2d Dragoons

Serving proudly since 1836


Posted by on Dec 22, 2008 in Mormon Campaign 1848-1858 | 2 comments

After the Mexican war, the Regiment moved west to secure the country’s newly acquired territories for the influx of settlers. In June of 1849 troopers from Company F under the command of Major Ripley Arnold established an encampment along the banks of the Trinity River in Texas, which they named Fort Worth in honor of General William J. Worth, whom the Regiment had served with during the final years of the Seminole War. This area is now known as “the fort that became a city”, Dallas/Fort Worth. The Regiment spent the pre-Civil War period fighting Indians and securing the routes that brought settlers into the new territories of the United States. In 1854, the Second Dragoons took part in a campaign against the Sioux Indians and soundly defeated a sizable Brule Sioux force near Ash Hollow, Nebraska, without incurring a single loss. This action forced the Sioux to sign a peace treaty. In late 1857, in response to reports of harassment and abuse of Federal officials from Mormon settlers in Utah, a Battalion formed from the Regiment was sent to put down Mormon resistance to U.S. authority as part of a 2,500 man expeditionary force. Expecting a confrontation, the Mormon leader and Utah governor, Brigham Young, mobilized the Utah militia, but agreed to terms just before the expeditionary force reached the state. This long and arduous winter march is immortalized in the Don Stivers print, “Never a Complaint.” On 14 June 1858, Harney was promoted to Brigadier General and Philip St. George Cooke was appointed the 3rd Colonel of the Regiment. During this time Colonel Cooke published the definitive manual on Cavalry tactics, which was used by both sides in the Civil War. In July 1860, the President of the United States ordered Harney to St. Louis to take command of the Department of the West. Once there, however, the combination of the onslaught of political events and his own political naivete ruined him. Although he was a brilliant Cavalryman, Harney, as a political neophyte, could not negotiate the tangle of political affairs in Missouri. Suspected of Southern sympathies by the powerful Blair-Benton faction in Missouri, local politicians demanded his removal, and President Lincoln relieved him of his command in May 1861. On 1 August 1863, Harney was placed on the retired list. He was promoted to Brevet Major General on 13 March 1865 in recognition of his long and faithful service. President Lincoln later admitted that Harney’s removal was one of the biggest mistakes of his administration. Harney went on to serve several Indian commissioners and became known as “the nation’s greatest Indian expert.” He died in Orlando, Florida, on 9 May 1889. In his honor, the Sioux gave him a title he would have cherished, “Man-Who-Always-Kept-His-Word.” A single thread runs through all that he did and tried to do – a fierce desire to serve. His epitaph...

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Posted by on Dec 21, 2008 in Mormon Campaign 1848-1858 | 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. After being in the states on recruiting duty during most of the Mexican War, Company G was finally organized at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and left there for Vera Cruz, January 18, 1848, arriving at the latter place February 14. All the companies on duty with General Scott were ordered home in July and took station at Camp Corinne, near Pascagoula, Mississippi, except Company G, which went to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, on recruiting duty. After a long rest by the balmy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the companies at Camp Corinne were ordered to duty in Texas in November, 1848. Regimental headquarters moved to the Austin Arsenal and the companies were stationed at various frontier posts in west Texas. Company G took station in December at Fort Brown, opposite Matamoras where the regiment won its laurels at the beginning of the war. REGIMENT ORDERED TO TEXAS HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DIVISION, BATON ROUGE, September 24, 1848 ORDERS No.7 1. In order to carry out the provisions of General Orders No. 49, so far as relates to the Western Division, the following movements of troops are ordered: 2. After the departure of the Fifth Infantry from East Pascagoula, the Second Dragoons, First Infantry, and six companies of the Third Infantry will embark for Texas….The points of destination for these corps, and the time and mode of embarkation, will be regulated by Brevet Major-General Twiggs, who will embark with the last detachment, and on his arrival in Texas, assume command of the Eighth Military Department. By order of Major-General TAYLOR. W. W. S. BLISS, Assistant...

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Posted by on Dec 20, 2008 in Mormon Campaign 1848-1858 | 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. Pursuant to orders received by General Wool, who had relieved General Taylor at Monterey, in northern Mexico, the companies on duty there, D, C, H, were ordered to duty in California and New Mexico. Lieutenant Colonel Washington was placed in command of the detachment, which also included three companies of the First Dragoons and a battery of artillery. Leaving Monterey July 25, 1848, they made a pleasant march to Chihuahua City, arriving there August 26. While here they were hospitably received by the people, and the courtesies were returned by giving a review for the Governor. Upon leaving Chihuahua the detachment was split into two parts. Lieutenant Colonel Washington with Company H, under Lieutenant Pleasanton, and the First Dragoons and artillery took the road to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they arrived October 10 for station. Companies D and E under Captain Graham and Lieutenant Campbell proceeded to California on an historic march. Traveling northwest they came to the Santa Cruz River and followed it down to Tucson, Arizona. Thence they marched to the Gila River, which was reached by the end of October, and the Colorado River on November 22. From there the march was a severe one on account of the scarcity of supplies. Many of the horses died for lack of food and the men nearly starved. They finally arrived at Los Angeles, January 9, 1849, for station. The effectiveness of Companies D, E, and H was greatly diminished by the numerous desertions on account of the California gold excitement. During May, Companies D and E moved to the Presidio of Monterey, and in July they transferred to Camp Stanton, New Mexico. The following order illustrates the changes in customs at different periods. In 1874 Rodenbough says in his history of the regiment that if this General Order were published at that time, there would be hosts of resignations among the officers, as they would sacrifice comfort, friends, health, life, but never mustaches. Following is the order: WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL’S OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C., July 6, 1848 GENERAL ORDERS NO. 25 II. The hair to be short, or what is generally termed “cropped”. The whiskers not to extend below the lower tip of the ear, and a line thence with the curve of the mouth. Moustaches will not be worn (except by cavalry regiments) by officers or men on any pretense whatever. (Army regulations, p. 215.) The non-observance of the above regulation (tolerated during the war with Mexico) is no longer permitted. It is enjoined upon all officers to observe and enforce the regulation. By order of the Secretary of War, R. JONES, Adjutant...

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Posted by on Dec 19, 2008 in Mormon Campaign 1848-1858 | 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. During 1849 the non-commissioned officers and musicians of Companies D, E, H, and K were ordered on recruiting service and the privates still remaining after the desertions to the gold country were transferred to the First Dragoons. While attached to this regiment and still under their own designation, thirty men of H Company were sent out under Brevet Major Steen, First Dragoons, on July 5, 1849, on a scout after Apache Indians who had killed several Mexicans at the Placer Mines, forty miles south of Santa Fe. On July 11 Major Steen found two of the captives who had escaped and later came upon the hostiles in the White Mountains near Dog Canyon, killing five and having three dragoons wounded. On the return march the detachment suffered much for lack of food but finally succeeded in getting relief on July 25. The duties of the companies stationed in Texas consisted of giving protection to the settlers against the Comanches, Apaches, and other wild tribes which wandered about over this vast area. These tribes had never been punished for violent acts under the Spanish or Mexican rule. They naturally expected to continue their depredations under the American rule, and would not give up their old ways without being forced to do so. To quell these Indians the companies in Texas were stationed at the following frontier posts in January 1850: Company A was at Fort Croghan, B at Fort Martin, C at Fort Inge, F at Fort Worth, G at Fort Lincoln, and I at Fort Graham. During the year 1850 Company C under Captain Hardee, and G, under Captain Oakes, were especially active in campaigning against the Indians. While returning from an escort to Fort Duncan, a party of four Dragoons was attacked by over fifty Indians near Fort Inge early on the morning of March 3, 1850. An ambulance had been brought back with the detachment to convey a Mexican woman, the wife of a discharged soldier. The Indians were concealed near a water hole, some mounted and some dismounted. When the group stopped, the savages fired upon them, killing one man. As the mules became unmanageable the woman jumped from the ambulance and ran. The whole group finally met another escort on its way from Fort Inge. Captain Hardee immediately took up the trail as soon as the incident was reported and followed it to the Rio Grande. Here he made a raft to assist in crossing, as the water was high, but never succeeded in doing so. Later he reported the incident of the attack to the Mexican authorities at Presidio, who continued the...

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Posted by on Dec 18, 2008 in Mormon Campaign 1848-1858 | 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. Pursuant to orders from the Department headquarters at San Antonio, Captain Hardee organized an expedition against the Indians in July, 1850. He directed Captain Oakes with G Company to move down the left bank of the Frio River, Captain Wallace with his company of Texas volunteers to move down the right bank of the Nueces, and with Company C, he scoured the country between the two rivers. Company G came upon a camp of a small party of Indians July 11 and killed two and captured twenty-one horses and all of the equipment. This manner of combing the country was kept up all summer by Captain Hardee. As soon as one expedition was finished another started, usually in small groups of about one company, with all moving at the same time over a given area. This method of sweeping the ground met with success as various detachments of the force met the hostiles several times. On August 12, Captain Oakes was severely wounded in a fight with a party of Indians, but he killed three and captured a number of horses. Lieutenant Tyler of C Company, while guarding Fort Inge in the absence of the troops, heard of a fresh trail of Indians nearby. Following them to the Nueces he came upon a party of thirty strong, well posted. He charged at the head of ten men, killed two, wounded several, and captured much property. CAPTAIN HARDEE’S REPORT SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS September 14, 1850 MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of troops under my command in a campaign against the Indians, made in obedience to Orders No. 27, of June 4, 1850. On the receipt of your order, I concentrated Captain Oakes’ company, 2d Dragoons, and Captain Wallace’s company, Texas volunteers, at Fort Inge: and, on the 23d of the same month, made the following disposition for a combined movement on Fort Merrill: I directed Captain Oakes to move down the left bank of the Rio Frio: Wallace to move down the right bank of the Nueces: while I moved, in person between these rivers, crossing the Nueces about 25 miles from Fort Merrill. At the same time, I sent a detachment of Wallace’s company, under Lieutenant Brady, direct to Loredo, with instructions to the mounted company at the post to examine the country north of the San Antonio and Loredo road; while Brady was directed to examine the country south of the same road, and report at Fort Merrill. The mounted company at Loredo was ordered to return to its post after making the scout above indicated. Oakes reached Fort Merrill on the 3d July, Wallace and myself on the 5th, and Brady...

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Posted by on Dec 17, 2008 in Mormon Campaign 1848-1858 | 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. Company K, which had been inactive since January, 1848, was reorganized in September, 1849, and took station at Albuquerque, New Mexico. An expedition against the Indians consisting of two companies of the First Dragoons, led by Captain Grier of that regiment and Company K, Second Dragoons, under Lieutenant Adams, First Dragoons, because of the shortage of officers in the Second, left Rayado, New Mexico, July 23, 1850. They traveled north to the Verniego River, up that river to its source, and thence across the headwaters of the Canadian River. After two days and nights of almost constant travel over rough mountains, the spies reported a small party of hostile Indians in sight. Company K, acting as advance guard, attacked the savages, killing or wounding all of them and capturing their animals. Continuing the march that night, Captain Grier came upon the main hostile village about 1:00 p.m. on the 26th, situated on a mountain side in a thick growth of aspens which was surrounded by marshy ground. The Indians put up a running fight, but on account of the difficult terrain, the troops soon lost sight of them. In these fights the dragoons lost one sergeant killed, while the Indians lost six killed, six wounded, many horses, mules, cattle, and sheep, and much provisions...

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