Category Archive 'Mormon Campaign 1848-1858':

MOVE TO TEXAS

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.

us5e2cv61After 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 Adjutant-General

MOVE TO CALIFORNIA AND NEW MEXICO

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.

us5e2cv61Pursuant 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 Staunton, 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 General

FIRST ACTION AGAINST APACHES

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.

us5e2cv61During 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 pursuit.

HARDEE EXPEDITION

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.

us5e2cv61Pursuant 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. Read more…

K COMPANY ACTIVATED

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.

us5e2cv61Company 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 captured.

COLONEL HARNEY BECOMES DEPARTMENT COMMANDER IN TEXAS

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.

us5e2cv61After the death of General Brooke, the Department Commander in Texas, Colonel Harney of the Second Dragoons was acting commander during much of the year 1851. By redistributing the troops and building new posts he succeeded in stopping most of the incursions of the Indians. There was an expedition sent out in June to investigate the Indian villages along the Brazos River, and Company I, under Captain Sibley, was the escort.

Captain Hardee, with Company C, made a census of the Indians in Texas during the summer of 1851. There were not nearly so many of them as it was generally believed, as he enumerated only 3,952 who lived along the Texas border. In this same expedition Captain Hardee succeeded in inducing the Indians to give up prisoners in their possession. During this year the troops were also called upon to disarm parties of filibusters operating on both sides of the Rio Grande. One of these, under a Mexican named Carvahal, crossed the border several times, but was beaten back and finally arrested by the soldiers. In October, Sergeant John F. Schmidt with a detachment from Company C conducted a scout near Fort Inge so successfully that he was complimented by the Department Commander.

On February 5, 1852, Corporal Stanger and ten men of Company C were sent from Camp Drum on the Rio Grande to chastise a marauding band of Indians. After a rapid pursuit of two days he overtook the savages and routed them, killing three, wounding one, and recovering much stolen property.

During 1852, the companies in New Mexico traveled several hundred miles per month on arduous field service pursuing Navajo and Apache Indians. The most prominent affairs took place at Laguna Jornado del Muerto January 25. Lieutenant Pleasanton, with Companies D, E, and K, attacked a large band of Apaches, putting them to rout. The dragoons had five men killed.

During the year 1853, Forts Croghan, Graham, and Worth were abandoned in Texas. At the end of the year the companies in that state were stationed as follows: Company A at Fort Mason, B at Fort Belknap, C at Fort Chadbourne, F at Fort McKavett, G at Fort Terrett. Company I was temporarily at Camp Cottonwood, New Mexico, but later returned to Fort Belknap, Texas, for station.

COLONEL BOONE RETIRES

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.

us5e2cv61Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Boone resigned July 15, 1853, after serving in various units, beginning as a captain of Missouri rangers in 1812. Later he served as a captain of Mounted Rangers in 1832, and then as captain and major of the First Dragoons since its inception in 1833, until he was made lieutenant colonel of the Second Dragoons in 1850. A worthy son of Daniel Boone, he was a finished woodsman and knew the paths leading across the plains of the West. Major Philip St. G. Cooke was made lieutenant colonel, and Major Enoch Steen, First Dragoons, was made major of the regiment.

MURDER AND DECEIT

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.

us5e2cv61Lieutenant Arthur D. Tree was sent out from Fort Belknap, Texas, with twenty men of Company B, on March 8, 1854, in pursuit of a small band of Kickapoos guilty of murdering the Indian Agent and a friend near that post. Lieutenant Tree followed the trail into New Mexico and finally got information of the culprits near Fort Arbuckle, where they were punished. The detachment returned to Fort Belknap March 28 after a march of 360 miles.

A tragic affair took place between Company H, under Lieutenant David Bell, and White Wolf with his band of Apaches on the Cangillon River about seventy miles east of Fort Union, New Mexico. These Indians were guilty of murdering an entire white family in a most brutal manner. When Lieutenant Bell finally overhauled the Indians March 5, 1854, he found they wished to parley. The two parties were drawn up opposite each other about twenty paces apart, the Indians on foot and the dragoons mounted. By actual count it was found that there were twenty-two well-armed savages in line and exactly that many soldiers after a few men had been detached to guard the packs. Bell was an excellent horseman and buffalo hunter, being known to have killed five buffalos in a quarter of a mile. White Wolf and Bell rode out in front of the two lines and held a long, tedious conference. Finally, the chief kneeled and aimed his rifle at the officer. As the latter threw his body forward and reined in his horse, each fired. Immediately both lines fired and at the same time the dragoons rode forward over their adversaries. They turned about and rode through a second and third time but by now the Indians were escaping in a steep ravine, forcing the horsemen to pull up at the edge. Two of the men were killed at once and four severely wounded. Fifteen of the Indians were killed or wounded, including White Wolf, whom Lieutenant Bell wounded several times and finally the soldiers killed.

Discovering another band of Apaches arriving to reinforce those in the ravine, and being encumbered by the wounded, Bell decided to send to Fort Union for help. First Sergeant Lawless, a fine rider and woodsman, was selected to deliver the message to Lieutenant Colonel Cooke. He left camp at 2:00 p.m. and, after traveling over much rough and unknown terrain, arrived at the post at 10:00 p.m., a distance of seventy miles. The Indians having drawn off, Lieutenant Bell started back and met the relieving party about forty miles from the fort.

KIT CARSON

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.

us5e2cv61Word was received by Lieutenant Colonel Cooke at Fort Union, New Mexico, on March 31, 1854, of the repulse of Lieutenant Davidson, First Dragoons. The Jicarillo Apaches had combined to assemble about 200 warriors and attacked the company of the First, which had sixty men. After a desperate fight of three hours, Davidson was forced to withdraw with the remnant of his company, having over thirty-five killed and seventeen wounded.

Lieutenant Colonel Cooke organized an expedition at once to pursue the hostiles. This force was made up of Company H, Second Dragoons, a detachment of the First Dragoons, and a company of the Second Artillery, and was joined at Fort Burgwin by some more men of the First Dragoons and about thirty New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians as scouts under the famous Kit Carson, who was now Indian agent for the Apaches. This force of 189 men followed the savages over deep snows and along the edge of frightful precipices until April 8, when the enemy was overtaken in a good defensive position in the canon of Ojo Caliente.

The artillery company, who were serving as riflemen, and the scouts formed skirmishers to the front and attacked at once. Lieutenant Bell, with Company H, Second Dragoons, passed at a gallop to the right flank of the enemy, climbed a mountain and began firing upon the Indians from above. This action threw them into a panic and they began to withdraw. The reserves were then sent in pursuit at once and the retreat became a panic. It was found later this force numbered 150 warriors under Chief Chacon and they lost about five killed and six wounded, while the soldiers lost one killed and one wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Cooke pursued them for three days in severe cold and deep snow, but after the Indians split into small groups or bands he decided to give up the chase and return. This tribe of Apaches were humbled by the fight and soon sued for peace. Lieutenant Colonel Cooke had the following to say about Company H in this combat:

“But it would be injustice to pass over the fact that the handsome charge of Lieutenant Bell, in which the superior instruction and discipline of his company seconded him well, and the fortunate position which they took – penetrating the enemy’s line – had the effect of striking him with panic, and perhaps decided the victory at the first blow. I commend this, his second distinguished service under my orders, to the most favorable consideration.”

MOVE TO KANSAS

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.

us5e2cv61Near Moro River, New Mexico, on June 30, 1854, Companies D and H, under Captain Sykes, were engaged with the Indians. Lieutenant Maxwell, Third Infantry, acting as adjutant of the expedition, was killed and two men from H Company, Second Dragoons, were wounded.

Companies D, E, H, and K, left New Mexico under Lieutenant Colonel Cooke in September, 1854, and marched via Fort Riley, Kansas, to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where they arrived October 7. At the latter post they were recruited and remounted for field service the following year.

NEW MEXICO TO KANSAS…D, E, H, AND K

Headquarters of the Army
Adjutant-General’s Office
Washington, March 15, 1854

GENERAL ORDERS No. 10

1….Should the commander of the Ninth Department still adhere to his recommendation of October 31, 1851, for the reduction of five companies of his cavalry force, he will order to Fort Leavenworth, when their services can be dispensed with, the four companies (D, E, H, and K) of the Second Dragoons now serving in New Mexico, transferring therefrom to the First Regiment a sufficient number of men (with their horses) to fill up the five companies of the regiment remaining in the Territory. The men so transferred will be selected from those having the longest periods to serve, and in such a manner as to equalize as far as practicable the strength of the four companies from which they were taken.

By command of Major-General SCOTT

L. THOMAS, Acting Adjutant-General