2d Dragoons

Serving proudly since 1836

Area of Indian Wars with 2d Dragoons/2d Cavalry 1848-1883

Posted by on Oct 29, 2008 in Indian Wars 1866-1869 | 0 comments

From: 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. This map shows the main area of the Indian Wars the 2d Regiment of Dragoons/2d Cavalry Regiment were involved in between 1848 and 1883, the majority of the forts in the area, and the main trails. The color key to the trails is in the lower left corner. Click on the map to enlarge it. Once enlarged, click on it again to make it very...

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FRONTIER DUTY

Posted by on Oct 29, 2008 in Indian Wars 1866-1869 | 0 comments

From: 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. As a result of the unstable state of affairs in the West, the regiment received orders in October, 1865, to change station to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was then encamped at Monrovia Station, Maryland, following four years of active duty in the Civil War. Having received its complement of recruits, the regiment now had a strength of 34 officers and 876 enlisted men. During October, it was depleted of all horses and was not again provided with them until November, after arriving in the West. The regiment now consisted of a regimental headquarters, a band, and twelve companies, with squadrons of two companies. On October 15 it moved by rail to Parkersburg, West Virginia, at which place it embarked on the steamboats Mariner and Huntsville. Thence it traveled via the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers to Fort Leavenworth, where it arrived November 7. The regiment was not again to be assembled as a unit in one post until the beginning of the Spanish-American War in 1898. The troops moved between November 10 and 20, 1865, to frontier posts as follows: Regt. Hq, Band, and Co. E – Fort Riley, Kansas. Cos. A, B – Fort Kearney, Nebraska. Co. C – Fort Hays, Kansas. Co. D – Fort Lyon, Colorado. Co. F – Fort Ellsworth (Fort Harker), Kansas. Cos. G, I – Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Co. H – Pond Creek (Fort Wallace), Kansas. Co. K – Fort Dodge, Kansas. Co. L – Fort Larned, Kansas. Co. M – Fort Aubry, Kansas. These posts were newly located, offering little shelter to men or animals. It was therefore necessary for the troops to embark upon a building program using soldier labor, especially at Hays, Harker, and Wallace on the Smoky Hill route, and Dodge and Aubry on the Arkansas River. The troops were thus employed in cutting timber, quarrying stone, making adobe bricks, running saw mills, burning brick and lime, and driving wagons. This was a common way of constructing new posts, and even old posts were provided with new buildings from materials found in the vicinity. Many desertions were thought to be caused by troops doing this kind of work. In addition, enlisted men were used to procure fuel and hay, and to act as gardeners. It was necessary that the troop also do some drilling, guarding, and general police of the post. The men were usually so busy at the various activities that there was little time for drilling and other military work. During the War of the Rebellion, the Indian question had been largely left in abeyance. It was to keep these people in a peaceful state that the Second Cavalry was now on the Great Plains. In the area where...

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DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE

Posted by on Oct 28, 2008 in Indian Wars 1866-1869 | 0 comments

From: 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. Hardly had the troops finished building the cantonments in Kansas when they were ordered by General Sherman to change station to the Department of the Platte. This area was commanded by the former colonel of the regiment, General Philip St. George Cook, with station at Fort Omaha, Nebraska. Upon their arrival, the troops were distributed as follows: Regt. Hq., Band, Cos. D, F, H, I, K, L – Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Cos. A, B – Fort McPherson, Nebraska. Co. C – Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming. Co. E – Fort Casper, Wyoming. Co. G – Fort Sanders, Wyoming. Co. M – Fort Sedgwick, Colorado. At these posts the troops began the same routine of construction and labor as they had experienced in Kansas during the past year. Forts McPherson, Sedgwick, Sanders, and Phil Kearney were incomplete, the accommodations being of a most temporary character. Fort Laramie, one of the oldest posts in the West, was more up to date, but had insufficient space for the number of troops stationed there. The Second Cavalry was now located in strategical points between the plains and the Rockies. Fort Laramie was at the junction of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers. It was also at the junction of the Oregon and Bozeman Trails, and commanded the exit of the South Pass. Fort McPherson was at the junction of the South Platte and North Platte Rivers. Fort Sedgwick, near the town of Julesburg, was at the meeting of the Bozeman and Overland Trails. Forts Sanders, Sedgwick, and McPherson were on the projected route of the transcontinental railroad. Fort Casper was on the North Platte River and the Oregon Trail, while Fort Phil Kearney was on the Bozeman...

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FIGHT ON THE NORTH PLATTE RIVER

Posted by on Oct 27, 2008 in Indian Wars 1866-1869 | 0 comments

From: 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. A small party of Indians ran off some stock from the vicinity of Fort Laramie in early October, 1866. Lieutenant Bingham, with a detachment from Company C, pursued them on October 3, recaptured the stock, and killed one Indian. Although after a much smaller party, this scouting expedition was performed under the same difficulties as that of Lieutenant Armes the same month, which brought forth the praise of the Department Commander. Hardly had Company M arrived at Fort Sedgwick in northeastern Colorado when it was called upon to show its mettle. On October 23, Lieutenant Armes, with 25 men from his company, was sent in pursuit of about fifty Sioux Indians who had stampeded a herd of mules and another of oxen near the post. Starting at 4:00 a.m. the detachment traveled until 9:00 p.m., a distance of about ninety miles, when it came upon the Indians encamped in a marsh on the north side of the North Platte. Lieutenant Armes divided his party in order to attack from two directions and to separate the pony herd from the camp. The Indians, who were in their tepees, were taken completely by surprise. When they rushed toward their ponies, the troops barred the way. The latter then proceeded to burn the village and at the same time to drive away the stolen stock and Indian pony herd. The detachment turned home that same night and arrived there the next afternoon, having fought a skirmish and traveled one hundred seventy miles in thirty-seven hours. Because it was necessary to cross the North Platte several times, the men traveled most of the distance in wet clothes. The Indians left on the field four killed and seven wounded, and Lieutenant Armes had two men and ten animals wounded. As a result of this engagement that officer recommended that the revolver be issued to troops. Fort Sedgwick, Colorado October 25, 1866 We are in one of our periodic Indian excitements. On Wednesday morning, October 23, Mr. Carlisle reported that his mules, ninety-five in number, had been stampeded by a band of about fifty Indians, thirteen miles east of this place, at twelve o’clock the night before. Captain James P. W. Neill, Eighteenth United States Infantry, Commanding Post, immediately sent Lieutenant Norwood with twenty men of the Second Cavalry, to the scene of the trouble. Shortly after, Mr. J. H. Wall arrived and reported that he had been attacked by the same band, and lost the whole of his stock, nearly one hundred head of fat oxen, and he brought his herder, dangerously wounded by a round musket ball through his chest, to this place. Mr. Wall brought information that the marauders had crossed the Platte and...

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STARTING THE BOZEMAN TRAIL

Posted by on Oct 26, 2008 in Indian Wars 1866-1869 | 0 comments

From: 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. In 1865 the United States Government wanted to build a wagon road east of the Big Horn Mountains into the mining districts of Montana and Idaho. The country through which this road was to pass was the hunting grounds of the Sioux and Cheyennes. Red Cloud, the chief of the Sioux, entered a most emphatic protest, declaring it would drive away the game. It was the best buffalo range on the continent, and these animals furnished the Indians with food, clothing, and skins for their lodges. During the fall of 1865 a council was proposed to Red Cloud to effect an agreement whereby the road might be constructed, but he refused to participate. Another council was proposed the following June, and this time Red Cloud, along with several other Sioux chiefs, attended. Throughout the conference there was violent opposition to the building of the road by most of the Indians present. Anticipating success of his effort, the government initiated plans to go ahead with the work while the meeting was still in progress. Hearing of the movement of the troops into the disputed country, the majority of the chiefs, under Red Cloud, withdrew from the session, refusing to accept the presents sent by the government. Nevertheless, it was decided to go ahead and build the forts along the route, which was known as the Bozeman Trail. Colonel Henry B. Carrington, of the Eighteenth Infantry, was given charge of the work, which included rebuilding old Fort Reno, on the Powder River, Fort Phil Kearney at the forks of the Big and Little Piney, and Fort C. F. Smith on the Big Horn. Company C left Fort Laramie under command of Lieutenant Horatio S. Bingham, October 23, 1866, en route to Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming, and arrived at this place November 2. Six companies of the Eighteenth Infantry under Colonel Carrington had occupied the post since its beginning in July. Construction was still in progress, necessitating logging operations some seven miles from the post. So closely had the Sioux drawn their lines about the garrison that hay could not be cut or trees felled without a heavy guard accompanying the workmen. In fact, this post was generally in a state of siege. From the arrival of the troops until the close of the year, Red Cloud’s warriors killed one hundred fifty-four persons, wounded twenty, and drove away hundreds of head of stock belonging to citizens of the...

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VALLEY OF THE PENO – THE FETTERMAN MASSACRE

Posted by on Oct 25, 2008 in Indian Wars 1866-1869 | 3 comments

From: 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. About eleven o’clock on the morning of December 21, 1866, the lookout on Sullivant Hills signaled that the wood train had been corralled about one and one-half miles from the post, and was attacked in force. A relief party of forty-nine men of the Eighteenth Infantry, and twenty-seven of C Company, Second Cavalry, temporarily commanded by Lieutenant Grummond, Eighteenth Infantry, was hastily organized. Captain Powell was placed in command of the expedition, but just as it was about to start, Captain Fetterman came up and begged for the command. Colonel Carrington reluctantly acceded to his plea, and gave him orders to relieve the wood train, drive back the Indians, but not to pursue them beyond the Lodge Trail Ridge. The force was joined by Captain Brown and two hunters who volunteered to go, and now consisted of eighty-two men. Instead of leading his men direct to the wood train on the south side of Sullivant Hills, Captain Fetterman moved hastily toward Peno Valley on the north side. This movement was noticed from the fort, and as it might be a good tactical maneuver by taking the enemy in the rear, no apprehension was felt. The hostile Indian scouts noticed Fetterman’s movement on the north side of the hill, and immediately withdrew from the wood train, which broke corral and made its way to the Piney, seven miles northwest of the fort, where it went into camp. About this time several Indians were noticed along the Piney in front of the fort. A shot from the cannon caused this group to scatter. The main body of the Indians had disappeared to the northwest toward Peno Creek. This placed them, during this movement, on the opposite side of the hill from Fetterman’s force, which doubtless was ignorant of the withdrawal of the Sioux from the attack on the wagon train. It was now discovered that no doctor had accompanied the relieving party. Acting-Assistant Surgeon Hines, with an escort of four men, was sent to join Fetterman. The doctor returned in a little while with the information that the wood train had gone on, and that when he attempted to cross the Valley of the Peno, it was full of Indians, and that he saw no sign of Fetterman. Alarm was caused in the fort by heavy firing about twelve o’clock from beyond Lodge Trail Ridge, five miles away. Colonel Carrington instantly dispatched Captain Ten Eyck with about fifty-four men to the relief of Fetterman. This group had gone only a short distance when forty additional men were sent to join them. The garrison in the fort was now depleted to an alarming extent. Prisoners were released and armed, and quartermaster employees and citizens...

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