ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
Scouting parties were sent out often during the year 1869, many which were during the severest kind of weather. One of the largest of these was made up of Companies C, G, I, and L, under Captain Henry E. Noyes from Fort McPherson, Nebraska, in February. It was reported that Pawnee-Killer’s band was south of North Platte Station, on the Republican. The command left the post February 11, and returned February 23, after two weeks of marching in the worst kind of weather. As personal equipment the men took along an overcoat, poncho, two blankets, sixty rounds of carbine and five rounds of pistol ammunition, a hobble and lariat for each animal, and no tentage. On account of the cold weather nineteen animals were abandoned and eighty-one men frost bitten.
In the spring of 1869, Companies F, G, H, and L under Lieutenant Colonel Albert G. Brackett were ordered to change station to Fort Ellis, Montana, in the Department of Dakota. After a long march by rail and overland the command arrived at the new station July 1. It remained here 15 years, where it became known as the “Montana Battalion.”
While Company D was on a scouting expedition on the Popo Agie River, Wyoming, September 14, a group of hostile Indians made their appearance near the camp. Lieutenant Stambaugh and twenty-eight men went in pursuit. After following the trail for fourteen miles they met about two hundred Sioux. The fight continued for three hours, when the Indians withdrew, leaving two killed and ten wounded. The troop had two men wounded, and eight horses killed and four wounded. During this fight great coolness was displayed by the men, probably avoiding serious disaster.
The Fifth Cavalry was campaigning during the year 1869 along the Republican River. After several expeditions in pursuit of the Cheyennes, part of the regiment was reorganized and Companies C, D, and M, Second Cavalry, were sent out with that regiment under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Duncan, Fifth Cavalry. On September 26, they struck a village of fifty-six lodges and captured it with all of its contents, then followed the remaining Indians for two hundred miles. This fight broke up the depredations of the Cheyennes in this area for the year.