant again wrote to Roger Jones, the Army’s grandfatherly Adjutant General, expressing how “extremely anxious” he was “to fill the Company which fortune has given me the command” and that he expected to take the field by April 1, 1847. Finding recruits in a hurry was not going to be an easy task. Lt. Anderson Nelson of the regular Sixth Infantry, one of Love’s West Point classmates, complained to him in February of 1847 that, after “pegging away since some time last summer and [he had] done any thing but a ‘land office’ business” finding Hoosier recruits for his regiment.

By 1847, much of the nation was fast growing weary of a war that seemed to have no end in sight. Nearly a dozen volunteer regiments had already been raised in the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, stripping the landscape of those young men willing to fight a war in a distant land. The volunteer regiments offered cash bounties and short terms of enlistments. Equally valuable as an inducement was the regulation that permitted company officers of the volunteer regiments be selected by a democratic vote of the men. In contrast, officers of the regular regiments gained their commissions by way of a presidential appointment and, for better or worse, the recruit was stuck with the officers assigned to his given regiment.

In February of 1847, Lt. Love was in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his recruiting flag draped from a balcony of the Drake Hotel. He placed an advertisement in the Indiana State Journal requesting the wartime services of men of good character, between the ages of 18 and 35, in the elite United States Dragoons. “Only those who are determined to serve the period of their enlistment, honestly and faithfully” need apply. The advertisement promised each recruit eight dollars a month, good quarters, the best of medical attention, as well as a “large supply of comfortable and genteel clothing.” The recruiting laws, now having been changed by Congress, made service in the regulars somewhat more attractive. Upon enlistment, the regular recruit would be paid a bonus of six dollars and receive another six dollars when he joined his regiment for duty. A recruit was now allowed to opt for a shorter term of enlistment: “duration of the war.”

The 1st Dragoons were a mounted regiment; the volunteer regiments, for the most part, were infantry. Lt. Love knew that he had an ace in the hole and he was quick to play it–pointing out to the Hoosier farm boys the glory of their becoming splendidly clothed and mounted “bold dragoons”–whose military status, uniform and bearing was unquestionably superior to that of the humble and often ill-clad “dough foot” of most volunteer regiments.

When some of Love’s recruits arrived at Newport Barracks, Kentucky, they found there were no horses available and, worse, infantry officers were daily putting them through the wearisome close order drill of the foot soldier. Included in the John Love collection at the Indiana Historical Society is a letter from three recruits from Indianapolis expressing their “not inconsiderable dissatisfaction prevailing in regard to our having no officers of our own company with us.” The trio complained that, “[w]e are here drilled in the infantry squads [by Infantry officers], and obliged to do duties that we believe we would be exempted of.” [4]

Love quickly “liberated” his men from Newport Barracks and sent them down river to Fort Leavenworth. On June 7, 1847, B Company took the salutes of Lieutenant Colonel Clifton Wharton, paraded out of the fort and headed west. George Ruxton, an English cavalry officer and adventurer, observed Company B on its march. He was less than impressed with what he saw and wrote that although “superbly mounted” ‘on full-blooded sorrels, these men were “soldier like neither in dress nor appearance.”[5] In less than three weeks these men tasted combat on the Santa Fe Trail.

Below is a list of the twenty-three men recruited by Lieutenant Love while in Indiana in 1847, and what became of them while in the service. Most of his recruits fought at the battles of Coon Creeks against the Comanches on the Santa Fe Trail and against the Mexican Army at Santa Cruz de Rosales, in the State of Chihuahua. Five of the men died while in the service, at least two were wounded and one man deserted. Except where otherwise noted, all of the men were discharged at Santa Fe, on August 19, 1848. Four men remained with the army after the end of the war.[6]

Demaree, Isaac, Blacksmith, February 5, 1847, Madison.

Dunbar, Louis, Blacksmith, Mar. 27, 1847, Madison.

Elkins, Martin, Laborer, February 5, 1847, Madison, discharged March 22, 1851, Rayado, New Mexico Territory.

Gardner, Anthony, Laborer, February 22, 1847, Madison, Died Newport Barracks, March 27, 1847.

Gaskill, George, Clerk, April 17, 1847, Edinburgh, Killed in Action at Coon Creeks, Missouri Territory, June 26, 1847.[7]

George, John, Physician, February 23, 1847, Indianapolis, discharged October 1, 1848, Indianapolis.

Gibson, George, March 7, 1747, Indianapolis, clerk, appointed corporal June 10, 1847.

Hahasey, Michael, Framer, March 16, 1847, Indianapolis.

Hazel, William, Farmer, March 22, 1847, Indianapolis.

Harper, Thomas, Farmer, March 22, 1847, Indianapolis, Died December 13, 1847, Albuquerque, New Mexico Territory.

House, Alber, April 9, 1847, Lafayette, Deserted from Fort Leavenworth, June 7, 1847.

Jones, William, Shoemaker, March 17, 1847, Madison.

Lane, Jonathan, February 23, 1847, Madison, transferred to Company I, September 1, 1848.

Lewis George, Laborer, February 15, 1847, Madison, Discharged February 15, 1852, Los Linares, New Mexico Territory.

Leaverton, William, Laborer, March 7, 1847, Indianapolis, Discharged July 14, 1848, Chihuahua, Mexico.

McCole, March 27, 1847, Indianapolis.

Powell, Jepha, Farmer, March 16, 1847, Indianapolis.

Puterbaugh, Adam, Blacksmith, February 16, 1847, Transferred to Company I, discharged surgeon’s certificate, October 16, 1849, Taos.

Turner, Dempsey, February 16, 1847, Madison, Died December 25, 1847, Albuquerque.

Ward, Thomas, Cooper, April 12, 1847, Lafayette.

Walker, George, Farmer, March 27, 1847, Indianapolis, Died March 27, 1848, Chihuahua.

 

 


[1] George Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from its Establishment, March 16, 1802 to Army Reorganization of 1866-67 (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868) 2 vols, “John Love” 2:14. John Love (1820-1881) was born in Culpepper County, Virginia, the son of Richard H. Love and of Eliza Matilda Lee, the grand-daughter of Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was raised in Tennessee. Two older brothers, Ludwell and Thomas, died in infancy; and a third, Richard, served in the U.S. Navy until his death in 1855. Sister Cecilia Lee Love married Lewis Armistead, a regular officer in the Sixth Infantry and later a Confederate general. She died in 1850. Cadet Love attended West Point from 1837 to 1841 Graduating 14th in a class of 52. He was stationed at the cavalry school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, later assigned to serve with Company A, stationed at Fort Gibson in Indian Territory, and then to Forts Scott and Leavenworth in Missouri Territory. Tenth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, June 12, 1879 (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1879) 33; Patricia Duncan, Genealogical Abstract from the Democratic Mirror and the Mirror, 1857-1879, Loudoun County, Virginia (Westminster: Heritage Books, 2008) 202.

[2] Adjunct General Roger Jones to Love, May 22, and 27, 1846; Colonel Stephen Kearny to Love, February 9, 1846; Captain Henry Turner to Love, April 9, 1846. All correspondence mentioned in this article may be located in the John Love Collection, 1837-1886, at the Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[3] Louis Barry, Beginning of The West, (Topeka: Kansas Historical Society 1972) 620.

[4] This letter seems not to have offended Lt. Love: in June of 1847, he promoted George Gibson, one of the signatories, to the rank of corporal. All three of the men served honorably in Company B. I have left intact the spelling and grammatical errors contained in the original.

Newport Barracks

April 2, 1847

Liet Dear Sir

We wish to inform you that our condition is very unpleasant

on account of the absence of our officers. We are here drilled in the infantry

squads, and obliged to do duties that we believe we would be exempted

of, were you with us and on this account there is some, not inconsiderable dissatisfaction prevailing in regard to our having no officers of our own company with us. We would inform you that the discord refered to, has already been the cause of the one of the company’s “deserting”, but we do not think that any who came with us, will, on any consideration be guilty of so base an act, but could you favor us with an officer of our own greater satisfaction would exist, and a greater degree of confidence would be concentrated in you by your men. We consider it right you should know these circumstances and also that is binding on us to inform you of it. Gardener is dead and another one of the Company not expected to recover. We have considered it our duty to write this much.

We remain your friends and Obedient soldiers

John W. George

Jeptha Powell

George W. Gibson

[5] George Ruxton, Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains (New York: Harper & Bros. 1847).

[6] For further accounts of the Battles of Coon Creeks and Santa Cruz de Rosales, see Dragoons vs. Comanches, Wild West Magazine, June 2004; Such is a Dragoon’s Life: Corporal Mathias Baker, Company B, First Dragoons, 1845-1849, Missouri Historical Review, July 2011, vol. 105, No. 4.

The Cowpen Slaughter: Was There a Massacre of Mexican Soldiers at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales? 81 New Mexico Historical Review 413 (Fall 2006)

[7] George Gaskill’s body was found by Corporal Mathias Baker who describe what he found: The fifth man – Gaskin [sic] –we did not find until this morning, he was dreadfully mutilated, his scalp was not taken, but half of his hair was pulled out, I suppose the one that killed him had no knife about him. The father of the slain trooper wrote to Lt. Love on July 19, 1847, from Shelbyville seeking further information on the loss of his son.

At the 17th [of July] I rec’d a letter from Mr. [Private] Jno H. George giving us the painful intelligence of the untimely death of my son George at the skirmish with the enemy near Camp Raccoon on the 26th June last. And as you was the officer under whom he enlisted I am induced o ask your assistance in sending me a certificate of his enlistment & subsequent death in the service of the United States and all necessary papers & communications that may be requested towards selling his estate.

Any information in regard to the particulars of his death will be most gratefully received. And should you on your return to the States find yourself near us–you will confer a lasting favor by calling upon us at this place.

I am with Respect,

Your friend,

George Gaskill

Beall's 1849 Expedition

 

Maj. Ben Beall to Lt. John Dickerson, 2d Arty., AAAG, Head Quarters, 9th Military Dist.

Don Fernando de Taos, NM, March 12, 1849

Sir,

Agreeably to a letter of instructions from Head Quarters 9th Mily Department, dated 27th January 1849, directing me to “proceed as soon as possible to the country inhabited by the Kiowa Indians” for the purpose of releasing “a number of prisoners in their possession who have been captured in New Mexico,” I have the honor to submit the following report.

On the morning of the 10th ultimo I left Taos with Company I 1st Dragoons under the command of 1st Lieut Whittlesey accompanied by 2d Lieut. J. H. Adams 1st Dragoons acting adjt to the Detachment, and asst. Surgeon H. R. Wirtz. I crossed the mountains of the “Rio de la Mora” by different passes and through deep snow and reaching the Prairie on the eastern side I was joined Lieut. A. Pleasanton in command of Co. H, 2d Dragoons, on the 14th. I then took the most direct route to the Arkansas River and camped on the “Rio Lempa” on the 22d being then within thirty miles of Bent’s Fort.

It appears that news had reached Bents Fort from the “Green Horn” that a military force was en route to the Kiowa Nation to liberate the Mexican prisoners in their possession and accordingly on the evening of that day I received a letter by express from the Fort from the U. States Indian Agent for the Upper Platte and Arkansas (Mr. Fitzpatrick) and also one from an influential resident at the Pueblo. The purpose of these letters was as follows—That the Indians in the vicinity of the post were at present exceedingly civil, but that if forcible measures were resorted to in order to liberate the prisoners in the hands of the Kiowas, the lives and property of the Americans residing in that portion of the country would be in the most imminent danger if they were not absolutely compelled to leave the settlements at the sacrifice of all they possessed. The Indian Agent, therefore, requested that I come on to Bents Fort in advance of my command in order that we might confer together about the feasibility of the expedition. On the following morning, I marched to the Arkansas, and early the next day reaching the Fort encamping my command on the South bank of the Arkansas river.

By the letter of instruction to me directed, I understand that every possible measure was to be adopted in order to secure the liberation of the captives in the hands of the Kiowa Indians, but that if they could not be obtained “peaceably” they must be obtained “otherwise.”

I was convinced by the opinion of every person on the Arkansas who was acquainted with Indian affairs that to obtain the Mexican captives by peaceable means was a thing impossible and great stress being laid in the above mentioned letter of instruction upon the desirability of a continuance of the friendly relations between the Kiowas and Whites I was in doubt how to act.

On arriving at the Fort I learned from the U. States Indian Agent that the greater part of the Kiowa nation was absent on a great hunt with the Comanches and that but a few lodges were at that time on the Arkansas River. The majority of the prisoners I also understood were with the absent party.

The expediency of an attack upon the few Kiowas who were then on the Arkansas (for I was convinced they would not release their captives without a fight) and the chance of losing thereby those persons who were with the remainder of the nation, thus defeating in a measure the object of the expedition, induced me to call a council of my officers, and I now present for the consideration of the comg officer of the 9th Mily Department my reasons for acting as I have done, and the conclusion which I have adopted.

1st In the first place I thought it best to learn the disposition of the Kiowas in regard to their prisoners, and I obtained the following information—the majority of the captives are women who are married to Indians and have by their numerous children. This portion is perfectly satisfied, with but a few exceptions, to remain, and even if offered their “liberty” would doubtfully refuse to leave a nation with which they have so many ties. The male portion of the captives have become perfectly barbarianised, and in their mode of life and custom have affiliated themselves            more or less completely with their captors. These individuals if liberated would be totally unfitted for and made miserable by the usages of civilized life. The Indians themselves are much attached to their prisoners from affection or cupidity and would fight for them with as much tenacity as for their own people. I therefore saw that the Kiowa would must certainly give us battle rather than give up a portion of their own nation as it were into our hand.

2dly  The feasibility and expectancy of successfully resorting to forcible measures was there to be considered. (1) The great map of the Kiowa nation was absent. The majority of the prisoners was with them. To attack those who were in camp on the Arkansas was no easy matter.  Here was a Kiowa lodge, there Arapahoe lodge; here again a Kiowa lodge — there a Cheyenne lodge, for about fifteen miles along the river bank, indeed so interrupted and scattered were they that in a sudden attack upon the Kiowas, many Indians of other tribes would have been there fired, and many Kiowas would have escaped.  To tell them the object of the expedition, to order them to separate themselves and fight us, would have been the extreme of folly, inasmuch as if they did present a bold front, the prisoners would certainly be run off or if there was no chance to effect this they would massacre them rather than let them fall into our hands. (2) Even supposing it to have been reasonable to have obtained every prisoner there from the Arkansas, all hope would have been lost of our regaining by forcible means the remainder and the majority.  In the inaccessible vastness of the mountains and in the wide spread plains of the Indian country they would have hidden them from us most probably successfully. (3) Again — several Comanche chiefs have lately arrived at this post suing for peace.  Now the Comanches have more prisoners than any other tribe of the Plains, and as a peace with the Comanches was considered a desireable object by the U. States Indian Agent, and as a statement of the object of my expedition would most certainly have interrupted such arrangements by informing them that the United States intended to take all prisoners from the Indians forcibly and not purchased them as has always been done heretofore I give to this consideration also its proper weight. (4) There was still another consideration of great importance, namely defenseless condition of the American citizen on the Arkansas, far away from the new Mexican settlements, exposed to the cruelty of outraged savages and unable by their number or strength to stand such odds.  The effect of a fight with the Kiowa would have certainly have broken up the prospect of civilization along the course of the Arkansas and the valley of the “greenhorn.”

Under these adverse circumstances I concluded according to the best of my judgment that it would be to the interest of the service and the general Government to delay forcible measures until I could lay the state of the case before the army officer of the 9th mily and Department and at the same time to avail myself of every piece of useful information I could collect for their action.

That the expedition might not be unproductive of useful results, and there being present at the fort several principal Chiefs of the different tribes, I concluded to call them together in Council and give them some advice and information with regard to the present State of New Mexico, Texas and the Plains carefully advising in conformity with my conclusions herein stated, any mention of the Mexican Prisoners in the hands of the Kiowas.

Leaving Bents Fort on the 2d inst, I directed my course up the Arkansas, ordering Lieut. Pleasanton with his command to return to Santa Fe via the Mora intending myself to reach this post with Company I, 1st Dragoons via “Sierra Blanca” leaving the Spanish peaks on my left.

The passage of this mountain was very difficult.  The snow in many places ten or fifteen feet deep, and was only by the most untiring exertion on the part of the command in beating down the drifting snow that a track was formed. The command reached this Post on the 9th inst.

Subjoined are the minutes of the council, and two letters from the U. States Indian Agent, and one from a citizen of the Pueblo.

I am very respectfully your obt. Servt.,

B.L. Beall, Major, 1st Dragoons Comy

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Thomas Fitzpatrick to Beall

Bents Fort, February 2, 1849

Sir

Being at the Puebla a few days ago on my way to the Katty [?] I learned that you were en route for this place, and being apprehensive that some difficulty might arise out of your mission I thought it best to return and be present. There are great numbers of Indians in this vicinity at present all of which are exceedingly civil, but should you be obliged to resort to harsh measures in regard to the Mexican prisoners I doubt much whether they will remain civil longer than your presence will keep them in awe. Such a state of things, you are aware will leave many American citizens in a very dangerous situation in this country. But I hope that your judicious management in the matter will not leave the least appearance of danger behind. Your arrival here at this time is very opportune for more reasons than one, as four Comanche Chiefs suing for peace have just arrived.

You may rely implicitly on my cooperation with you and would be glad if you could arrive here in advance of your command in order that we might confer together on the whole subject.

Thos. Fitzpatrick

I have just arrived last night late in haste.

Thomas Fitzpatrick to Beall

Bents Fort, February 24, 1849

Sir, For the purpose of fulfilling, and carrying out the 4th article of the late treaty between the United States and Mexico (which obligates the United States to liberate and restore to Mexico all persons in possession of Indians residing within the territories of the United States), being the object of your visit here at present, with your command. I hope you will not consider me presuming too much if I take the opportunity of submitting my opinion and views on a matter which so deeply interests the general government, as well as many American citizens whose business leads them into this remote and unprotected region.

I am not aware, nor do I make pretentions of possessing any power or authority whatever that could give one a right to interfere in the smallest degree with the performance of your duty or instructions. On the contrary I feel bound by duty as well as inclination to cooperate with and aid you to the utmost of my abilities, and inasmuch as I consider myself acquainted with the disposition, manners, customs, habits and prospects of the Indian tribes of this country, as well as the situations of the whites thereby, I respectfully lay before you the following statement in order that you may thus more readily decide on the most proper course to pursue.

There is immediately in the vicinity of this place at the present time, a portion of several tribes—Cheyenne’s, Kiowas, Aripahoes [sic], Apache, and a delegation of Comanche Chiefs now in this fort who have first arrived and are immediately suing for peace with the American people. Of all these tribes, the Kiowas are the only tribe who have prisoners amongst them, and I am quite certain that they will never surrender them without ransom of by force of arms, which if resorted to will not only cause the death of some of the prisoners, but will drive them once more into an inveterate state of hostility against us. What is meant by force of arms causing the deaths of a part of the prisoners is that, whenever the Indians are attacked on their account, those having any in possession will immediately will put all those to death whom they suppose have any inclination to leave them. A similar effect with a like policy will be produced on the Comanche, who have, perhaps more Mexican prisoners than all the others put together, and are now, as before observed, within this fort seeking the “olive branches”. But the greatest difficulty which I perceive you are likely to meet with in the accomplishment of the object of the present campaign is that the Indians are so scattered and interspersed, that in making an attack on any encampment you will liable to injure necessarily olf each of the above tribes and thereby embroil yourself with the whole.

In bringing to you notice all of the foregoing considerations you will perceive that I have said little or nothing in regard to the very dangerous, and precarious situation which such a state of affairs as I have referred to, would place many American citizens pursuing a lawful and laudably, and laudable business in this country. But the many disasters and misfortunes which American citizens have been subjected to in this country, are well known, yet up to this moment there has never been the slightest effort made towards their protection, or redress for wrongs.

The foregoing is but a brief and hasty writing of what is likely may arise out of any attempt to obtain the Mexican prisoners by force of arms. Indeed, the whole matter seems to be so different from the first and various usages of the United States government towards the red man, that I can with difficulty, and only because coming from so respectable source, realize or believe the fact. It is well known that any thing taken in war by Indians, according to their notions is of more value than any other sort of property, inasmuch as it becomes a portion of the history and fame of the warrior.

When I first became acquainted with the article of the treaty which is the subject of this letter I at once came to the conclusion that congress as soon as practicably devise and means for its fulfillment, by appointing commissioners, or agents to treat with the friendly tribes and thereby accomplish the object amicably. I wish to be understood as having no objection whatever to any thing or course you may see proper to pursue. I only beg to be allowed to say that this is not the proper season of the year to accomplish this object in view, over winter, is your command sufficiently strong in case of a union of the bands now almost together, as it were in one camp on the river.

What is a Dragoon?

If the antiquated term dragoon manages to appear in current literature, it may conjure, to some, images of antiquated mounted troops, fighting in antediluvian European wars of a forgotten past; to others, the forcing of somebody to do something he doesn’t want to do.

The word has its origin on the fields of battles fought five hundred years ago. Mounted warriors using missile weapons, such as bows, have their roots in ancient times. Soon after the introduction of firearms in the 15th Century, there appeared mounted sharpshooters who discarded their traditional mounted weapons of sabre, bow or lace and chose to fight with the arquebus, were dominated arquebusiers a cheval. [i] The term “Dragoon” came into popular use during the European wars of the 16th Century to describe this hybrid military formation, mounted on horse who rode to where they were needed on a battlefield, dismounted, and fought on foot with their firearms. Because they were well mounted and armed with longarms, these soldiers could often reach an important location or cover a retreat than faster foot soldiers. In this capacity, dragoons came to represent an amalgam of infantry and cavalry. Their short-barreled muskets sometimes featured a dragon–shaped side plate. Comparing these swift-moving troops, who used fire-spitting weapons, to dragons of fable, the Count of Mansfeldt fashioned the name “Dragonieres”, shortened to “Dragoons” to describe them.[ii] Armies soon equipped dragoons with sabres in addition to firearms and put them to use as shock troops.[iii]

The Napoleonic era brought with it revolutionary changes in the use of dragoons. Cavalry, armed with sabre and pistol, had long did their fighting in the saddle. Most European armies came to the realization that all mounted soldiers should remain in the saddle and not be trained to fight dismounted. Enlightened generals came to realize swords and spurs encumbered a soldier attempting to fight on foot; there was a need to protect the horses when fighting dismounted and this necessarily reduced the size of the force; and the training recruits to perform double duty of fighting mounted as well on foot is time consuming.[iv] The infant military of the United States balked the trend of European armies. Until mounted forces were fully mechanized in 1941, they used their horses to ride to where they were needed, and then did most of their fighting on foot.

There was a time in our nation’s early history that dragoons formed a important part of the army. Trooper James Hildreth wrote in 1836, “The regiment of the United States dragoons forms, although a small, yet conspicuous portion of the American army.”[v] Then, in August of 1861, the War Department, caught in the grip of the Civil War, merged the nation’s two dragoon regiments with its two cavalry and a mounted rifle regiment, added a new cavalry regiment, forming a corps of six regiments of cavalry. The First Dragoons became the First Cavalry and the term dragoon, henceforth, disappeared as a designation of regular army formations. With these steps, the appellation dragoon, in effect. disappeared from the name of federal military formations, but from everyday speech.


[i] V. Vuksic and Z. Grbasic, Cavalry: The History of a Fighting Elite 650 BC – AD1914 (London: Cassell 1993) 25-26; Louis Nolan, Cavalry: Its History and Tactics (Originally printed 1854, reprinted Yardley: Westholme 2007) 39.

[ii] Nolan, Cavalry, 39; Peter Schmidt: Hall’s Military Breechloaders (Lincoln: Andrew Mowbray, 1996) 57; Theophilus Rodenbough. From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry: An Authentic Account of Service in Florida, Mexico, Virginia and the Indian Country, 1836-1875 (Reprinted Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 2000) 8.

[iii] Nolan, Cavalry, 38. The American army later added a light howitzer to the dragoon’s arsenal, allowing this versatile corps to encompass all three combat arms: horse, foot, and artillery. John Elting, A Dictionary of Soldier Talk (New York: The Scribner Press 1984) 90

[iv] Nolan, Cavalry, 39.

[v] James Hildeth is the putative name most historians have given to the anonymous author of Dragoon Campaigns to the Rocky Mountains: Being a History of Enlistment, Organization, and First Campaigns of the Regiment of United States Dragoons; Together with the Incidents of a Soldier’s Life and Sketches of Scenery and Indian Character (New York: Wiley & Long, 1836). 111. One writer expresses doubt that Hildreth, having due to a physical disability to have left the service prior to the expedition depicted in the book, was not the author. (Joseph B. Thoburn, Dragoon Campaigns to the Rocky Mountains” Chronicle of Oklahoma, Vol. 8, 1930, 35.

Fort Stanton Cave

THE FIRST DRAGOONS AND FORT STANTON CAVE

By Mike Bilbo (Outdoor Recreation Planner/Cave Specialist, BLM-Socorro Field Office)

Prologue

In 1855, a patrol of the 1st Dragoons from Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory, explore a large limestone cave located about one mile north of the fort. Their horses tied up and under guard, the men slowly and carefully make their way down the steep, loose entry sink talus. At the dripline the musty smell of the cave assails them. The soldiers are dressed in the military clothing typical of the period: white wool shirts under dark blue wool shell jackets, sky blue wool kersey trousers supported by cotton galluses, leather boots, and either non-descript campaign hats, brims flopped down in the slouched style of the western hat, or M1839 forage caps.

Continue reading “Fort Stanton Cave”

Antebellum Infantry in California

Will Gorenfeld and George Stammerjohan
copyright April 5, 2008

Artill’ry at a distance play,
And troopers often clear the way—”
A skirmish sharp, a pistol shot
The quick retreat in rapid trot;
The foe advances, light and free;
Who meets them now? The Infantry!
Though other corps are dear to me
Yet most I prize the Infantry.
The Infantry by Captain Barnard Bee (United States Infantry)

All too frequently, military historians are quick to dismiss the role played by the Infantry stationed in the antebellum West. They would give one the impression that the Infantry was simply relegated to garrison duty. This is not true. The “Dough Foots” were active participants in many battles: Live Oak Springs, Four Lakes, Ash Hollow, Fort Mohave, and Truckee River. In California, the mounted arm fought but few actions; the foot soldier, meanwhile, participated in nearly every battle and skirmish.
Antebellum California
With the conclusion of the United States-Mexican War in 1848, the U.S. had expanded its borders to the Pacific Ocean. This increase in territory would soon create major problems for the federal government. At the end of the war, the volunteers mustered out, and the regular Army reverted to its authorized pre-war strength of 10,310 soldiers. Once again the US Infantry consisted of eight regiments, numbering 4,464 men.
In 1848, there was stationed but a single company of 3d Artillery and five companies of Dragoons to protect the newly conquered territory of California. Their numbers were reduced further when quick riches to be made in the gold fields lured many of the $11.00 per month troopers to desert their camps.
The two senior officers in California, Brevet Major General Bennet Riley (of the 2d Infantry and Military Governor), and Brevet Major General Persifor F. Smith (Regiment of Mounted Rifles), found a way to decrease the number of desertions by moving their men to the western edge of the diggings. As long as camp duties were completed in the mornings, soldiers were allowed to prospect for gold work in the afternoon. Soldiers stationed at San Diego and Fort Yuma on the Colorado River were given 60-day furloughs to try their hands at mining. Most soldiers, after several weeks of mining the cold rivers of the Sierra Nevada and backbreaking work for a few dollars, quickly returned to their companies and desertion to the mines was dramatically reduced.
This was not an especially good time for the cutback of a strong military presence in California. How would a population of some 7,000 Californios, former citizens of Mexico, react to the change of governments? There were also unfounded rumors of civil unrest, riots, and Hispanic forces organizing on both sides of the international border, ready to drive the Yankees out of California.
And then there was California’s Native American population. For years prior to the Mexican-American War, the Californios had been steadily losing parts of their domain to the native tribesmen who inhabited the interior regions of California. In some areas, it was dangerous for even an armed man to travel alone. Tribes such as the Yokuts and Miwoks had become highly accomplished raiders of livestock, routinely stealing stock from the sprawling ranches near the villages of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Jose and San Luis Obispo.
With the discovery of gold, swarms of contentious settlers poured into the interior valleys and foothills where most Native Americans lived. Viewed as a hindrance to mining and ranching operations, the Golden State—™s original inhabitants were often ruthlessly hunted, slaughtered, and enslaved; their economies disrupted, villagers driven from their homes, food sources destroyed.
Some scholars estimate that, prior to the Gold Rush, there were 100,000 Native Americans in California. By 1860, California’s Native American population had declined to 32,000. This was the most monstrous destruction of any group of Native Americans in the history of the United States.
When the natives stole cattle in order to feed themselves or retaliated for the murder of tribesmen, settlers were quick to call for army protection. The military was repeatedly sent in to punish the Native Americans and keep them away from the settlers. Of these engagements, special agent J. Ross Browne would write, “The federal government, as is usual in cases where lives of valuable voters are at stake, was forced to interfere. Troops were sent out to aid the settlers in slaughtering the Indians.”
But on other occasions, troops were detailed to protect the natives from vigilantes or militia groups. It was very confusing for everyone. An officer wrote: “Our Indian war is over for the present, and I do not think will be revived unless the whites commit more murders. The Indians look to us as their protectors. The stories that I have heard of the outrages perpetrated by the whites would be incredible were they not well vouched for. The Indians are naturally quiet and would continue so if left alone.”
Most of the battles in California, from a military point of view, were minor skirmishes. For the starving and impoverished native peoples of California, however, these battles were devastating.
A typical skirmish involved Company G, of the 2d Infantry at Fort Miller. Two members of a Yokuts triblet were accused of stealing an ox from a settler in the vicinity of the town of Visalia. On December 8th of 1853, Lt. John Nugent departed the fort with a detachment of 14 men and marched south to the Yokuts village. The troops marched at night march through the foothills of the western Sierras, reaching the village at daybreak. Nugent reported that when they surprised the encampment at dawn’s first light, “[t]he Indians were much frightened; nonetheless a few commenced shooting their arrows at the men. Their fire was promptly returned, killing two and wounding several others . . .”
The 2d Infantry: the first to serve in post-war California
The 2d U.S. Infantry was one of the last regiments of regulars to leave Mexico. The regiment had barely settled into its station at Fort Hamilton near New York City, when orders arrived directing that it be recruited up to strength. In the winter of 1848-1849, the 2d Infantry set sail for California, via Rio Janeiro, Cape Horn and Valparaiso.
By early summer of 1849, companies of the 2d Infantry were scattered about central California, along trails leading to the gold diggings or the entry into California. One company of the 2d was escorting Brevet Major Emory’s survey of the California/Mexican border. The entire force in the department was estimated to be about 650 men.
In 1850, a company of the 2d Infantry, under the command of Captain Lovell, were garrisoned the Rancho Chino. This outpost, located a few miles east of Pueblo Los Angeles, was to prevent raids coming through Cajon Pass from the Mojave Desert. Some citizens may have been impressed enough with the uniform, but not with the 2d Infantry’s alacrity. Years later, Los Angeles lawman Horace Bell recalled that the troops at Jurupa were “well-fed, clean shaved, white cotton-gloved, nicely dressed, lazy, fat fellows, who were seemingly happy and content on their $8.00 per month . . . They all, from Captain to Corporal, seemed resigned to a life of well-fed indolence. . . Every military collar at Jurupa must stand with the most mathematical uprightness; every button, every brogan, and every military tin cup, be burnished daily.”
Ranger Bell, of course, loved to criticize the regulars and frequently spun exaggerated tale after tale of how his posse boldly chased down outlaws. In truth, Bell and his rangers spent much of their time holed up at the saloons of the Pueblo of Los Angeles in pursuit of liquid courage.
In May of 1850, Lieutenant and Brevet Captain Nathaniel Lyon marched a battalion of 2d Infantry along with a company of 1st Dragoons from Benicia Barracks to the northern shore of Clear La
ke. Pomo tribesmen had killed a couple of disreputable white men who had been enslaving some of their people. Lyon was under orders to punish the tribes responsible for these murders. He did not bother to determine which was the guilty band and attacked the first Pomo village that he discovered.
The Pomos took refuge on an island surrounded by tules. Lyons sent his men wading across the marshy bog, cartridge boxes and muskets held over their heads as they reached the island. Firing at close range targets, the troops ruthlessly slew over a hundred men, women and children. Witnesses later claimed that the water of Clear Lake turned red. Thereafter, the land mass became known as “Bloody Island.”
Marching to the headwaters of the Russian River, Captain Lyon’s command cornered another band of Pomos in what he called a “perfect slaughter pen.” Lyon confidently wrote that his men killed “not less than seventy-five, and have little doubt to nearly double that number.”
In I851, witnessed the Antonio Garra uprising of desert tribes in Southern California. Joshua Bean of the California Militia sought to suppress this rebellion and complained to the Governor that Captain Lovell’s troops at Rancho Jurupa “are unable to render any assistance, as they are not mounted nor have they suitable arms and are short of ammunition.”
Indeed, these troops of the 2d were quite capable. While the erstwhile general contemplated his options within the safe confines of Los Angeles, part of the 2d Infantry led by Captain and Brevet Major Samuel Heintzleman marched swiftly across the lower Mojave Desert and, on December 20, 1851, killed two leaders of a band of Cahuillas in Los Coyotes Canyon and ended the uprising.
During the ensuing months, Heintzleman’s hard-marching troops cris-crossed the parched sands of the Mohave, re-established Fort Yuma on the Colorado River, and engaged the Yuman tribe in a series of skirmishes.
In late 1853, the companies of the 2d in California were broken up. Officers and non-commissioned officers sailed east to reorganize the regiment. The enlisted men—”most of whom had less than a year left in their enlistments–remained in California and were sent to serve with the other regiments stationed in the Department of the Pacific.
1851 Uniform Regulations: The French look.
Our army is a motley crew
In dress and armour, duties too,
And each and all I love to see–
But most I love the Infantry.

Those first infantry troops to arrive in California wore a uniform mostly unchanged from that worn during the Seminole and Mexican Wars: a powder blue shell jacket, with a high collar, trimmed in white, light blue kersey wool trousers, white buff belts, and a Model 1839 fatigue cap. Given that Army storehouses were filled to the brim with these uniforms and that the 1851 regulations allowed “articles of the old uniform already manufactured for enlisted men [to be] used until exhausted . . . altered, so far as practicable, to correspond with the new pattern,” the quartermaster would continue to distribute them for years to come.
The 1850’s would prove to be a period of experimentation in weaponry and uniform. In 1851, regulations for a uniform were prescribed for the entire army. The new attire would be based upon the French Army design of 1844: a dark blue frock coat that came down halfway to the knees with a single row of nine buttons. The coat’s cuffs and collars were to match the color of the branch of service. On the front of the collar, in yellow metal and 1″ in height, was the number of the regiment. On each shoulder of the infantryman, light blue worsted epaulettes were to be worn.
The branch color for the infantry was Saxony or light blue, replacing the white worn by infantry since the days of the Revolution. Under the 1851 Regulations, the cuffs, collar, pom pom, and epaulettes for the Infantry would be light blue. The light blue trousers had a 1/8″ dark blue stripe.
The infantryman carried a black bridle leather cartridge box that was slung over his left shoulder by means of a black buff strap. Inside of the cartridge box were 40 paper wrapped cartridges. Attached to a black buff leather waist belt, measuring 1.5 inches wide and 38.5 inches long were a percussion cap pouch and a bayonet scabbard.
As for headgear, the army introduced a 6 1/2″ tall, stiff shako of dark blue cloth, with a crown that slightly sloped forward, and topped off with a round pom pom. For infantry, the hat sported a light blue band. The ungainly hat was authorized for all purposes: full dress, fatigue, and campaign. Each soldier was to be issued seven hats during the course of his five-year enlistment.
The shako was not especially popular with the troops. A colonel wrote to the Adjutant General complaining that the new shako was entirely unsuitable for service, being heavy, hot, and painful to the head when used in the sun, wind, or at a rapid gait; incommodes the soldier in the use of his arms, as well as in all fatigue duties.
Some Infantry officers complained: “In the light infantry drill, even with the assistance of the chin strap, it has been found impossible to keep the cap properly on the head, and from the nature of material of which it is made, it soon becomes shapeless and unfitted for parade purposes.” Resourceful soldiers would often remove the cardboard lining and thereby convert the ungainly shako into an early version of the kepi.
The regulations of 1851 Regulations notwithstanding, the troops stationed out West often were dressed in whatever clothes they were issued or purchased on their own. When Colonel Joseph Mansfield, Inspector General, toured the Department of the Pacific in 1854, he often failed to write in his reports how the troops were dressed. This would suggest that Mansfield ignoring the shabby and obsolete uniforms. Only at Ft. Redding, at the upper end of the Sacramento Valley, did he report that both the company from the 3d Artillery and the men from the 4th Infantry were properly dressed in the 1851 uniform.
Uniform regulations went completely by the board when the troops were in the field. One might find the troops wearing anything from blue checkered shirts to red bib-front miner’s blouses. Sergeant Eugene Bandel of the Sixth Infantry described the typical uniform worn on campaign in 1857 as consisting of a broad brim hat, with white canvas trousers, and a woolen shirt worn on the outside like a coat.
A mule-mounted column of 2d Infantry under Brevet Major Henry W. Wessels, heading into the Sierras to the east of modern day Red Bluff appeared as “being one-well armed party of miners.” When the observer got a closer look, he noticed that “those soldiers ain’t got a bit of uniform except polished muskets.” In 1857, a Southern California rancher spotted a detachment of 3d Artillerymen, walking across the beach on their way to Mission San Luis Rey “walking barefoot in the sand, their red flannel shirts unbuttoned and each wearing a Mexican straw hat.”
Officers in antebellum California sometimes even incorporated Hispanic garb into their dress. While stationed in Southern California, Second Lieutenant Lieut. Caleb Smith of the 2d Infantry was described as wearing non-regulation Mexican style buckskin leggings (botas de cuerro), sombrero, sash, jangling spurs and calzoneros along with his regulation frock coat.
Mansfield noted that the troops at Ft. Humboldt had complained to him that the issue white flannel undershirt had shrinkage problems. He recommended that the troops be issued “coloured flannel [which] does not shrink.”
Regulations of 1854: Brass shoulder scales for the Infantry
The regulations of 1854 called for the replacement of the light blue band on the hat and the light blue cuffs with thin welts. The new regulations also discarded the worsted epaulettes for dress substituting brass shoulder scales in their stead. Of course, it took nearly three years before most Infantry companies on the Pacific Coast received the 1854 uniform.
Often, the br
ass scales were never issued. Instead, the brass scales were left in a box under the Captain’s bed, or were accidentally lost while an army supply wagon was crossing a river. Broken as well as complete sets of scales are often found by archaeologists in old fort trash pits.
The Model 1842 Musket: the Last of the Smoothbores?
The infantry was generally armed with the 1842 musket. This lengthy (57 13/16 inches) and heavy (9 pounds, 3 ounces) smoothbore arm, with its brightly burnished iron barrel, was the first U.S. musket to employ the use of percussion caps. It used a paper cartridge containing powder and a .63 caliber ball. The musket had an effective aimed range of just about eighty to a hundred yards.
The muskets lacked a rear sight: due to the windage between ball and barrel, aiming at a specific target was a useless act. Grant observed in his memoirs that in using such an arm, “you might fire at a man all day from a distance of 125 yards without him ever finding it out.” It was, indeed, an unfortunate soldier who was stuck by a musket ball fired at him from a range of 125 yards.
In order to compensate for the musket’s lack of accuracy, the men would load buck and ball: a .63 caliber ball and three .31 caliber buckshot. At close range, the musket became a deadly shotgun.
The Model 1842 is occasionally referred to as the last smoothbore arm issued to United States regulars. It wasn—™t. Commencing in 1847, the Springfield Armory turned out the .69 calibre musketoon. This smoothbore weapon, a shortened and lighter form of musket, came in three versions: cavalry, sapper, and artillery. At least one company of the 2d Infantry in California was issued musketoons.
Some of the soldiers who served on the Pacific frontier carried the Model 1841 .54 calibre rifle. This weapon, about a foot shorter in length than the musket, was considered by many to be the finest rifle in any military. Because of the tight fit of the patched ball, it was slow to load—”but deadly accurate when placed into the hands of a trained infantryman.
The Hazardous Journey of the 4th Infantry
Realizing that the 2d Infantry was not strong enough to garrison all of the critical points in California, the War Department sent the 4th Infantry to the Pacific Coast. On July 5, 1852, the 4th Infantry Regiment boarded the old steam ship Ohio and departed New York Harbor, bound for California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. During their trek across the Isthmus, a great many of the party contracted cholera. On August 18th, the Pacific Mail steamship Golden Gate, loaded with the sickly 4th Infantry, arrived in San Francisco Harbor. The regiment lost one hundred and seven men to cholera. Among the survivors was a 4th Infantry brevet captain by the name of Ulysses Grant.
The 9th Infantry: a new regiment for service on the West Coast.
In 1855, Congress authorized two new foot regiments, the 9th and 10th Infantry. The 9th was organized at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and sailed for California in late 1855 and early 1856. Upon arrival on the West Coast, these men were detailed to the Pacific Northwest. Several companies were immediately in combat in the rain-flooded meadows east of modern Tacoma.
The uniform worn by the 9th Infantry had two distinct attributes. Its frock coat, with a short pleated skirt, was of a French design known as chasseur a pied. The men of the 9th also wore leather suspenders and a rifleman’s belt with a plain double plate.
One interesting myth that has long be been held by many gun collectors is that the 9th Infantry arrived in California armed with the Model 1855 Harper’s Ferry rifle. This is not so. (The only positively identified ’55 rifle sent to the West Coast was received for testing at Fort Tejon, California, where the post butcher promptly appropriated it when he deserted.)
In fact, the 9th regiment sailed from Virginia unarmed. Moreover, the regiment departed for California two and a years before the M1855 rifle existed in sufficient numbers to be issued to any of the troops.
Upon arrival at Benicia Barracks, the 9th was issued Model 1841 Yaeger rifles. Colonel George Wright of the 9th declared the Yeager rifle “the best arm I have ever seen in the hands of a foot soldier.” In 1858, these 1841 rifles were re-bored to fire the new government M-1855 cartridges. The barrels were turned down at the muzzle to take either a long-bladed sword bayonet or the M-1855 musket bayonet. (Since bayonets were rarely used or mentioned in Army reports, and the authors have not had the opportunity to examine “stoppages” against 9th Infantrymen, we cannot say which of the two bayonet types was issued.) In 1860, the 9th Infantry was rearmed with the .58 caliber M-1855 rifle musket.
The Terrifying Voyages of the Third Artillery

In late 1853, the 3d Artillery was alerted for transfer to California and to serve as infantry replacing the departing 2d Infantry. Recruiting was stepped up and the ranks were soon filled. A significant number of new recruits were teenagers fresh from the shores of Ireland, England, and Germany.
The troops were crammed aboard the steamer San Francisco that —œdeparted New York on December 21, 1853, —˜… with light breeze from the southwest and clear weather.—™ On December 24 the weather changed to a —˜… moderate breeze from the west … and heavy rain towards evening.—™ By midnight the weather was very heavy and the San Francisco had lost many sails.— Off of Cape Hatteras, the San Francisco steamed into a monstrous storm, in which “waves rolled mountain high.” The steamer’s engines failed, the ship wallowing helplessly in boiling seas. On the midmorning of December 29, 1853, a giant wave crashed over the upper deck, stripping everything from the deck—”including a cabin in which some 200 artillerymen were sheltered.
When the first rescue boats reached the San Francisco, Colonel Gates quickly jumped aboard and abandoned his men. Following a court martial, he was shelved until 1861. The survivors, scattered around to ports in England, France, and the United States, were slowly gathered to re-organize the regiment.
This maritime disaster, coupled with the transfer of the 2d Infantry out of California, left General John Wool, commanding the Department of the Pacific, with a severe manpower shortage in his department. The 3d regiment was hurriedly recruited to strength, and in early 1854, four companies departed for California, only to run into another storm off of North Carolina. Their battered steamer eventually managed to limp into quiet waters of Hampton Roads on the Virginia peninsula.
Another ship, the Illinois, was sent. It would take the artillerymen to Panama. After crossing the Isthmus, they boarded the Oregon, which arrived in San Francisco on May 4, 1854. Meanwhile, two companies of the 3d Artillery, along with footsore recruits of the 1st Dragoons, marched overland, leaving Ft. Leavenworth in May of 1854. This column spent the winter in Salt Lake, and reached the West Coast in July of 1855.
Upon arrival, the various companies of the 3d were scattered about the west coast. Most of the troops of the “Marching 3d” were put to use as red-legged infantry.
In the spring of 1856, twenty-five men of Company K of the Third Artillery at Ft. Miller, under the command of 2d Lieutenant LaRhett Livingston, took to the field to suppress a war started by settlers. Angry over the theft of a cow, they had killed some Yokuts. The tribesmen retreated to a defensive position near the base of Battle Mountain and proceeded to defeat a band of volunteers who were bent upon the tribe—™s destruction.
In the pre-dawn of May 13, 1856, Lt. Livingston climbed a nearby hillside and peered into the Yokuts encampment. Seeing that the position was not heavily defended and could be attacked on its flank, Livingston swiftly put his company into motion. Suddenly, a group of Yokuts rose from the
underbrush and peppered the detachment with arrows. The arrows were deflected by the bushes and caused no serious injury to the troops. Without hesitation they leveled their muskets and fired. At point-blank range, the muskets, loaded with buckshot and ball, took a deadly toll upon the defenders. Livingston shouted, —œCharge! Bayonets, forward!— The Yokuts hastily melted into the safety of the dense pine forests of the Sierra Range. Livingston reported twenty dead tribesmen. An unknown number of Yokuts would later die of wounds received in this battle. The emboldened volunteers looted and burned the Yokuts village.
The 1858 Uniform: Some New Headgear
General Order No. 3 for March 24, 1858, did away with the tall shako and replaced it with a tall, broad-brimmed felt hat in black. With its brim folded up on the left, a light blue braid ending in tassels circled around the crown, brass insignia attached to the front, and a debonair black ostrich feather placed on the right, the hat was not very practical for use in the field or on fatigue. A few months later, General Order number 13 authorized a fatigue cap in dark blue. This cap was essentially a floppy version of the 1851 shako with the stiff cardboard lining removed. It would soon evolve into the all-too familiar kepi of the Civil War. In 1858, the Quartermaster General began to issue a four-button fatigue jacket for all troops.
The Hard-Marching 6th Infantry
The last regiment of infantry to come to California before the Civil War was the 6th Infantry. Originally scheduled for Washington Territory, Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Newman S. Clarke, the commanding officer of the 6th, convinced the War Department to divert the regiment to newly created Department of California—”a department under the command of Colonel Clarke.
On the 21st of August 1858, the Sixth Infantry left camp near Fort Bridger, Utah Territory, and began its overland march to California. The regiment, and its two-mile column of 180 supply wagons and ambulances, crossed the Sierra Nevada range in October, often wading through knee-deep snow. On November 11th, with its flags flying and the band playing “Yankee Doodle” and “The Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel,” the regiment paraded westward on J Street past the state Capitol.
The Infantry gets a New Weapon: the 1855 Rifle-Musket
While large numbers of the Model 1855 rifle musket had been issued in the summer of 1858 for the Spokane Plains expedition, few of these weapons had been seen by the public in California towns. A Sacramento Union reporter wrote that 6th regiment was “armed with the new [Model 1855] percussion cap rifled musket, with Maynard’s patent primer attached.” This .58 calibre weapon was the first regulation weapon to fire the minie bullet and had an effective range of over 1,000 yards.
There is little question that the 1855 rifled musket was a marked improvement over the 1842 musket. The touted Maynard primer system, however, was hardly a blessing. The Maynard taped primer worked like a child’s toy cap pistol. A paper roll, containing bits of fulminate of mercury as primer, was placed in a chamber just below the hammer. The tape was mechanically fed under the hammer each time that the hammer was cocked. When the hammer dropped, the fulminate would be detonated and the paper cut away. This system had been first been tested in 1849 on muskets supplied to the Infantry by the firm of Daniel Nippes.
The concept was sound enough for those in Ordnance who tested it at the Washington D.C. armory. The primer compartment was not sealed. When the primer tape was exposed to wet weather, however, the entire tape could be ruined by dampness. In the hotter climes, the tape became brittle and would easily tear. Inspector General Joseph Johnston, in 1859, observed troops firing the rifle musket and reported “at least half misfired, sometimes from defective machinery, others by the fault of the [taped] primer itself.”
The Final Battles
As the 6th Infantry tried to settle in after their long journey from Utah, a campaign was brewing in the desert. The Mojave tribe regarded travelers on Edward Beale’s new road to be trespassers and driven off mail trains and killed immigrants. Elements of the 6th Infantry were ordered by General Clarke to protect to the travelers.
On the morning of February 11, 1859, four companies of the 6th boarded the creaky wooden side-wheeled steamer Uncle Sam. The ship sailed through the Golden Gate and turned south. Off of Point Ano Nuevo, it plowed into a severe Pacific storm. The bilge pumps stopped working and the Uncle Sam began to take on water.
In order to save the ship, overboard went the coal, soon followed by all of the baggage of the four companies along with 320 new M-1855 rifle muskets. As the ship continued to founder, the men turned their attention to the mules. These durable creatures, which had walked to California from Ft. Leavenworth, showed no interest in being dumped into the foamy sea and fought efforts to cast them overboard. As the battle of the mules was beginning, the storm broke, and the Uncle Sam was able to sail back to the repair yards.
The 6th Infantry requested replacement 1855 muskets. The arsenal at Benicia was slow to issue the new weaponry. There was an ample supply, however, of altered Springfield 1816 Type III smoothbore muskets and these aged weapons were issued to many of the troops.
Colonel Joseph Mansfield was again inspecting California as the Mojave campaign was being organized at Fort Yuma. He was astonished at the bewildering array of clothing, equipment, and weaponry. Due to the heat most of the men were in lightweight civilian shirts. But the troops looked hardy, ready for a long march and a tough campaign.
On August 5, 1859, Companies F and I, under the command of Major Lewis Armistead, took part in a fight with the Mohaves twelve miles south of the post. In this battle, the long-ranged 1855 Muskets proved their value in this long-range firefight. Major Armisted reported that, because of the dry desert weather, the Maynard primers worked well.
The twenty-three reported Mohave dead were among the first Americans to suffer from the powerful firepower of modern infantry weaponry. In less than two years’ time, tens of thousands back east would, likewise, experience the deadly effects of rifled weapons.
There would be several more infantry actions out in the far west: in the northern Redwoods; along the Pit River in north central California; on the shores of the Pyramid Lake in Nevada Territory; and patrols against horse thieves southeast of San Diego.
Soon after the firing upon Ft. Sumter, orders from the War Department began to arrive in the Department of California directing the scattered infantry companies, stationed in the interior, to concentrate on the coast for embarkation. By the end of 1861, the 4th and 6th Infantry as well as the 1st Dragoons and most of the Third Artillery, would be on their way to fight a greater war in the East. Only the 9th Infantry remained behind in San Francisco where it, along with a company of the 3d Artillery, took up positions guarding that important harbor for the duration of the Civil War.
SIDE BARS
Lt. Crook’s Sunken Rifle-Muskets
In 1858, Lt. George Crook’s Company D of 4th Infantry was stationed six miles up the Klamath River at Fort Terwaw. Crook’s troops were armed with .69 caliber 1816 muskets. Ordnance artisans at Benicia Arsenal to use percussion primers, have rear sights added, and given shallow rifling had converted these weapons, leftovers from the Mexican War. During the campaign against the Spokane Indians, the men of Company D effectively used these muskets.
When the company returned to Fort Terwaw, Lt. Crook was ordered to requisition Model 1855 Rifle Muskets for his troops. A few months’ later, four sealed crates of the M-1855 Rifle Muskets reached the dock at Crescent City, California.
These crates were transferred to a large whaleboat whi
ch set sail south to the Klamath River. As it broached the river’s tidal bar, the boat capsized, dumping eighty muskets and other equipment into the ocean. None of it was ever recovered. Several months later, the army hired local Native American fishermen to navigate the tidal bar and Company D got its new muskets.
Stoppages
Every two months, the troops would be called for muster. The muster consisted of roll calls, inspections, and possibly a pass in review. If the paymaster arrived, not always a sure thing, the troops were then paid.
Regardless of whether or not they were paid, the muster roll had to be prepared. In these documents, the company clerk would record, among other things, stoppages—”i.e., the amount that would be offset against the soldier’s pay for stolen, lost or damaged equipment. The notations for stoppages are useful for the researcher to determine what equipment a particular company was issued. Listed below are the amounts that would be charged, per General Order No. 14 (December 9, 1859), for lost or damaged articles of clothing:
Coat $1.88
Forage cap .85
Dress hat .75
Feather .19
Cord and tassel .16
Bugle insignia .05
Company letter .05
Regimental number .05

______________________________________

Footnotes

Dolph, E. A., Sound Off (NY: Cosmopolitan Books 1929), p. 325; Bee—™s untitled poem with matching illustrations may be found at the Special Collections—™ Mexican War Collection of the University of Texas at Arlington (http://libraries.uta.edu/SpecColl/crose02/beepoem.htm).
Message of the President, Report of the Adjutant General, November 28, 1849, Ex. Doc. No. 5, p. 188a.
During the first eight months of 1849, over 40% of the 1,200 regular troops stationed in California deserted. (Message of the President (31st Congress 1st Session 1849, Ex. Doc. 5) Report of the Secretary of War, November 30, 1849 Ex Doc. No. 5); Message of the President (31st Congress 1st Session 1850 Ex Doc. No. 17), Sec. War George W. Crawford to Gen. Persifor Smith, April 3, 1849, p. 273; Col. R, B. Mason to Adj. Gen. Roger Jones, August 17, 1848, p. 533.
Message of the President (31st Congress 1st Session 1849, Ex. Doc. 5) Report of the Secretary of War, November 30, 1849, p. 90.
Message of the President (31st Congress 1st Session 1850 Ex Doc. No. 17), Gen. B. Riley to A.A.A. Gen. W. T. Sherman, April 16, 1849, pp. 899-900.
Message of the President (31st Congress 1st Session 1850 Ex Doc. No. 17), Gen. B. Riley to Gen. R. Jones, April 25, 1849, pp. 874-876.
Sherburne Cook, The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press 1976), p. 4.
Albert Hurtado, Indian Survival on the California Frontier (New Haven, Yale University Press 1988), p. 194.
J. Ross Browne to James Guthrie, May 20, 1856 (reports rec—™d, Secy. Of Treasury, 1854-1856) National Archives microfilm 177, roll 1, p. 347.
Captain John Gardiner to Frederick Gardner, July 13, 1856. John Gardiner letters at Fort Tejon State Park.
Sacramento Daily Democratic State Journal, January 5, 1854.
Ibid.
Rodenbough, Theo The Army of the United States (Reprinted New York: Argonaut Press 1966) 422.
Special Order #67, July 12, 1848; Persifor F. Smith to Roger Jones, May 21, 1849, California and New Mexico, 31 Cong., 1 Sess., Exec. Doc. 17, 740; Niles National Register, Vol. LXXIV, no. 1913, September 27, 1848.
Ibid, Gen. Bennet Riley to Gen. Roger Jones, June 11, 1849; Asst. Adj. Gen. E. R. S. Canby to Capt. William H. Emory, June 30, 1849, 916, 924.
Ibid, Gen. B. Riley to Gen. R. Jones, April 25, 1849, 873.
Ibid, Gen. B. Riley to Col. W.G. Freeman, A.A. Gen., August 30, 1849, p. 938.
Census of the City and County of Los Angeles, California for the Year 1850 (LA: The Times-Mirror Press 1929) p. 97.
Bell, Reminiscences of a Ranger (reprinted by Univ. Of Oklahoma, 1999), p. 164.
Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, Part II (31st Congress, 2nd Session, Ex, Doc. No. 1) Nathaniel Lyons to E.R.S. Canby, May 22, 1850, p. 81.
Ibid, at p. 82.
Hurtado, supra, at p. 105-106
Message from the President, supra, Lyons to Canby, p. 82.
George Harwood Phillips, Chiefs and Challengers (Berkeley, University of California Press 1975) pp. 92-94.)
Special Order No. 7, November 7, 1853, National Archives RG 94; Rodenbough, supra, p. 422..
Bee, supra; see footnote 1.
Todd, supra, p. 380.
General Orders No. 31, June 12, 1851.
Todd, supra, p. 380.
Ordnance Manual (Wash. D.C., Gideon & Co. Press 1850), p. 201.
Col. T.T. Fauntleroy to Col. Cooper, 30 October 1854, quoted in Edgar M. Howell and Donald E. Kloster, United States Army Headgear to 1854 (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Unstitution Press 1969), p. 67, fn. 204.
H. Dean Guie, Bugles in the Valley (Oregon Historical Society 1977) p. 26.
Mansfield, On the Condition of Western Forts 1853-54 (Norman: Univ. Okla. Press 1963), 160.
Bandel, Eugene, Frontier Life in the Army 1854-61 (Glendale, Arthur H. Clark, 1932), p. 128.
Bell, supra, at p. 164.
Mansfield, supra, 162.
Todd, supra, at pp. 115-117.
Reilly, Robert, United States Military Small Arms 1816-1865 (Highland Park, N.J., Eagle Press, 1970), p. 14.
Ulysses Grant, Personal Memories (New York: Charles L. Webster & Company, 1885—“86), p. 60 .
U.S. Army, Ordnance Manual, supra, at pp. 244-247.
Woodward, Arthur, Journal of Lt. Thomas W. Sweeney (Westernlore Press, Los Angeles 1956), p. 147.
Reily, supra, p. 33.
Grant, supra, p. 117.
Grant, supra, p. 119; Ellington, Charles, The Trial of U.S. Grant (Glendale, Cal., Arthur H. Clarke Co. 1987) 60-66; Rodenbough, supra, 461.
Rodenbough, supra, p. 526.
Todd, Frederick, American Military Equipage Vol. II (New York: Charles Scribner—™s Sons 1980), pp. 382-83.
New York Daily Times, January 14, 1854.
New York Daily Times, February 10, 1854
Special Order, No. 17, Jan. 27, 1854. —œBy direction of the President of the United States, a Court of Inquiry will convene in the City of New York, on Monday, the 6th of February, 1854, or as soon thereafter as practicable, to examine into all the circumstances attending the embarkation, in December last, of the troops under the command of Col. William Gates, Third Artillery, on board the steamer San Francisco destined for California; the cause of the failure of the expedition, and the disorganization of the command at sea; and all facts and circumstances which may concern the conduct of the commander, and of the officers and men of the command.—
As of December of 1854, there were 1,365 officers and men stationed in the Department of the Pacific. (Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, Part II (33rd Congress, 2nd Session, Ex, Doc. No. 1) Report of the Secretary of War, December 4, 1854, p. 6.)
Ibid, p. 3.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, May 5, 1854.
Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress (33rd Congress, 2nd Session 1854), supra, p. 3.
San Francisco Bulletin, May 16, 1856.
Los Angeles Star, May 10, 1856.
San Francisco Bulletin, May 23, 1856.

San Francisco Bulletin, May 16, 1856.
Todd, supra, at pp. 62-64.
Ibid, at pp. 65-66.
In April of 1859, Quartermaster General Thomas Jessup ordered that all remaining stocks of shakos be issued as forage caps. (Howell and Kloster, supra, at p. 67.)
Todd, supra, at pp. 57 and 383.
Swanson, Clifford, The Sixth United States Infantry Regiment, 1855 to Reconstruction (Jefferson, N.C., McFarland & Co. 2001), p.22.
Ibid; Sacramento Daily Bee, November 11, 1858.
Sacramento Union, November 12, 1858.
Riley, supra, p. 22.
Jerry Thompson, Texas and New Mexico
on the Eve of the Civil War (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press 2001), p. 54.
Swanson, supra, p. 32.
Message of the President (36th Congress, 1st Session 1860) Volume II, p. 415.
Swanson, supra, p. 43.
Ibid, p. 419.

Tom Castor: A Newly Minted 2d Lieutenant

PRO BONO PUBLICO:
1st Lieut. Thomas Castor

Benny Havens ran a tavern that was located about a mile and one-half from the cadet barracks at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. The saloon quickly became a favorite haunt for generations of cadets. Cadet Edgar Allan Poe wrote that Benny was —œthe sole congenial soul in the entire God forsaken place.— In 1838, a couple of appreciative young officers, borrowing the Irish tune known as the Wearing of the Green (also known as The Rising of the Moon), composed some verse to honor Benny Havens. The first verse went as follows:
—œCome fill your glasses, fellows, and stand up in a row,
To singing sentimentally we—™re going for to go;
In the army there—™s sobriety, promotion—™s very slow;
So we—™ll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh!
Chorus:
Oh! Benny havens, Oh! Oh! Benny Havens, Oh!
We—™ll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh!—

The song soon became quite popular among officers. During the ensuing years, many a new verse was added as cadets carried the song with them from the dismal Everglades to Buena Vista—™s barren plain and then out to the foothills of California—™s Motherlode.
Thomas Foster Castor entered West Point in 1841. His classmates, a rather notable group, included the likes of George McClelland, Thomas Jackson, A.P. Hill, George Crook and George Pickett. The latter cadet seems to have become —œaddicted to Benny—™s enticements.— During the years of Cadet Castor—™s stay at the Academy it is likely that he also frequently slipped out of the barracks to partake in a glass of hard cider and join in the good cheer at Benny Haven—™s public house.
—œLet us toast our foster-father, the Republic, as you know,
Who in the paths of science taught us upward for to go;
And the maidens of our native land, whose cheeks like roses glow,
They—™re oft remembered in our cups at Benny Havens, Oh!—

Upon graduation in 1846, Castor was posted to Fort Columbus in New York Harbor. Here is a copy of letter that a freshly minted brevet 2d Lieutenant Castor wrote to the folks back home in Pennsylvania.

Fort Columbus, 3 Sept. 1846

To Mrs. George Castor, Frankford, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

Dear Grandmother:

Well here I am snugly fixed on the Island. I arrived in N. York on Tuesday about 2 o’clock and reported myself for duty about 5 on the same day. I was attached to the dragoon recruits now here under the command of Lieut. Sibley. I have nothing to do but to superintend the drills and roll-calls, inspect their rations and keep them in order generally. I suppose that it will afford you a great deal of pleasure to hear that we will probably not sail for a month yet and very likely not that soon. Mr. Sibley told me that he would propose to the Captain when he arrived to take the company from here to Carlisle, mount it there and after drilling it for some time take it down to Mexico by land. if this obtains I would not be surprised if we did not leave this part of the country until November. And if the reports which have just been received prove true (viz. that private advices have been received that the war is over) we will very likely not go to Texas at all. Aunt Eliza I know will clap her hands at this news notwithstanding it cuts me out of all chance of distinguishing myself. I have been so lucky as to get quarters with one of my classmates who has been here for some time and we have to rooms carpeted with tables, sofa, beds, looking glasses and everything complete. To day I am Officer of the Day and it would make you laugh to see me strutting around with my sash and sabre followed all day by an orderly at a respectful distance and having Captains and old Lieuts. asking permission to have boats etc. The Officer of the Day being you know second in command for the time being. I am very well pleased with the post so much as I know of it. The officers are very clever and the society I am told is very good.

I had the blues going up the river and indeed the whole day after I left home. I waved my handkerchief as I passed our house but I suppose it was so foggy you did not see it as I could see none waved in return. Please tell me in your answer how Aunt Eliza and [Bud?] got home and particularly how Josephine is. I was afraid when I left that she would have a spell of sickness. How did she get through wit her teeth, how much did they cost and every thing. you must tell me all. I hope you have gotten over your troubles on account of my departure and if you have not I say you must!!

Yesterday about 700 troops sailed from here for Pt. Isabel. Poor fellows they were glad to get off but many a soldiers wife who was left behind went sorrowing to her home. If there are any letters at home for me please send them on directed to Ft. Columbus, Governors Island, N.Y. I am getting over my home sickness and am in good health. Please write very soon and tell all that has occurred since I left home, and everything that would be of any interest to me. Give my love to Aunts Liz and Buts [?] and take it yourself. I am going to write to all in succession? as I promised and I hope that nobody will fail to write me a long long answer. You dear grandmother must get Buts [?] to write for you. It is near 11 o’clock so good night dear Grandmother and I hope that you will not forget.

Your affectionate grandson

On 6 December 1846, Castor gained a permanent commission as 2d Lt. with the 1st Dragoons and campaigned in Mexico with the regiment, from the siege of Vera Cruz into the Valley of Mexico through the capture of Mexico City. While in Mexico he became quite ill and began to drink heavily. There may not have been much sobriety, but promotion came slow: Castor did not become a First Lieutenant until 1851. Following the war Castor was posted to Forts Snelling and Ripley, Minnesota. On 9 October 1851. While stationed at Fort Lane in Oregon he participated in a skirmish on the Illinois River on 24 October 1853. The next year Lt. Castor was sent to Fort Miller in California with Company A. Later that year he was ordered to start construction on what became Fort Tejon. Castor’s drinking and ill health continued to rack his body. In August of 1854, Castor led the first troops to the proposed site of Fort Tejon. The rigors of years of hard campaigning, and the effects of hard drinking, had taken their toll on the Lieutenant. Castor had a bout with tuberculosis and was seriously ill during his posting at Fort Tejon. On September 8, 1855, he died.

—œTo our kind old Alma Mater, our rock-bound Highland home,
We—™ll cast back many a fond regret as o—™er life—™s sea we roam;
Until on our last battlefield, the lights of heaven shall glow,
We—™ll never fail to drink to her and Benny Havens, Oh!—

His remains were ceremoniously buried under the spreading oaks that dot the landscape behind the Lebeck Oak. Fellow officers bought a marble headstone and an iron fence to honor their fallen comrade. Some years later, the fence and marble grave stone were moved to the site of the old post cemetery. As a consequence, no memorial marks final resting place of Lt. Castor.

—œTo our comrades who have fallen, one cup before we go,
They poured their life-blood freely our pro bono publico.
No marble points the stranger to where they rest below;
They lie neglected far away from Benny Havens, Oh!—

Finis

Captured Mexican Items at Santa Cruz de Rosales

Following the capture of the town of Santa Cruz de Rosales in 1848, the Army inventoried the captured Mexican ordnance. Below is a copy of this report.

City of Chihuahua
March 26, 1848

The Board met pursuant to the foregoing orders, and soon after the
reception of the captured property, as was practicable, and up to the
present time have been busy in assorting and taking inventories of
said property, which they find to be as follows (incl.(?) accompanying
list or inventory as marked “A”).

All the large guns are more or less injured by firing, and some of
them badly cast, full of flaws and honeycombs. The majority of the
muskets and escopetas are in bad order, broken locks and stocks, bent
barrels &c. Three of the muskets are very much injured in the stock
by shot, or shell, of one, the entire stock is gone. The muskets, and
in fact all of the cartridges, are badly made, and only valuable for
the amount of powder they contain. The shells, strap shot, balls, and
canister, are as a general thing very badly made and would be apt to
greatly damage a good piece if fired from one.

One reference to the list, it will be found that there are
eleven large boxes of powder, this is supposed to be for cannons, as
also the five bags. Ten of the kegs contain very fine powder,
supposed to be for rifles, and the remainder for muskets. Having no
means to ascertain the weight, the amount in bulk only is first put
down as it appeared before the Board.

The horses are all small, poor, and weak, and many of the mules are
equally in as bad condition, none of them being fit for present use,
and scarcely any will ever be capable of hard service.

The saddles are of Spanish pattern and much out of order in their
present state worthless.

Of the drums, three are without heads or have but one, and the others
are so heavy and unwieldy as to be almost or quite unserviceable.

The articles, not having (sic) innumerated, are generally
in very good condition, and might, if necessary, be put to immediate
use.

The above is respectfully submitted as a report of the proceedings of
the Board, which, having no further business before it, adjourns sin
die.

B.L. Beall,
Major 1st Dragoons

“A”

A LIST OF ORDNANCE STORES &c. TAKEN AT THE SIEGE OF SANTA CRUZ DE
ROSALES, MEXICO, MARCH 16, 1848

2 Two 32-Lb. Brass Howitzers

1 One 10-Lb. Brass Cannon by Measurement

1 One 8-Lb. ” ” ” ”

1 One 4-Lb. ” ” ” ”

2 Three Swivels

7 Seven Wall Pieces

1 One Double-Barrel Wall Piece

392 Three Hundred and Ninety-Two Muskets

281 Two Hundred and Eighty-One Musket Bayonets

99 Ninety-Nine Cartridge Boxes & Belts

80 Eighty Escopetas

27 Twenty-Seven Service Rifles

78 Pistols

35 Sabres

122 One Hundred and Twenty-Two Lances Complete

142 One Hundred and Forty-Two Lance Heads and Ferrules

150 ________ Lance Straps

145 Shafts for Lances

6 Six Wipers for Wall Pieces

11 Eleven Large Boxes of Powder

23 Twenty-Three Kegs of Powder

5 Five Bags of Powder

58 Fifty-Eight Cartridges for 32-Lb. Howitzer

72 Seventy-Two Cartridges for 9-Lb. Gun

2600 Twenty-Six Hundred Musket Cartridges

7 Seven Bunches Signal Rockets

9 Nine 32 Lb Grenades

9 Nine 24 lb Shells

4 Four 32 lb Shells

75 Seventy-Five 4 lb Shells

7 Seven 3 lb Strap Shot

24 Twenty-Four 6 lb Strap Shot

4 Four 12 lb Strap Shot

103 One-Hundred and Three 4lb Balls

50 Fifty 3 lb Balls

76 Seventy-Six Cases 32 lb Canister

116 One-Hundred Sixteen Cases 3 lb Canister

1 One Lot Canister for Wall Piece

1 One Lot Balls for Wall Piece

1 One Lot Musket Balls

1 One Ten Ball Roller

10 Ten Bullet Molds

7 Seven Rifle Locks

1 One Lot Gun Flints

11 Eleven Sponges

2 Two Worms

6 Six Hand Spikes

1 One Treatment Scale

A List of Quarter Master Property Captured at the Siege of Santa Cruz
de Rosales, Mexico, March 16th 1848.

98 Ninety-Eight Horses

66 Sixty-Six Mules

7 Seven Wagons

52 Sets of Harnesses, four collars wanting

9 Nine Pack Saddles

35 Thirty-Five Spanish Bridle Bits

32 Thirty-Two Sets Spanish Saddle Rigging

1 One Bulk ” ” ”

35 Thirty-Five Buckles

7 Seven [Screw} Drivers

43 Forty-Three Files

8 Eight Hammers

4 Four Vices

2 Two Wrenches

1 One Grinding Stone

65 Sixty-Five Edge Tools

13 Thirteen Augers

18 Eighteen Saws

3 Three Screw Plates

2 Two Anvils

10 Ten Pounds Rod Steel

2 Two Boxes Tin

2 Two Boxes Shoes

8 Eight Boxes Blue Clothe

1 Lot Printing Type

1 Lot Duct Parts

1 Lot Rosin

2 Lots Steel Yards

12 Twelve Empty Boxes

11 Eleven Boxes Cigarilos

Dragoons v. Jicarilla Apache: The Battle of Cieneguilla

THE BATTLE OF CIENEGUILLA
Anatomy of an Army Disaster
April 5, 2008

By Will Gorenfeld

—œA contemptuous opinion of the prowess of these ferocious prairie Indians has been generally entertained by those who knew nothing about the matter—”a consequence, probably, of the thousand exaggerated stories which Western adventurers have told of their own feats, and of the cowardly and thieving propensities of the savages.—
—”New York Times, May 24, 1854

—œSome inexperienced people have charged Indians with possessing less courage than white men. There was never a greater mistake.—
—”Percival Lowe, Five Years a Dragoon and Other Adventures on the Great Plains

“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. ” The Man who Shot Liberty Valence

In 1854, Lieutenant John W. Davidson of the 1st Dragoons, boasted at Fort Union that Jicarilla Apache warriors were puny cowards. In a conversation with fellow officers, he had described a recent meeting with these warriors who seemed —œoverwhelmed by fear— at the sight of the dragoons. Had there been pretext, Davidson said, he would have —œwiped them out.— Another officer knew better. Lieutenant David Bell, recently touted in the territory as having defeated chief Lobo Blanco—™s —daring band of outlaws—, stated that Jicarillas were —œnot cowardly, to say the least—, he told Davidson, but was ignored. [Santa Fe Weekly Gazette, March 25, 1854; Lt. John Davidson to Maj. George A. H. Blake, Cantonment Burgwin, NM, 25 March 1854; Letters Received Dept. of New Mexico 1854, f. 596-597, Main Series (LR 1805-1889); National Archives Microfilm Publication [NAMP] Microcopy 120, Record Group 3, National Archives [hereafter M120, RG 3, NA].: Correspondence, 1800 -1917; Records of the Adjutant General—™s Office 1780 —“ 1917, [hereafter M120, RG 3, NA]. An account of this gathering may be found in Lt. David Bell to Lt. John Williams, 27 December 1854, Fort Leavenworth. Kansas Terr., Proceedings of a Court of Inquiry Convened at Santa Fe, New Mexico, February 8 1856, Headquarters, Department of New Mexico General Order No. 1, February 9, 1856, Transcripts and Proceedings of General Courts-Martial and Courts of Inquiry, 1799-1867) Judge Advocate General (Army), Record Group 153, National Archives, Washington, D.C. [hereafter referred to as COI], pp. 5-6; see also Durwood Ball, Army Regulars of the Western Frontier, 1848-1861 (Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press 2001), 55.]
In the Eurocentric view to which Davidson clung, a well-armed force led by a West Point officer was certain to prevail against —œprimitive— native Americans. Davidson soon learned not to underestimate the Jicarillas of northern New Mexico when the tribe decimated a force under his command. After the battle, one man, Lieutenant David Bell, called Davidson incompetent. Bell protested that Davidson, disobeying orders, had ineptly led his men into a disaster. According to Bell, Davidson was to blame for provoking the fight and his failure of leadership, in which U.S. soldiers had panicked and been routed by a small group of defenders.

Embarrassed, Davidson and his superiors whitewashed the defeat in an Army court of inquiry that found as unwarranted critical accusations against Davidson lodged by Bell. Generations of historians, without question, relied on the Army—™s inaccurate version of events, in which has Davidson being ambushed by superior numbers of warriors and, after fighting for three hours, the dragoons had deftly escaped a trap thanks to their commander’s cool leadership. [See Christopher Carson, Milo Quaife ed., Kit Carson—™s Autobiography (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1966)149; Albert G. Brackett, History of the United States Cavalry, from the Formation of the Federal Government to the 1st of June 1863 (New York: Argonaut Press, Ltd. 1965), 79; Dewitt C. Peters, Kit Carson—™s Life and Adventures, From Facts Narrated by Himself, Embracing Events in the Life Time of America—™s Greatest Hunter, Trapper, Scout and Guide (Hartford, Conn.: Dustin, Gilman & Co. 1874) 424; John K. Herr, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry (Boston: Little, Brown & Company 1953) 135; Utley, Frontiersmen in Blue The United States Army and the Indian, 1848-1865 (New York: The Macmillan Co. 1967), 144; Homer K. Davidson, Blackjack Davidson: A Cavalry Commander on the Western Frontier (Glendale: Arthur Clarke Company 1974) 69-74; Gregory J.W. Urwin, The United States Cavalry: An Illustrated History (Dorset: Blandford Books 1983), 93; Edwin L. Sabin, Kit Carson Days (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1995) 2 vols., 2:660-661; Michno, Encyclopedia of Indian Wars, 24; Bill Yenne, Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West (Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing 2006) 74; Only a few writers have questioned the official version of the battle of Cieneguilla. (See the foreword by Jerry Thompson in James A. Bennett, Forts and Forays (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press 1996) edited by Clinton Brooks, Clinton and Frank Reeve, xxii-xxvii; Morris F. Taylor, Campaigns Against the Jicarilla Apache, 1854, New Mexico Historical Quarterly (1969), Taylor, 275-276; and Scott, Fields of Conflict, 2:236-260.]

Many of the criticisms tendered by Lt. Bell would be proven right by an archaeologist, Dave Johnson, whose study of the battle site refuted the Army’s findings. The true picture has come to lighting, revealing a story of an officer who disobeyed orders, placed his command in a tactically unsound positions and whose troops were routed by a weaker force.

To better understand this battle we must return to a chilled night along the Rio Grande. Flowing swiftly southward from the Colorado Rockies, this river divides most of New Mexico into two parts and then turns southeast towards Texas. The northern portion of the Rio Grande runs briskly down a steep gorge carved along the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where crossings of the river are few. In the pre-dawn darkness of March 30, 1854, scout Jesus Silva and trooper Jeremiah Maloney reached the Embudo crossing of the river. They had been ordered by Lieutenant John Davidson to ride to this place and see if a defiant band of Jicarilla Apaches had crossed the river. Silva and Maloney found no signs of Jicarillas, but looking behind them to the northeast, saw distant campfires twinkling brightly atop a ridge. Suspecting these fires to be coming from the Jicarillas camp, the two men rode back to Cieneguilla to tell Lt. Davidson of what they had seen.

In February, a government beef contractor near Fort Union, New Mexico Territory had reported several of his cattle stolen by the Llaneros faction of the Jicarilla Apaches. A troop of Second U.S. Dragoons, under command of 2d Lieutenant David Bell, was sent from Ft. Union to intercept the cattle thieves. On March 5, 1854, Lt. Bell encountered some warriors under Lobo Blanco out on the Canadian River. It is uncertain whether these men had stolen any cattle, but the Army had long suspected Lobo Blanco—™s band of killing white and Hispanic settlers. A fight soon ensued and, when the dust settled, Lobo Blanco, four warriors and two Dragoons lay dead. The violence escalated; the next day Jicarillas and allied Ute warriors raided a herd of cattle near Ft. Union, killing two herdsmen.

To be continued in Wild West magazine for February 2008.