After the curtain falls on the Civil War our view is likely to be riveted on crowds of worn soldiers longingly hurrying homeward, hastily flinging aside muskets, fervidly grasping pruning hooks and feverishly pursuing reconstruction. The tragedy of blood gives place to the social drama. The fighting man plows his fields at the very base of the volcano that has been spouting fire with so much fury. The soldier becomes the civilian, the country becomes complacent and the need for arms is no more.
Such a retrospect would be beautiful, if true. It seems too bad to spoil the illusion by calling attention to conflicts that were snapping their jaws at the very stability of our nation. The Fenians were disrupting Canada and ready to spread their strife across the border. The Indians, more confident than ever because of the withdrawal of the army for the war, were banded together in large bodies and bringing murder and destruction to over half the area of the present United States. The southern states had to be put under military protection until they could resuscitate their control under the coming difficult elections. And Mexico was held by Napoleon, who had made the Archduke Maximilian emperor during the preoccupation of the United States in civil strife. Across the Rio Grande the new government, insecure against the attacks of its republican opponents, was inimical to the interests of the United States and ready to receive with open arms the irreconcilables of the Confederacy.
The situation in Mexico was then thought to be so perilous, and the new empire so much in league with the Confederacy
1865 General Grant ordered General Sheridan, the new commander of the Department of the Mississippi, westward. The degree of alarm felt at this time is shown by the fact that Sheridan was not allowed to remain for May 23, 24
1865 the grand review in Washington, where naturally he wished to march with his troops and take his leave of them.
1865 Arriving in Texas, Sheridan caused one column of cavalry under Custer to go to Houston and another under Merritt to go to San Antonio. Not satisfied with this display of force, he had one division of the Thirteenth Corps occupy Galveston and another Brazos Santiago. Then he ordered the Fourth Corps to Victoria and San Antonio and most of the Twenty-fifth Corps to Brownsville. Such a large army gave pause to the Mexican Empire, principally because Sheridan's divisions were made up of tried veteran soldiers. There was nothing in quality or quantity across the Rio Grande that could stop these disciplined men, and Maximilian knew as much. Sheridan, giving aid to the Republican element both by his moral influence and by furnishing arms, did not make the emperor's position more tenable.
Though this threatening empire was set up at our very doors, it was not the greatest menace to our peace. By the end of 1862 all of the regulars had been recalled from the west in order to lend their weight to the absorbing struggle of the Union. The Indians, unchecked, had organized their smaller tribes into large forces and made the country west of the Mississippi a scene of massacre and rapine. The work of the army between 1848 and 1861 had been practically undone, so far as safety in the great west was concerned. Though the settlers banded together and protected themselves as best they could, the strong and subtle savage would conserve his strength and surprise too often small settlements. He grew so bold that he penetrated Minnesota by the end of 1862. By that time he had killed no less than 644 unoffending whites. After taking 500 of them prisoners, he was compelled to cease operations by the coming of winter. The following spring General Pope organized two columns, one under Sibley and the other under Sully.
p300 Sibley went west from St. Paul while Sully set out from the state of Missouri.
1863 The former was to drive the Indians back, while the latter should cut off their retreat. Sibley with his 2,000 men drove the Indians before him, but they were a stubborn enemy. Twice they surprised him and were finally enabled to cross the Missouri River near Apple Creek with the loss of only a few warriors, their tents and provisions. Sully, in the meantime, had been delayed. Though the Indians had crossed the river, he still determined to attack them. By careful work he finally surprised them at White Stone Hill where he dispersed them.
Although these and similar actions of the volunteers were momentarily successful, they were indecisive and the west was in no wise safe. It is true that 2 companies of Kansas volunteers repulsed an attack of the Ute Indians at Fort Halleck in Idaho and that Kit Carson a year later (1864) dispersed with 400 men the Navahos in New Mexico. But the Civil War was of so much import by comparison that the savage could only be slapped at now and then, while he, with growing confidence, reddened his tomahawk and glutted his lust in the quivering flesh of the white.
After the Civil War was over, it was difficult to get the volunteers to act against the Indians. They felt they should go home, because the time and purpose for which they had been called out had passed.
1865 Already the mustering out of 1,034,064 volunteers and militia had begun and the regular army was way below strength. Sept.
1865 General Connor struck a blow along the Powder River when his small force conducted four pitched battles against the Cheyennes, Sioux and Arapahoes and killed several hundred Indians. But the expedition became mutinous. Supplies did not arrive and about 300 of his volunteers deserted him.
Active campaigns against the western tribes could scarcely be conducted with success under such circumstances. The Indian had become powerful and confident. He believed the withdrawal of troops was an indication of the white man's cowardice and inferiority. It was small wonder that the Blackfeet ran wild in Montana, especially through the Gallatin Valley, that the Cheyennes in force were operating along the
p301 Platte and the Arkansas,
1865 the were leaving their reservation and going on the warpath, and the Apaches in New Mexico were showing signs of activity. The white men at their little settlements were ambushed, killed, mutilated and scalped, the women ravished and the children and supplies carried into the tepees of the savages. And so went on the outrages in the west while the government was swiftly dispersing its masses of trained volunteers and slowly organizing its few and scattered regulars.
Equally distressing was the situation in the former Confederate States. About 19,000 Union soldiers were distributed through 134 posts in the erstwhile Confederacy. They were sent there to support the "carpetbagger" and to uphold the stringent laws of a severe Congress. They had to give aid in enforcing, oftentimes, measures in which they did not believe or with which they had no sympathy.
"The terrible oppression of the Southern people embodied in those acts of Congress," writes General Schofield, "has hardly been appreciated by even the most enlightened and conservative people of the North. Only those who actually suffered the baneful effects of the unrestrained working of those laws can ever realize their full enormity."
Although generals in command of the military districts of the South1 did their best to carry out the laws with kindness, sympathy and justice, they could do little when they were forced to exclude from office all who had given "aid and comfort" to the secession movement; when those who whipped negroes had to be punished; when the black man had to be used as a witness in court and was allowed to vote; and when judges, juries or district attorneys had to be prodded and have their cases at times taken to military tribunals. Riots, too, had to be suppressed, but usually only a show of force caused the prevention of any great amount of bloodshed.
In the North, many Fenians had emigrated after the War p302 to Ireland in the hope of gaining freedom from England. The movement was similar in some respects to that made by the Irish after the World War. Many prominent individuals in America were sympathetic to the extent of giving large amounts of money and many arms to further the rebellion. 1865 Such acts were embarrassing to the United States government in its diplomatic relations with England. John O'Neill even prepared an expedition within our borders for the purpose of invading Canada. And the Federal government was powerless, with the dissolution of its war army and its meager regular units, to prevent the threatening activity of the American agitators.
If we take into account the Alabama Claims against England, we find the United States, at the end of the Civil War, completely surrounded with hostility.
The trained veterans of a long war were rapidly disappearing. By fall 800,963 had been mustered out.
1865 The regular army was far below strength, because its recruitment had been unable to compete with the large bounty and the short enlistment of the volunteers. Out of the 4482 companies, authorized by law, only 295 stood organized at the cessation of hostilities. This weakness was slightly offset, however, by the fact that throughout the year some valuable veteran soldiers, who were discharged from the volunteers, joined the regular army.
Even so, there was a great dearth of rank and file for the permanent forces. How could it be otherwise when the pay of a private for fighting Indians under awful hardship and in lonely places was the enormous sum of $14.87½ a month?3 The difference between the pay of a private and corporal was $2, scarcely enough to pay the wash bill. When ambition and even decency were taken away by the government from the recruit, it is not to be marveled at that too great a proportion p303 of the offscourings of the community went west to make up the companies' quotas. The untrustworthy material had to be transformed by the officers into capable and faithful soldiers, or life and property might easily slip away.
The work of distributing over the precarious fronts, the regular army and volunteers, when the former were being reorganized and the latter dissolved, was not any simple matter. General Grant cut the Gordian knot by having the regulars spread out over the country as soon as their units could be sufficiently assembled. The Third Artillery was scattered among the coast forts of the northeast from Fort Sullivan, Eastport, Maine, to Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island; the First Artillery from Fort Trumbull, New London, Conn., to Sandy Hook, N. J.; the Fourth Artillery from Fort Delaware, Delaware, to the city of Washington; the Fifth Artillery from Fortress Monroe, Virginia, to Dry Tortugas, Florida; and the Second Artillery from Canada to Mexico on the Pacific coast. The Second Cavalry joined General Sherman in the Division of the Mississippi and the Sixth Cavalry General Sheridan on the Mexican border. The 12 companies of the Fifth Cavalry were equally split between the Middle Department, Department of Washington and the Division of the Tennessee. The Fourth Infantry was scattered among the northern forts of Brady, Wayne, Niagara, Ontario, Madison Barracks and Rouses Point as a protection against the Fenians. The Third, Tenth and Eighteenth Infantry joined General Sherman at St. Louis for distribution over the west. The Second Infantry went to Newport Barracks, Kentucky. The Seventeenth and part of the Fourteenth were at Hart's Island, held in readiness for emergencies.
1865 Other regular regiments were in process of reorganization near Washington, with Sheridan in Texas or scattered through the southern states.
1865 Altogether, our land forces in the latter part of this year were in a most jumbled state. The volunteers in the south and west were restless and unruly, now that the big fight was over. One northern regiment had been disarmed at San Antonio, Texas, for mutiny. Brevet major generals and brigadier generals in the volunteers had to a great extent been discharged, and those regulars who had been attached to the state troops p304 were back with their regiments and were serving in minor capacities as field and company officers, or sometimes in the mediocrity of a lieutenancy. Regiments and battalions of United States troops were more scattered than ever, because the army was too small to take care of all the nation's troubles, especially since the volunteers were going out so rapidly. By the end of the year about 900,000 of the war troops had been discharged. More work was thus saddled on the regular and less pay given him in return.4
1865 However, by the end of the year, the army had accomplished much in spite of its handicaps. General Sheridan, though forbidden by the State Department to take an active part against Maximilian, had marched his troops, reviewed them and obtained large supplies and much ammunition. The emperor's party was so convinced that this excellent United States army was going to swoop down on Mexico that it withdrew its forces far to the interior from the northern boundaries. The republican side could then gain many adherents and have scope in which to work.
Much had been done to conciliate the red man who had been mistreated by Indian agents. In too many cases theft and broken promises on their part had made the work of the army difficult. There was a well-ordered attempt on the part of the officers in command in the west to understand the Indian's viewpoint, and to make peace was as many of them as would abide by law and order in return for good treatment and food. When, however, the civilian representatives of our government made profit by delivering poor food and carelessly overturned previous agreements, the Indian lost faith in all white men and looked suspiciously upon treaties. In spite of these conditions, Colonel Leavenworth and Brevet Brigadier General Sanborn made peace with many of the Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches south of the Arkansas.
1865 The agreement was characteristically signed by such gentlemen as Little Mountain, Lone Wolf, Heap of Bears, Bear-Runs-Over-a‑Man and Raw Hide Blanket.
Although the volunteers were going out as fast as it was possible to let them go with safety to the country, they held a
p305 grievance against the government. They claimed that the United States had violated its contract with them in keeping them longer than their enlistment called for. Such attitude dispatched their departure into civil life.
1866 By the middle of the year, 1,001,670 had been discharged.
Restlessness in the regular service was manifested by desertion of enlisted men, mainly because the proper type could not be obtained under the pay and subsistence offered. Officers, too, who suddenly found themselves acting as captains, after they had been general officers through four years of supreme test, could hardly be at the height of their zeal and energy. The sop of brevet rank, which amounted only to a matter of title and uniform, did not help much.5
In spite of these handicaps the army went forward in bettering social and technical conditions. In the South situations of the gravest tension were overcome. In the West, peace with many Indian tribes was made, and on the Texas border the demonstrations by Sheridan were making the Mexican throne tremble.
1866 When O'Neill led some American forces into Canada in the furtherance of the Fenian movement, General Meade, in command of the Military District of the Atlantic, stationed soldiers of his forces so as to prevent further trouble. Although the wires were cut into Canada no further outbreaks were allowed.
Within the army, the Freedman's Bureau, which operated to give succor to the destitute, was governed wisely by Brigadier General O. O. Howard. 1866 In one year alone over 15,000 freedmen and their children attended schools established by the Bureau.
That the army was not asleep along technical lines is testified to by the improvements adopted. One of the two authorized mounted batteries in each artillery regiment was armed with four Napoleon and four 3‑inch rifled Rodman guns. Boards of officer were preparing to adopt a standard breechloading weapon for the service.
1866 Another arsenal was allowed by Congress at Rock Island, Illinois. A manual for p306 military gymnastics appeared, which showed the soldier certain direct methods of keeping fit.
Against the tides of discord that were rising around the nation, the army was striving to be a barrier. But again its attempts were pulverized by the splitting of its units throughout the vast territory of the United States.6 Since the opening of the year, Congress could not help but see that a larger regular force was necessary if peace was to be assured. The Senate had seen fit to give a substantial strength to the army and had passed such a measure as early as March, but the House, as always, demurred. Finally, late in July, over a year after Appomattox, the law, which prescribed a certain amount of protection against the country's many enemies, went into effect.
1866 The legislation started off with a provision in the appropriation act for detailing as Superintendent of the Military Academy an officer of any arm of the service. Heretofore that position had been confined to officers of the engineer corps. This change heralded the transition of West Point from a purely scientific school to one of general education and basic training for all branches of the service.
1866 Fifteen days later the President signed an act making the army consist of 10 regiments of cavalry, 5 of artillery and 45 of infantry. The companies of cavalry and artillery numbered 12 of a regiment and those of infantry, 10. The authorized strength of the line branches totaled 630 companies. Though the cavalry was increased by 4 regiments, the infantry was not actually brought up from 20 to 45 regiments as the face of the bill would infer. It must be remembered that there were in the service 10 infantry regiments of 10 companies each and 9 of 24 companies each. Congress, instead of making the smaller units into larger ones, did exactly the reverse. It robbed the larger ones in order to make the whole 45 into smaller ones of 10 companies each. In this way it added only 134 companies, a number only half as great as 25 regiments of 24 companies each would require. By such process the standard size of the regiment which had been found most efficient and economical in p307 the Civil War was decadently abandoned. When it is considered, also, that 4 of the 45 regiments were to be composed of men who had been wounded in the service — the Veteran Reserve Corps — the activity of these units was further diminished, since this new corps could be held only for garrison duty. Besides, 2 of the cavalry and 4 of infantry regiments were to be composed of colored men.7
The company strength was made elastic. The President could have a minimum of 50 privates or a maximum of 100 for infantry and cavalry, and a maximum of 122 for artillery. As a start, the commander in chief made a standard of 64 privates for all companies except 10 batteries8 of light artillery which were to have 122 each. Thus the paper strength of the army after the act amounted to 54,302 rank and file.9
Lieutenants had to be selected from volunteers. Grades above lieutenancies had to be filled in equal numbers from the volunteers and the regular army and by men who had had at least two years' service during the war and who had in that service been "distinguished for capacity and good conduct in the field." Regular officers who had held volunteer commissions were not to be considered volunteers but regulars under the above selection. Commissions had to be distributed over the states and territories in proportion to the number of troops furnished by them. With all these strings to selection, it was difficult to cull proper officers.
Several miscellaneous items might be noted in this legislation. A force of 1,000 Indian scouts could be enlisted in the west for aid in operations. The enlistment period for regular cavalry was for five years and for artillery and infantry, three. The general officers consisted of 1 general, 1 lieutenant general, p308 5 major generals and 10 brigadier generals. Staff departments had in addition an adjutant general, judge-advocate general, quartermaster-general, commissary general, surgeon-general, paymaster-general, chief of engineers,10 and chief of ordnance, all with pay and emoluments of a brigadier general. The inspector-general's department and the signal corps were apparently left out of this calculation, because 4 colonels with rank and pay of colonels of cavalry headed the former bureau and 1 colonel the latter.
All officers, before being commissioned, were required to pass an examination before a board of five officers from the arm of the service in which the applicant was to serve.
Sutlers at military posts were abolished and the subsistence department was to furnish officers and enlisted men with "such articles" at cost as the inspector generals designated.
Twenty officers from the army could be detailed to act as president, superintendent or professors at colleges and schools in order to further the knowledge of military science. Schools at posts for the basic education of enlisted men were also authorized.
Any officer who had served in the Confederacy in any capacity was debarred from being commissioned in the regular army. Federal officers could be retired with their full rank held at the time they received their wounds or disability. Brevet rank entitled an officer to wear the insignia and bear the title of his highest brevet grade, but debarred him from the corresponding "command, pay and emolument."
Such was the act which was to provide for the common defense. Although it was framed in weighty words, its limiting
p309 provisions restrained even the force authorized from stretching out in size great enough to awe the warring tribes and factions so as to prevent bloodshed. By this time most of the volunteers had left the service.
1866 Since about 1,015,000 had been mustered out, the regular force above prescribed was practically the sole defender of the nation.
1866 The boards for commissioning officers and the slow recruitment of proper enlisted personnel caused the actual strength of the regular army to be only 38,540. At the end of the year not more and 10,000 volunteers were left in the service, a great part of them being colored.
When the staff, heavy artillery and the outgoing volunteers are deducted, it can be seen that not more than 25,000 soldiers fit for duty constituted the entire bulwark to be held in readiness for Mexico, to enforce law in the south, to ward off Fenian uprisings in the north, and to hold in check the great masses of Sioux, northern and southern Cheyennes, Assiniboines, Piegans, Arapahoes, Kiowas, Pawnees, Miamis, Comanches, Nez Percés, Flatheads, and many lesser tribes, which swarmed over the country from Canada to the Rio Grande and from the Mississippi to the Pacific.
1866 In addition, marauders in Missouri were repeatedly committing outrages upon innocent persons, especially negroes. The communities in that region were in a state of terror. It was with great difficulty that troops at the direction of General Sherman were able to drive these desperadoes out of the state.
But the great west with its constant forays of hosts of redmen was the frightful problem for the reduced army. New strongholds had to be built and telegraph wires installed, with death lurking behind the trees, in the sagebrush or down in the cañon. The Indians were legion and the American defenders corporals' guards. With hammer in one hand and gun in the other, the soldier alternately built and fought.
Even the main forts such as Reno and Phil Kearny, in process of construction, held but a few hundred men. At the latter Colonel Carrington was attempting to complete the buildings and stockade, which he had begun. The small outpost of civilization measured only •800 by 600 feet. The occupants had p310 several times been attacked by Indians when the wood parties would go into the forest, but almost miraculously had succeeded in beating off savages. The soldier-builder was armed mostly with the old Springfield single loader and was quite at a disadvantage against the Indian who had been furnished by the Indian agents with modern repeaters. Once, in meeting a party of the red men, the soldiers were afraid to shoot, because their enemies were armed with revolvers and would slay them before they had time to fire again.
1866 While the few at the fort were busily completing the headquarters building and a one‑company barracks, 90 men, who had started for the pine woods for more lumber, were surprised by a large body of Indians. Under Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Fetterman, 84 officers and men started out in relief. The rescue party tried to cut off the retreat of what was afterwards learned to be about 2,000 warriors. At first the fort could plainly hear the firing and by noon the rattle of musketry was quite brisk. But soon it ominously decreased in volume. Captain Ten Eyck with the remaining 76 men, all that could be collected, including teamsters and civilians, started out as a second relief about one o'clock. By the time he got to the ridge overlooking the battle ground the firing had altogether ceased and below him in the valley the only thing to be seen was a large band of whooping savages who shortly began to draw off. Not a man of the Fetterman party was left to tell the tale. To this day the manner of death of that gallant detachment remains a mystery. The bodies were found so shockingly mutilated that many could scarcely be recognized, and the details of their appearance could not be printed. Some of the dead could not be located. The body of Lieutenant Grummund, whose wife was in delicate health at the fort, was after long search found next morning. Here lay a half-completed stockade, a handful of protectors and a stricken community in the wildest part of Nebraska. That the Indians did not return to scoop the survivors was no fault of our government.
While such outrages were being committed, the populace at large was quite skeptical of making any systematic effort with sufficient troops for the police of the west. J. P. Dunn, a p311 scholar intimately conversant with conditions then existing beyond the Mississippi, says:a
"It was the era of peace — in Washington. The Indians, in the annual reports, were doing nothing but defending themselves from the encroachments of lawless whites. They were ready and willing to do anything, if they could only secure schools and churches. Mr. Bogy, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, sat back and smiled sarcastically at reports of hostilities. The peace people were busy, working themselves into a white heat over the wrongs of the Cheyennes. The entire country looked contemptuously on the strength of the red men. What! we, who had just put down the greatest rebellion the world ever knew, to be terrified by a few half-starved Indians? Oh, no! The army was cut down to its lowest possible figure, and much of it was employed in the late insurrectionary states. Its arms were chiefly old‑fashioned muzzle-loaders, notwithstanding the wonderful improvements that had been made in weapons during the war. The Indians were better armed."
However, the loss at Phil Kearny made the public at least take notice. It was shocked — quite shocked. But its efforts were spent in investigations of the officers in command rather than in an attempt at adequate protection.
But the army itself sent relief. The other troops of the Eighteenth Infantry, who marched to the beleaguered fort, had the first touch of winter campaigning. Advancing though blizzards, with the thermometer ranging from 10 to 30 degrees below zero, these men suffered from frostbite and were sometimes frozen to death. The torture that these soldiers endured without any alleviation through endless ice and snow was indescribable, but they trudged on. Awakened from their little dog tents when it was too dark to see, reveille was a farce and breakfast in a foot of snow not much better. Often it was not possible to see more than •twenty feet ahead of the little column of twos. So strained were their nerves by the constant tension that in several cases a touch or a word would result in the same reaction as shell-shock during the World War.
While the Indian was thus in full cry on the plains, and our
p312 troops there were fitfully trying to check him, the situation in Mexico was reaching its climax. The Republic there, by the backing it had received from a large veteran army of Americans, was by now in the ascendency.
1867 Early in the year the French troops were withdrawn by Napoleon's order. The monarchy was doomed, and European control of the country of the Montezumas was at an end. How had such a radical overthrow come about without a war involving the United States? When Sheridan first appeared near the Rio Grande frontier, the republican forces were worn and weak. They could see no hope of ultimate power. Now after less than two years, they came into possession of the government. The reason is contained briefly in the great trained force Sheridan displayed in Texas. All Mexico knew its potential ability. So again history records the axiom that a mere show of actual strength often makes unnecessary the sacrifice of human life.
After Napoleon's forces were gone, many of the regiments that served in this enterprise could be released for use elsewhere, especially the cavalry. The army could be organized for work primarily in the south and west. With Grant as full general, Sherman as lieutenant general, and Meade, Sheridan, Thomas, Sickles, Steele,º Hancock, Hooker, Canby, Schofield, McDowell, Ord, Cooke, Pope, Howard and Terry as major and brigadier generals the troops were distributed in thirteen departments over the country.11 All the new regiments were at least skeletonized by recruitment or by transfer from other units. Yet the posts were small and the line was thin.
The soldier's life held no great comfort. That sort of thing he rarely expected. Yet he did wish to live decently and be free from debt. It was difficult enough to have to exist in tents and shacks in isolated places, to wage an uphill fight against Indians and to suppress riots, but when the pay was inadequate, he felt himself to be unjustly treated by a government for which he was constantly ready to risk his life.12
At the opening of the Civil War a captain, for instance, received the equivalent of $150 per month. When the volunteers p313 came into service, Congress, feeling that such amount was not enough for a nominal captain, raised the pay by the equivalent of $83 a month. But as soon as the volunteer went out, Congress immediately took away the $83 from the experienced captain. In the meantime prices had soared almost 100 per cent since 1861. The captain was left with his same $150 minus $5 for war tax. The reduction was relatively the same throughout all grades of the army. The consequence was that the regular could barely exist. He naturally asked himself why the volunteer needed so much more for his nourishment and comfort in the marches and battles of the Civil War than did the fighting man in the constant jeopardy and remoteness of the west.
After much urging and great arguing, the Congress, which had increased its own salaries 100 per cent since the war,
1867 finally passed a pay bill which partially relieved the beggary of the man who bore the brunt of the nation's perils. All officers below the rank of major general received a flat increase of 33⅓ per cent; "field and other mounted officers," the same emoluments as cavalry officers of like grade; and the enlisted man for three succeeding years, only, the same pay as the volunteer at the close of the Civil War.
How little the lawmakers were interested in having an economic and adequate second line is seen in their action on a possible militia law. After having been shown by plea and example that such a thing was necessary, they went to the radical extreme of striking the word "white" out of the old law of 1792, so as to include colored soldiers. That was all. The government persisted in using a fruitless provision that was seventy-five years old, although the states in many cases had established their own National Guards.
1867 It was during this year especially that the ex‑Confederate leaders of the South did their best to establish peace, law and order in the southern states. The great generals came out openly with earnest requests for the people to abide by the law. So insistent were they in this matter that they were criticized and sometimes lampooned for their stand. One southern writer claimed that Beauregard, Longstreet and Hampton were little more than "burglars because they counseled submission to p314 military acts." Of course, the aim of the northern leaders was the same as that of their former antagonists — and sometimes classmates. It was another instance where the trained soldier of both sides worked in his community toward cementing the bonds of peace, while those with lesser experience in war wished to prolong the strife.
On the plains, too, the soldier was trying to make lasting settlements with the Indians. He encouraged friendly relations and tried to overcome all controversies by a square word rather than a round bullet. His record will show that he preferred reason to rifles. Nevertheless, he tried to keep himself prepared and ready for his foe, so as to show his superiority speedily when the crisis came, to give the marauder a wholesome respect for the American soldier, not only make the redskin think twice before he started on the warpath. When in the peace conferences, the Indian claimed dishonesty on the part of the Great Father in Washington, it was sometimes embarrassing. An extract from a contemporary newspaper may allow one to read between the lines:
1867 "For the rest, General Hancock's campaign is now ended. His object was to make peace with tribes which would accept it, and to make war with the rest. In the hostile part of the expedition, little has been achieved; but the pacific conferences with the Comanches, Arapahoes and Kiowas promise good results. The great 'talk' with the Kiowas at Fort Larned, Kansas, was the last, and in many respects the most important, of the Indian conferences. The great chief of the Kiowas, Satanta, made a fine defense of himself and his tribe in his oration, disclaimed the desire for war, and fastened upon the Indian agents the charge of embezzling the annuity goods. To the latter accusation, General Hancock essayed no reply, but referred it to Washington."
In these conferences it was hard for the officer to justify to the Indian the wrongs he felt were taking place. At that point he had to keep silent. It was difficult, too, to get action in Washington, when he reported the misdeeds of other government agencies. Politics usually intervened.
p315 While the generals were having their "peace talks," the Indian was carrying on just the same his war of extermination on the whites, whether soldier or settler. Communication between the widely separated outposts of the army was usually dangerous and fatiguing. One officer at a lonely post wrote back east the following sketch:b
"We have finally succeeded in opening communication with Fort C. F. Smith,º •ninety miles above here on the Big Horn River. Up to three days ago we had heard nothing from them for two months, and were very anxious about them; but after repeated trials by mountaineers and miners near here to go through, we at length succeeded in sending two messengers, Sergeant Grant, of my company, and Sergeant Graham, of Company G. They started from here on foot, with snowshoes, and took to the mountains, with only ordinary clothing and six days' rations of hard bread and lard. Each night they cached one day's rations, and left a memorandum of what had happened to them. They finally, after much suffering and hunger, reached Fort Smith with our dispatches. They stayed two days, and were sent back with a half-breed named Boyer, each mounted, and with two pack mules. When they came to the Little Horn River, they saw where a buffalo had been killed, and moccasin tracks around it, and immediately left the road and made for the hills. When they had gone •about five miles and crossed a hill they stopped, looked back and saw about fifteen Indians after them. Their horses were blown, and Sergeant Grant had to shoot his. The other two men, getting frightened, ran away from him and left him afoot. He ran toward a clump of pines, about five hundred yards distant, and while so doing, he fell into a hole in the snow, and found that he had been running on the edge of a precipice of a sheer •two hundred feet fall, and had fallen on a little ledge of rocks, the entrance of which was through a hole that was covered with snow. He sat down under the cliff and waited. He had a Spencer carbine, breech-loading, and eighty rounds of ammunition, and he says he felt perfectly safe. He heard the Indians yelling about him, and soon they commenced to throw stones down the hole, which was •about ninety feet deep, and just sheltered him. Then one p316 Indian jumped down into the hole, armed with a Henry repeating rifle. When he (the Indian) saw Sergeant Grant he dropped his gun and gave a yell, and starting back fell over the ledge, which was narrow. In a few minutes another Indian let himself down, and Grant shot him, and threw his body over the bank. This was about nine o'clock in the morning. The Indians stayed near the hole until nearly dark, when a thick fog came up and they went away. He cautiously followed them, keeping in their trail for •about three miles, till they again struck the river, when he tore up his overcoat and made wrappings of it for his feet to hide the shoe nails,º and went up the river on the ice. He traveled four days and on the evening of the fourth day got into the post.
"When Grant made his appearance, covered with ice, and with the Henry rifle he had captured, Graham thought it was his ghost. He is very sick in the hospital now, with pleurisy and exhaustion, resulting from his suffering and exposure."
Space prevents recording the many acts of daring and times of suffering daily connected with the life of the little forts. Glimpses, here and there, into the thickest of the fights, the wayside heroism of individuals, the straining alertness of small detachments, and the general spirit of troops anxious to make peace, but ready to fight to the last ditch, can but sparingly reveal the never-ending self-sacrifice of the soldier. What he gave to his country, he tossed off without a whimper.
Although it is natural to dwell on this phase, it must not be forgotten that the staffs back east were working toward the technical and practical advancement of military work.
The Ordnance Department was adapting and standardizing weapons from knowledge gleaned in the Civil War. All sorts of breechloading repeating rifles were tried out with the help of getting the best arm for the service. Rodman's, Remington's, Spencer's and Roper's patents underwent test. But the hitch came when money was asked for to equip the army. Large rifled cannon had nevertheless come to stay, as well as metal carriages. The Gatling gun, firing from 80 to 100 cartridges in a minute, gave the service a rapid-fire weapon.
1867 It was in this year that Upton's Infantry Tactics for drill in double or single rank was adopted by the War Department. This system was the greatest single advance in exercises and maneuvers since the regulations of Steuben. Heretofore we had borrowed principally from the French when we wished to improve our systems. Brevet Major General Upton ingeniously devised, principally from his understanding of the Civil War, a set of regulations, peculiarly suitable to the American soldier. His results were obtained mainly from experience with troops. At West Point he tried out his methods with cadets and was able, in an exhibition drill given there, to take a company with no previous knowledge of his new regulations, and in an hour and a half make it go through the entire school of the company without a break.
The manual was far simpler of execution than in any previous work of the kind. The secret of the new managements depended upon the wheeling by fours, which was then for the first time enunciated in our country. This practical arrangement allowed the front rank to keep its place under any conditions and obviated the facings, inversions and cumbersome turnings previously thought necessary to cause a unit to change direction. Although we now call Upton's marching unit a squad, in reality it is nothing more than his set of fours. "Fours right about," "Right forward, fours right," and similar movements for the first time came into vogue. The fixed right and left was done away with, so that commanders had liberty of action on the march and for formation in battle. The skirmishers had supports which infiltrated into the line when needed. When two ranks were not necessary, a single rank could be formed so as to lessen the growing casualties due to the range and effectiveness of advanced weapons. The main features of Upton's tactics are still in use.
While the army was thus striving to better its efficiency, it was still kept busy with the Indians over a wide region. The extent of operations was widened by the purchase of the new country of Alaska.
1867 A garrison of 250 men, consisting of a company of artillery and a company of infantry, under General p318 Jefferson C. Davis,13 who had his headquarters at Sitka, attempted to police that new territory. One night a sentry on duty near the powder magazine saw a moving light in his vicinity. After challenging and receiving no answer, he fired and wounded an Indian. The chief of the tribe the next day asked General Davis for compensation for the injury. When the request was denied, the chief raised the British flag over the village. Davis then sent word that if the colors were not replaced by the United States emblem, he would open fire. The Stars and Stripes were raised the next day, but the Indians became surly and threatening for some time.
With such a small force in the midst of so many hostilities, the army's situation was precarious.
1868 Accordingly the Second Artillery was stationed on the island of Kadiak and several companies of the Twenty-third Infantry established a post at Cook Inlet. The difficulties of transit in this remote country were unbounded. July 16
1868 One vessel on the uncharted coast was broken up, and everything was lost but the lives of the troops. After one month of great hardship, the survivors were rescued. Nevertheless, in spite of handicaps General Davis succeeded in holding the natives in check.
While all this was going on in the extreme north, the position of the army in the southern states was changed by Congress. The former commonwealths were restored to the position they occupied before the war.
1868 The various military departments stationed there no more exercised enforcement or military control, unless called upon to do so by the civil government. The obnoxious duties of the soldier were somewhat lessened. But there were still to arise many occasions where the state governments called for force. Whenever such action was taken, destruction of life and property was prevented.
Although the soldiers were dispersed over a vast country and had diverse tasks to perform, Indian troubles were the main consideration of the army, for it was never for a minute allowed to forget them. Hardly a week passed, during those seasons of the year when Indians could operate, that the War Department did not receive some report of raiding, outraging, p319 or murdering the ranchmen and their families. When the soldier husband left the fort to punish the redman for his misdeeds, the soldier wife fed and ministered to the homeless survivors who had taken refuge in the army's stronghold built by the army's own hands. By succor and punishment the little companies pressed civilization into the remote nooks of our great land.
But it was a little disappointing sometimes to see the fruits of gruelling labor destroyed. Often after the army had spent years in building up a fort out of the wilderness, the stronghold had to be carted away or demolished. Back in Washington it would be decided that the site of the stockade would make a good reservation for the Indians or that the government needed it for other uses.
1868 Thus was Fort Defiance, New Mexico, abandoned and moved •seventy miles. Fort Reno was demolished. Fort Phil Kearny, which had been built, as we have seen, through almost daily bloodshed, was similarly discarded.
During these three years succeeding the Civil War the Indian had in no wise been intimidated. The tiny forts, far from each other, could do little more than drive back the red warriors after the outrages had been committed. The Indian respected one thing only — force — and when that was not forthcoming he grew bolder and more cruel. The victory at Fort Kearny had whetted his appetite. His increasing strength allowed him to molest parts of the country the meager army could not reach. By now the whole savage west was infected with lust for the destruction of the whites. Conspicuously, the Cheyennes under Roman Nose, a physical giant, had in one month killed or captured 84 settlers in Kansas. In that sparsely settled country they practically swept that state bare and even attacked the builders of the Kansas Pacific railroad.
Major Forsyth, of Sheridan's Staff, collected some 50 scouts in order to trail this band and locate its whereabouts. Each man's equipment consisted of a horse, saddle, bridle, haversack, canteen, blanket, knife, tin cup, Spencer repeating rifle and a heavy Colt's revolver. Four mules bore the small extra supplies and ammunition. No tents were carried.
For six days they scoured the country (they had only seven
p320 days' rations), finally coming up with the Indians at the Arikaree River.
1868 While the little detachment was encamped there, it was awakened early one morning by the cry from the sentry, "Indians." Forsyth barely managed to keep most of his horses from being stampeded and to draw off his party to a little island in the partially dry river bed. Hundreds of savages surrounded him on all sides, firing from both banks and hemming him in. His scouts dug in and the fallen horses formed a sort of breastwork. Roman Nose charged down the river bed with several hundred warriors. Half a dozen times he came on, only to be repulsed at each assault. Once a few braves gained the island, but could not retain it. When Roman Nose splendidly leading his last charge, was killed, the attacks became weaker. But the Indians, although they did not rally any more to the offensive, hovered about. Possibly 80 warriors had been killed, while Forsyth's 51 had suffered 23 casualties, nearly 50 per cent. Forsyth himself was wounded in three places and his second in command, Beecher,14 was dead. The little force, with such a hindrance of wounded, could not make a break for it. After harrowing trials a messenger finally made his way through to Fort Wallace. For nine days the unscathed, wounded and dead were huddled together for protection, and subsisted on putrid horseflesh and a few plums. Then the wretched and delirious survivors were rescued by troops from the fort. Such were the acts and the fate of a small party of soldiers who sallied forth into the wilds.
Aside from engagements of that character, battles and skirmishes which could have been avoided, were by mismanagement often forced on the army. The Indians were at this time managed by the Peace Commission and the Indian Department. These two independent controls seldom jibed and rarely settled a difficulty without ruction. The army had to be called in as a last resort, usually after affairs were so snarled that a fight was the only recourse. It did not help the spirit of the military man to be left to catch all the kicks and cuffs after he had been ignored in council. Many times he had a reasonable notion that his advice, if heeded, might have prevented hostilities.
Some 300,000 Indians now roamed the plains. To overcome the main force of these, General Sheridan had all told 1,200 cavalry and about 1,400 infantry. While the savages were moving in such quantity, he had too few troops to do the double duty of scouting and winning decisive victories.
1868 Accordingly he determined to wait until winter, when the failure of grass and the blight of cold weather would collect the redmen in large enough bands to make it worth while assembling his troops for attack. At that time 107 people had been killed, 57 wounded, 14 women outraged and murdered, one man, four women and 24 children taken into captivity, 1,627 horses, mules and cattle stolen, 24 ranches and settlements destroyed, 111 stagecoaches attacked and 4 wagon trains annihilated. This enumeration does not include the soldiers who had fallen in many actions. In committing these atrocities, the Indians had lost only 11 killed and 1 wounded. Sheridan felt that something decisive, no matter how desperate, would have to be undertaken, if further depredations were to be hindered.
1868 From Camp Supply in what is now Oklahoma, he started his campaign. One column, the Seventh Cavalry under Custer, was to go south while the remainder was to go northward later. Custer set out at four o'clock in the morning amidst a blinding snowstorm which sunk the thermometer to its depths. To Wolf Creek, •fifteen miles distant, he had to make his way entirely by compass. Camping there in the snow with the temperature •7 degrees below zero, his little command fought the sleep that foretells death by freezing. Thanksgiving
Day Nov. 26
1868 Along the banks of this stream he continued his march until he came to the Canadian River. The water there was not frozen enough to bear the troops so that they had to break the ice and ford through the icy current. Not long afterward, one of Major Elliott's scouts reported the fresh trail of Indians. Custer left his wagons under guard and had his troopers take one day's rations of coffee and hard bread. Many of the soldiers and some of the officers were by now suffering with frostbite and snow blindness. That terrible Thanksgiving night the dinner consisted of hardtack and coffee. Here were men staving off death from cold in order to fight a hard battle with savages who showed no mercy. In the moonlight the troops continued their march by following the Indian p322 trail. When within •a mile of one of the outlying Indian fires, an Osage scout said he smelled smoke. Shortly afterward, by the stealthy movement through the snowdrifts, the officers could make out a patch of black under the dim rays of the moon. It turned out later to be the camp of Black Kettle's band of Cheyennes formerly led by Roman Nose.
Custer gave orders to his officers, who worked quietly without their sabers, to lead their various squadrons into designated positions surrounding the village, which could be plainly seen to be on the banks of the Washita. When the troops had taken their assigned positions in utmost quiet, the pain and discomfort grew more bitter than ever. Four hours until dawn had to be spent in the intense cold of the night without so much as a beating of the hands to ward off the cold. After the suspense and suffering of a lifetime,
1868 a bugle broke the stillness just as the dawn was beginning to show. It was the signal for the charge. Though almost numb the horsemen grasped their reins, mounted and were nearly upon the camp before their presence was suspicioned by the savages. In an hour, Black Kettle's band of 103 was no more. The squaws and children, though some of them had used rifles with success, were taken prisoners.
But just as Custer was about to complete the destruction of the tepees, the valley below seemed to be alive with warriors. It was then realized that the principal bands of Kiowas, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Comanches and Dog soldiers had had their camp of about 2,000 red skins close by. The situation for Custer was grave, almost as much so as in a more fateful battle later. His ammunition was running low, the men were suffering extremely without their overcoats and the Indians were coming on with a rush. Dismounting his men and forming them in a semicircle about the camp he had taken, he awaited the onslaught. The issue of the battle swayed back and forth and it looked doubtful for the little handful of soldiers at this juncture. But Major Bell, the quartermaster, having heard the firing, drove a wagon of ammunition right through the midst of the savages and on into his own lines. The day was saved. Although the fighting continued during the remaining daylight, the Indians finally withdrew.
p323 An unknown number of Indians were killed in the fight subsequent to the taking of the village. Altogether, 53 squaws and children were captured, together with 875 ponies, 1,123 buffalo robes and skins, much powder, lead, arrows, tobacco, rifles, pistols, beef and other supplies. The Black Kettle village was burned. But Major Elliott and Captain Hamilton15 and 19 soldiers had been killed and many were wounded.
Custer had struck a blow at the depredations of these tribes. With the loss of so much material and warriors their future activities were curtailed. But he and his command were in a delicate position as to their own safety. With all possible dispatch he made his way back to Camp Supply with such harrowing sufferings to men and animals as few commands have ever experienced.
The main tribute that Custer and his troops received for their work was a series of articles in the public press branding him as a slaughterer of the innocent.
Another detachment under Major Evans, consisting of 7 companies of the Third Cavalry, 1 company of the Thirty-seventh Infantry and a battery of mountain howitzers,
1868 left Fort Bascom, New Mexico, for the punishment of the Comanche and Kiowa Indians. Dec. 7
1868 The troops marched the distance of •185 miles down the Canadian River, where they constructed a redoubt for defense. Dec. 18
1868 Pushing out from there without tents, they spent their Christmas eve at a dry camp near the Washita Mountains. That was a satirical holiday never to be forgotten by those soldiers. Hunger, cold and thirst conspired to rob their comfort. Indeed they were glad to exist through the night. At a cañon in these mountains, a band of Comanches was finally met with who tried to defend the pass. But when one of the howitzer shells burst in their midst, they scattered over the country in every direction. Sixty lodges, containing buffalo meat, corn, meal, flour, tobacco, coffee, sugar, salt, axes, hammers, hatchets, knives, powder, lead, bullet molds, saddles, lariats, bow and arrows and some very fine rifles were taken by the troops. As a result, many of the Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Comanches came in and surrendered unconditionally and without bloodshed. Jan. 13
1869 p324 Major Evans, when he returned to his depot, had covered in the dead of winter •400 miles in 29 days.
General Grant was now the President-elect. Though he showed conclusively in his reports that the existing forces were insufficient to cope even with the Indians, there was a general cry in the east for the reduction of the army. Grant knew that the best way to have peace in our territories was to have a force of sufficient size to establish it. Yet the public clamored for chopping expenses irrespective of results. There was a war party who strove for a quick peace by means of adequate protection and a peace party who brought on indecisive engagements by the establishment of weakness. The so‑called peace party won. The army, in its already weakened state, was sliced and large fragments cast away.
1869 The very day before Grant took the oath of office, a clause of the appropriation bill decreased the 45 regiments of infantry to 25. No new commissions, promotions or enlistments could be made until the contraction was complete. The enlistment for all troops was to be for five years.
The incoming President was saddled with a law which he knew would cost the country the lives of valuable men. In his appointment of General Schofield as Secretary of War and General Cox as Secretary of the Interior, he did as much as he could to overcome the woes that had been forced on him.
General Schofield was in a sad state of embarrassment over the army. If he waited to contract the army until casualties would take off the proper number of officers, the men enlisted in '66 and '67 for three years would all be gone. Many forts would have to be abandoned, to the great waste of life and property. He therefore, had to produce the shrinkage at once in order to reorganize for the immediate future. Accordingly, field officers who were to be retained were chosen in Washington; and the junior officers, in the departments. The senior in each grade was kept in the service in so far as such disposition was thought to be in the interest of efficiency. Many officers, who happened to be absent from their commands, were peremptorily cut off from the service. Excellent men of heroic record in the war and on the plains, who had a few years before been practically promised a life vocation by the government, were p325 cast back into their communities with lost years and a sorry face before their friends. They had borne their share of suffering and hardship for their country only to have the sieve of politics hold them as dross.16 The "Benzine Board" had the unwholesome task of sending out over 750 officers with one year's pay. The effect of this discard was to stagnate promotion for years and to make the retained soldier of gallant service feel unsafe in his position against the whims of party leaders.
Under these recurrent blows that kept striking the army during these years, officers and men may at times have grumbled, but they at no time became slack in their work. The newly organized units were sent in larger measure than before across the Mississippi.
While the regiments were plodding toward waste places across the continent, let us note for a moment a massive project of civilization for whose success the military man was responsible.
1869 The Union Pacific Railroad was completed this year, connecting the two oceans and binding the country together. General Dodge, an army officer of Civil War fame, had been the Chief Engineer. General Sherman had aided the work in every way by personal help and by ordering troops for its protection. At vulnerable points, soldiers had constantly driven off the Indians who were especially hostile to this inroad of the white man. Their buffalo hunting ground was cut in two and their country was about to be overrun with the palefaces. As a consequence, the railroad builder had to work and fight. The gangs were mostly discharged veteran soldiers who were organized into companies and battalions and who could drop their picks and grasp their rifles in a twinkling. General Dodge, who had served under Sherman, writes:
"The organization for the construction of the Union Pacific Railway was upon a military basis, nearly every man upon it had been in the Civil War; the heads of most of the engineering parties and all chiefs of the construction forces were officers in the Civil War; the chief of the track-laying force, General p326 Casement, had been a distinguished division commander in the Civil War, and at any moment I could call into the field a thousand men, well officered, ready to meet any crisis or any emergency."
Sheridan and Crook also more than satisfied the heavy demands of the railroad chiefs. So great was the dependence on the army itself that Oakes Ames said, "What makes me hang on is the faith of you soldiers." It is fair to state that this great bridge of progress and unification could never have been built had it not been for the army and army training.
The regimental band and 4 companies of the Twenty-first Infantry were present at the driving of the golden spike, a few miles west of Ogden, when east and west were made into one. It is said that the soldier musicians piped lustily at the exercise.
Since the army was pared down to almost laughable size, the Indian tribes underwent no setback, as the troubles of the railroad alone will show. Hundreds of settlers were being killed, and not a day passed that some company "somewhere in the west" was not called upon for rescue or control work.
Because the Piegans were especially active,
1869 a battalion of 4 companies of the Second Cavalry under Major Baker was sent to Fort Ellis in Montana. Many crimes had been committed there by some of the tribes of the Blackfeet, Bloods and Piegans. Since most of the Blackfeet were in British territory, the only Indians that could be reached by the army were the Bloods and Piegans. Jan. 6
1870 Major Baker left his post with his 4 companies and proceeded to Fort Shaw where he picked up 2 companies of mounted infantry. Jan. 19
1870 The weather was intensely cold and, to make matters worse, the marching from Fort Shaw had to be done at night on account of the necessary secrecy. For five days the troops camped in ravines in the snow, only to march again through the cold night. Jan. 23
1870 Near the Big Bend of the Marias, they came upon the camps of Bear Chief and Red Horn consisting of 37 lodges. The attack was a complete surprise, especially since smallpox had broken out among these tribes, so that even the few precautions taken by them in winter had been overlooked. In all, 173 Indians were killed, including p327 Red Horn. Many squaws and children were captured and 300 ponies were taken. Hastening on to Mountain Chief's camp the troops found only a deserted village, which they burned. Pressing forward into the country of the chiefs of the Bloods, Baker called upon the warriors to give up the stolen horses in their possession or receive the treatment of the Piegans. The horses were discreetly turned over and the little force made its way back to the forts. Whatever else may be said of this spirited expedition, it quieted the Piegans and the Bloods who forever thereafter ceased their pillaging of the unprotected whites. The very people in the east who made outcry against this mode of warfare, were the ones who were responsible in many cases for starving these Piegans later, because of insufficient appropriation and care.
1870 It was at this time that the Apaches, the most subtle savages we have ever dealt with, broke out from their reservation. From their fastnesses in New Mexico and Arizona, they would sally in small groups, never in large bodies, and pounce upon their prey much as did the mountain lions, their neighbors. To stalk these human animals was impossible for a white man. General George Crook was sent to command the Department of Arizona in the hope that he could solve the problem. Never did the War Department choose a more suitable commander. How closely he followed Steuben's plan of discipline is shown by Bourke's estimate of him:
"This was the point in Crook's character which made the strongest impression upon every one coming in contact with him — his ability to learn all that his informant had to supply, without yielding in return the slightest suggestion of his own plans and purposes. He refused himself to no one, no matter how humble, but was possessed of a certain dignity which repressed any approach to undue familiarity. He was singularly averse to the least semblance of notoriety, and was as retiring as a girl. He never consulted with any one; made his own plans after the most studious deliberation, and kept them to himself with a taciturnity which at times must have been exasperating to his subordinates. Although taciturn, reticent, and secretive, moroseness formed no part of his nature, which p328 was genial and sunny. He took great delight in conversation, especially in that wherein he did not have to join if indisposed.
"He was always interested in the career and progress of the young officers under him, and glad to listen to their plans and learn their aspirations. No man can say that in him the subaltern did not have the brightest of exemplars, since Crook was a man who never indulged in stimulant of any kind — not so much as tea or coffee — never used tobacco, was never heard to employ a profane or obscene word, and was ever and always an officer to do, and do without pomp and ceremony, all that was required of him, and much more.
"No officer could claim that he was ever ordered to a duty when the Department commander was present, which the latter would not in person lead. No officer of the same rank, at least in our service, issued so few orders. According to his creed, officers did not need to be deviled with orders and instructions and memoranda; all that they required was to obtain an insight into what was desired of them, and there was no better way to inculcate this than by personal example."
General Crook at once undertook to put a quietus on the lawless in his most characteristic way. Bourke again says:
"A campaign against the Apaches in their eyrie fastnesses among the rugged Sierra Madres could but be a series of detached fights. In fact, for many years and until the various bands of the whole tribe were finally rounded up, that was all there was to it, but it involved nearly twenty years' heartbreaking work, exhausting privation, bitter disappointment and the loss of many a gallant soldier, and was eventually accomplished only when our own troops, by persistent endeavor and repeated scouts, had mastered the general trend of valley, stream, and cañon, learned the location of the few water holes in the beds of the dry water courses, the rare springs in the hills, and the isolated passes through the unexplored mountain ranges, together with the stern fact that a trail once discovered must never be abandoned, but doggedly hung to and searched out, hour by hour, day by day, or on very rare occasions cornered and obliged to fight to a surrender or annihilation.
p329 "General George Crook, who was, without doubt, one of the very best and ablest Indian campaigners our Government has ever had, and at the same time one of the most absolutely just and true friends the Indian has ever known, when he was assigned to the command of the Department of Arizona adopted and put in practice a new course toward this people. First, he personally went over the country and obtained all possible knowledge of it and of the Apaches. Then, by guaranteeing their safety, he finally, after much trouble, succeeded in getting some of the leading Apache warriors to come in for a talk. His reputation as an honest and true man had reached even this people in the fastnesses of the Sierras, and finally, after much hesitation, a few of them came. He told them that their stay on the war path meant eventual extermination. That things were changing in their section of country and civilization was advancing, and would continue to do so, and set forth the advantages of peace, offered them immunity for the past, and protection for the future if they would surrender and settle down to a peaceful life. Otherwise, he must and would fight them to extermination. Furthermore, if all the bands would not accept the offer of the United States Government and come in, he would gladly offer immunity to those who would accept it, and wished them, in case the bad Indians would not give up the war path, to assist him in their capture; that there were both good and bad white men and good and bad Indians, but the good white men forced the bad ones to obey the law, and he expected that the good Indians would assist him, just as the good white men assisted the officers of the law in keeping peace and maintaining order. Runners were sent out to the various bands, and in a few months all the well-disposed Indians came in and surrendered. After a suitable length of time he put his troops in motion against the defiant bands.
"But when our troops moved against them it was with this tremendous difference: Each small command moved with eight or ten friendly Apaches, duly enrolled, clothed, equipped, and paid as United States scouts.
"In pursuit of the Indians all the soldiers divested themselves of every superfluous garment, and did not load themselves down with even a single ounce of impedimenta that they p330 could possibly do without. In summer they were almost as naked as the savages themselves, and were sunburned to the color of mulattoes, while in place of boots and shoes they were wore buckskin moccasins or rawhide sandals tied to their feet with thongs of the same material, which enabled them to follow their foes on the rocky trail at night silently, and with such sleuth-like movements that on several occasions, all undiscovered, they traced them to their very lair."c
General Crook, as Sheridan had done, decided upon a winter campaign, because he believed the Apache would have to come down from his high mountains on account of the cold.
1870 The Fifth and some of the Third and First Cavalry, and Twenty-first Infantry set out late in the fall.
Against only those Indians who refused peace on any terms did Crook proceed. The progress of the troops, especially in the Tonto Basin, was tedious and difficult.
1870‑1871 Through deep cañons and over alkaline deserts they marched and countermarched as the Apache would double on his trail. In five years, on of these regiments had 97 engagements and another marched •over 6,400 miles.
A happy climax of General Crook's efforts was to be expected. The Apache saw the fruitlessness of trying to escape the cunning scouts of his own tribe, backed up by the power of the trained, hardy soldiers. After five years most of these Indians came into the reservations and submitted. No fewer battles and actions under such wild conditions and against such a resolute enemy have ever been recorded.
1871 While the soldier in Arizona and over the west was thus straining himself to make the wilderness safe for democracy, the Congress pleasantly set another mark against the army by reducing the number of major generals to 3 and brigadiers to 6.
The incongruity of such a measure is further shown by the fact that troops had still to be in the south as well as the west.
1871 The New Orleans riots shortly afterward broke out.d The main one occurred near the customhouse. It seems that the two factions of the state were bitterly divided over the election of Governor . Some 4,000 whites and blacks collected near that public building and became so threatening that p331 3 companies of infantry were sent by General Emory to the scene of the demonstration. With 2 Gatling guns this little group of 150 soldiers pushed through the infuriated mob and dispersed the throng without bloodshed. Such instances of trained troops acting as pervasive medicine are so replete in our history that elaboration is unnecessary.
By the beginning of the next year the shrunken army had been completely reorganized. But it had to stretch itself far in order to cover the entire United States and Alaska. The heavy artillery naturally had to cling to the Atlantic. Only 2 light companies of each artillery regiment could be used for service elsewhere. Rarely were as many as 2 companies of any branch assembled at any one post.17
1872 General Sherman supervised the army from Washington. Lieutenant General Sheridan commanded the Division of the Missouri. Under him were Major General Hancock, commanding the Department of Dakota, Brigadier General Pope, commanding the Department of the Missouri, Brigadier General Ord, commanding the Department of the Platte, and Brigadier General Augur, commanding the Department of Texas. Major General Meade commanded the Division of the Atlantic. Under him were Brigadier General McDowell, commanding the Department of the East, and Brigadier General Cooke, commanding the Department of the Lakes. Major General Schofield commanded the Division of the Pacific. Under him were Brigadier General Canby, commanding the Department of the Columbia and Lieutenant Colonel George Crook, commanding the Department of Arizona.
1872 It was in this year that the full-dress helmet with its plumes and the coat with its aiguillettes were made a part of the uniform. The forage cap was of a little higher crown than the one in Civil War. The campaign felt hat without trimmings persisted. The fatigue uniform of blue was worn in the field except where commanding officers had to make such appropriate changes as did General Crook. Brevet uniforms, while officers were on duty, had been prohibited. (July, 1870.) Only actual rank was permitted to be referred to in orders. However brevet insignia could be placed on the collar of the coat.
1872 Target practice was emphasized to a greater extent than ever before. Estimating distant drill and the construction of butts and pits were required much as they are to‑day. The sliding target had not yet come into use. Wingate's Manual of Rifle Practice covered a course of 90 rounds for each man.
In upper California and lower Oregon a tribe of Indians broke into prominence mainly because of the unfair treatment by the government of these heretofore peaceable redmen. They had always been tractable and in one case had gone so far as to help voluntarily a white settlement, the town of Yreka, from the flames. It seems that the government in Washington had made a treaty with these Modocs which it failed to put into force for four years. At the end of that time it refused to carry out all the provisions. Nevertheless, the Modocs continued to dwell peaceably on their reservation in upper California until the Klamaths of lower Oregon (their ancient enemies) began hectoring and bullying them, saying that they had stolen part of their reservation. The Modocs complained of their situation and asked to be moved to a small strip of land bordering on Lost River and unoccupied by any white settlers, so as to be undisturbed.
General Canby, with his well-balanced and upright character, saw the point of view of the Modocs and tried to persuade the Indian agents to grant the tribe at least the equivalent of their request. Canby had so well tried to understand the redman that by many savages he was called the "Indian's Friend." But the agents could not agree to such compliance with Indian wishes. They insisted that the Modocs be conducted to the Klamath reservation. General Canby then tried to convince the authorities that they were doing the Modocs an injustice. But the agents, who did not have to fight, were impatient and desired to use force. Finally Canby was compelled to join the troops who were then in the lava beds, whither the Modocs had gone.
1873 The Modocs by this time were thoroughly and justly enraged at the duplicity of the government. On account of annoyances of being moved hither and yon, they had many times lost their crops and other subsistence. But it was a hard matter for the troops to round them up as long as they retreated from boulder to boulder and offered no target in the pedregal, where one place p333 looked like another. After a time, but too late, the authorities in Washington decided to have a cessation of hostilities. Peace commissioners were appointed, but the Indians, knowing the caliber of the appointees, would not treat with them. Finally General Canby, Dr. Thomas, Mr. Meacham, and Mr. Dyer seemed to be agreeable to both parties at issue. March 10
1873 An overture from Bogus Charley, the Modocs' representative, suggested a meeting of the commissioners with the chiefs, all unarmed, at a neutral spot. After some hesitation, in which the commissioners sensed treachery, they repaired dutifully to the place appointed. When they were all seated, the chiefs drew revolvers from under their clothing and killed every one of these excellent men.
The mishandling of this whole matter by the Indian agents now plunged both sides into real war; 2 companies of the Fourth Artillery, 1 company of the Twelfth Infantry and 14 friendly Indians, while making a reconnaissance, were entrapped in the lava beds. The recruits who had just joined, ran disgracefully. All of the officers, noncommissioned officers and most of the old soldiers were either killed or wounded.
General Jefferson C. Davis, who had taken General Canby's place now put bivouacs all over the lava beds and succeeded in running the Modocs into the open country.
1872 Captain Jack, the Indian's Chief, was finally captured. When met by his pursuers he was sitting on a log. All he said was, "My legs have given out," and then he remained silent.
1873 Captain Jack, Schonchin, Boston Charley and Black Jim, were finally hanged at Fort Klamath, Oregon. Thus the Modocs were forced on the warpath, hunted down and largely exterminated. General Canby, Dr. Thomas, Meacham and Dyer were sacrificed on the altar of mismanagement and high-handedness. It is small wonder that Dr. Thomas's son has since contended that the government murdered his father, because it did not heed General Canby's plainly sound advice in the first place. But the tragic irony of the whole affair was that after all this terrible loss had taken place, the general's counsel was found best to follow. The remaining Modocs were transported to a reservation away from the Klamaths, all they had asked in the beginning.e
p334 In spite of its difficulties, the army showed a spirit of general progress. 1873 Lieutenant Ruffner, of the engineers, explored the Ute country, which was heretofore unknown, and made a complete map of the geological and topographical features of the whereabouts of the tribes located in that region. When, shortly afterward, some miners killed a few of the Ute warriors, that powerful and intelligent tribe rose to crush the whites. It was due largely to Ruffner's informative maps that the troops were able to punish the miners and bring the Utes to terms.
1873 About this time, too, the Springfield rifle, model '69, was adopted. It was a breechloader, but for single shots. Its caliber was reduced to 45 and its muzzle velocity was •1,350 feet per second. It was a dependable weapon, but the Henry and Remington repeaters were better, and officers and men provided themselves with the latter whenever they could afford to do so. Consequently the soldier had to buy for his own and the country's defense, a weapon that the nation should have furnished him.
1874 In the next year the army's work became more and more unappreciated. The enlisted strength of the companies which had had to be expanded was cut down to make a total of 25,000. The number of general officers was reduced in proportion. Altogether about a modern brigade was left to take care of our entire country. The army with all its high-mindedness and exertions was unseen, unknown and unpopular. It was difficult for the service to get even the most mediocre results. Emigrants and derelicts, many of whom could scarcely read and write, were put on lonely posts, to become the expert defenders and protectors of our country.
Here and there little fusses with the Indians put some soldiers in their graves. Here and there were long marches and excruciating suffering. Here and there the little remnants worked with might and main to acquit themselves nobly. And the country seldom looked beyond the Mississippi to hear the ominous sounds of massacre and depredation that the troops were trying vainly to suppress.
It is seldom one hears even now of the many minor engagements then prevalent throughout the west.
1874 Five companies of the Sixth Cavalry, for instance, drove off a superior force p335 of Comanches and Kiowas near the Red River. Captain A. R. Chaffee was conspicuous in leading a charge that saved defeat. Then Lieutenant Baldwin, with 3 men, while bearing dispatches for reënforcements, held off 125 Indians for one whole day. His little party dug pits, kept up their fire and, although one man was seriously wounded, made their escape in the night.
In addition to the prevalent actions in the west, the army was called upon to keep the peace in all manner of ways. Fearing trouble in the legislature in New Orleans, President Grant sent General Sheridan to the scene of the difficulties.
1875 Troops were stationed about the state house when the legislature assembled. The attitude of the community was grave and ominous.
General Sheridan's account is graphic.f
"One Wiltz jumped on the platform, seized the speaker's chair and gavel, and declared himself speaker. On motions from the floor, and without ballots, he in the same way declared other gentlemen elected secretary and sergeant-at‑arms, and having directed the latter to appoint assistants, a hundred or more men scattered about the hall, suddenly opened their coats, displaying badges on which was inscribed 'assistant sergeant-at‑arms,' and the minority were in possession of the legislature. The excitement was intense; knives and pistols were drawn; several fisticuffs occurred; shooting was so deafening that little could be heard.
"In all this turmoil, in which bloodshed was imminent, the military posse behaved with great discretion. When Mr. Wiltz, the usurping speaker of the house, called for troops to prevent bloodshed, they were given them. When the Governor of the State called for a posse for the same purpose and to enforce the law, it was furnished also. Had this not been done it is my firm belief that scenes of bloodshed would have ensued."
As little groups of soldiers were allaying troubles in the south, so were similar detachments attempting to quell the growing Indian uprisings.
End of year
1875 So small was the army by this time that the little posts with their utmost energy could not stem the rising tide of Indian consolidation. Since 1869 there had been no less than 203 actions with the redmen. The Sioux especially, p336 having allied themselves with the Cheyennes, formed a strong nation of intrepid warriors. Something determined had to be done in order to rescue the central west from the grip of these savages, who had left their reservations. It was decided that 3 columns under Generals Gibbon, Crook and Custer were to strike the tribes who were in the vicinity of the Big Horn near the sources of the Powder River. Crook was the first one to make a start. March 17
1876 General J. J. Reynolds, in the van of the column, with 10 troops of the Second and Third Cavalry, surprised the village of Crazy Horse. The troops, under a severe fire, were eagerly destroying the lodges of this tribe when Reynolds for apparently no reason suddenly decided to retreat. So unexpected was his retirement that several wounded troopers were left to the mercy of the Indians, who followed the cavalrymen and recovered a herd of 700 horses. The loss to Reynolds' command was 4 men killed, 6 wounded and 66 badly frostbitten (the temperature being •about 30 below zero). Crook, coming on the scene with the infantry, behaved toward Reynolds much as Washington did with Lee at Monmouth.
After this defeat, it was necessary to reorganize the command at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming. The new force consisted of 10 companies of the Third, and 5 of the Second Cavalry; and 3 companies of the Ninth and 2 of the Fourth Infantry — in all about 1,200 men.
1876 Crook personally took command. May 29
1876 The expedition started toward the villages of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull somewhere on the Rosebud River. The country in that vicinity was little known and the whereabouts of these chiefs less so. When Crook neared the Tongue River he received a defiant note from Crazy Horse warning him that there would be trouble if he crossed the stream. June 9
1876 One evening shortly after the command had passed over the river, the Indians opened fire on the tents of the camp. But the soldiers were not occupying their nomadic home at that moment. Crook immediately attacked the redskins, who fled. There was little loss on either side, and the action was indecisive.
Crook now saw that he must get rid of his wagon train and move with dispatch if he was to overtake his prey. Not having sufficient horses he mounted the infantry on mules. The foot soldiers had a few riding lessons on their long-eared steeds and
1876 p337 the command moved off again. About 250 Crow and Shoshone scouts now accompanied the 1,150 mounted men. The soldier had but one blanket and no tent.
Crook knew that his movements were known to the Sioux, so that surprise was impossible.
1876 The second day of the march, at eight o'clock in the morning, some 6,000 Indians charged down upon the little body of soldiers. The fighting was hot and furious, the cavalry in 3 columns charging at once. Charge and countercharge seemed only to cause the Indians to spring from the ground at each fresh assault. So fierce was the contest and so soon did Crook's command come to find that it was fighting for its life, that Mills, who had been sent down to destroy the villages, had to be recalled. Colonel Guy V. Henry, with half of his face shot off, kept to his saddle and led his men until he fell from weakness off his horse.
There were too many Indians and too few troops. General Crook, although he drove off the savages, had to retire to his wagons back at Goose Creek, because he lacked ammunition and had many wounded.
While Crook was preparing for another offensive at his camp, Terry's command, which now combined Gibbon's and Custer's troops, was on the move. The whole force, consisting of the Seventh Cavalry, 4 companies of the Second Cavalry, 6 companies of the Seventh Infantry, 6 of the Twentieth Infantry, and a battery of 3 Gatling guns,
1876 encamped on the Yellowstone River. Not a soul of Terry's command had an inkling that there was abroad a force of such size as Crook had just met and had narrowly escaped. Even had they been aware of the strength against them, the knowledge could have made little difference. This was all the force from the little United States Army that could be spared and it had to act.
Custer with the Seventh Cavalry was ordered to advance down the Rosebud until he struck the headwaters of the Tongue River. Gibbon was to go directly to the mouth of the Big Horn so as to shut off the Indians from that direction and to reënforce Custer.
1876 The latter started down the Rosebud as ordered, but when he fell upon a fresh Indian trail he followed it instead of keeping to the course directed. June 25
1876 Several days later (Sunday) Indian signs showed him to be near the camp of the p338 hostiles. He must have known from the Indian footprints, which crossed his trail, that his whereabouts were known to them. At any rate, he then ordered Benteen to move along the bluffs on the left and Reno to move straight up the valley on Benteen's right. When Reno discovered the Indian village, he reported the fact to Custer who ordered him to charge it. In the meantime Custer himself struck out along the bluffs on the right. Reno, who had no experience in Indian fighting, but had had a splendid record in the Civil War, delivered a faint-hearted charge and finally retired to the bluffs to the right of the river, where he was hemmed in on all sides by hordes of savages. Benteen, with his column, finding nothing in his path, received an order from Custer to come on as quickly as possible with the ammunition packs. Not knowing where Custer was, Benteen charged down the valley only to find Reno's command in desperate straits. Dividing his ammunition with Reno he helped in holding the mass of warriors there in check. For hours this little group was huddled together on the bluffs. The unscathed and wounded alike were parched with thirst. Much firing could be heard •about two miles further on where Custer evidently was. Then the shots grew fainter and finally stopped. Reno's force was promptly attacked by a large force of warriors. Night fell with Reno's command, after making a hazardous counterattack, settled down to strengthen and defend its positions under conditions of utter discomfort and apprehension. June 26
1876 The next day the Indians renewed their attack, but a splendid charge by Benteen, followed by Reno, drove them back. By night the savages had packed up their tepees and left the valley. June 27
1876 The next day Terry and Gibbon came upon the scene to the rescue. A detachment was sent to find Custer's command. On a ridge about two miles away 212 bodies were discovered. The clothing had been removed and most of the bodies were unspeakably mutilated and scalped. The Seventh Cavalry lost in this engagement 265 killed and 52 wounded. The Indians, too, had doubtless suffered but they had made good their escape. The disaster was complete with no good effect for the whites. Whatever else may be said, a small band of soldiers was made to operate on exterior lines, seek out a powerful and doughty enemy and try to overwhelm him. Besides, the Seventh Cavalry p339 was armed with inferior carbines, whereas the Indians had splendid repeaters furnished by the government.18 Again, there seemed to be no money to buy the best arms for the soldiers but somehow there was plenty with which to furnish excellent weapons to the Indians.
The Custer annihilation produced a tremendous sensation on the public mind. Every one implicated was blamed and many were investigated — except the government which by its reductions had caused the frightful carnage. The whole effective army would scarcely have been enough to have rounded up the Indians of this region. On the other hand, a sufficient force of trained men could have saved the great spilling of blood and Custer's command.
At any rate the army kept on at its task. Crook was reënforced with Merritt's Fifth Cavalry, which gave him in all about 2,000 men.
1876 He immediately moved out with each man carrying no change of clothing — only a blanket, 4 days' rations, a poncho and 100 rounds of ammunition. After several marches in the stifling heat, dust and finally rain, the suffering became keen. Finerty's diary says:
"We had no tents, and had to sleep in puddles.
1876 The rain kept pouring down until the afternoon of the succeeding day, retarding our march and making every man of the command feel as if possessed of a devil. Officers and men slept in rain and dirt, drank coarse coffee and ate hardtack and raw bacon.
"The rain and mud made the marching terrible, and some of Terry's young infantry (recruits) — they had met General Terry's command, and remained and marched with it for some days — lay down exhausted in the dirt. Many of them had to be placed on pack mules or carried on travois. . . . Every company of the Second, Third and Fifth Cavalry had to abandon or shoot used‑up horses. . . . We made •thirty miles over a most infernal country before halting. Chambers' 'astonishing infantry' made the full march — not a men fell out of ranks. The Roman legions or the army of Austerlitz never made better p340 time than the splendid detachments of the Fourth, Fourteenth, and Ninth Infantry. . . . There was very little wood. We had to sleep at night in pools of water, thankful to get a chance to lie down.
"The horses staggered in the columns by scores. Very frequently a played‑out horse would fall as if shot. Dozens of dismounted cavalrymen toiled painfully along over steep, rugged hills in the rear of the column. . . . Our whole line of march was dotted with dead or abandoned horses. Some of the newly enlisted infantry grew desperate, their feet bleeding and their legs swollen from the continuous tramp. . . . Many of the young foot soldiers seemed injured for life.
"Gibbon's men marched like Romans, Chambers' men rivaled O'Leary and Weston (but these were all veterans)."
1876 It came to the point where Crook realized that food and forage must be obtained at once or they would all die in the wilderness. Captain Anson Mills with 150 men, all that could still march, was to make his way to Deadwood City, Dakota, and get any kind of provisions he could find. The Indians had combed the country of game and the sun had killed the grass. The last hard tack had been eaten the day before. Wild onions and a little horse meat remained.
1876 Mills started out without hesitation and without rations, his men and horses being mere shadows of their former selves. Sept. 9
1876 The next day, he came upon the fresh tracks of Indians. Lying in a ravine and locating the warriors' lodges by means of scouts, he moved out at dawn the next morning. This gasping force in 3 well-ordered columns attacked and surprised the savages, killed and captured a few, and drove the remainder to the hills. The Indian camp, which was full of supplies, now had to be held against a counterattack of the redskins. Disposing his men carefully, Mills sent word to Crook of his plight and of the provisions at hand. Crook immediately took the trail, arriving at eleven o'clock in the morning and finding that Mills still held sway. At the approach of these reënforcements the Indians, who were still firing from the bluffs, retired, but a small group that had taken refuge in a formidable cave refused to submit and kept up a heavy fire. Crook, realizing that there must be p341 a prominent Indian concealed there, besieged the little party and finally succeeded in inducing those who were not killed or wounded to come forth. American Horse, the chief of his tribe, was borne out by two young braves. He had been terribly wounded in the abdomen, and held a piece of wood between his teeth in order not to show his torture. Throwing his rifle on the ground, he submitted. He died that night.
In the meantime Crazy Horse, who had been a few miles away with 600 warriors, charged the troops. Crook's assembled command drove them off. The effect of this entire engagement was to capture American Horse and a few Indians and to save Crook's men from extinction. But nothing decisive against the savages was yet accomplished.
Crook, realizing the hopelessness of this kind of work, repaired to Fort Fetterman in order to organize a winter campaign. His force finally consisted of 2 companies of the Third, 6 of the Fourth and 2 of the Fifth Cavalry; 6 companies of the Ninth, 2 of the Fourteenth and 3 of the Twenty-third Infantry; and 4 batteries of the Fourth Artillery.
While Crook was thus preparing his column for an advance, General Miles with only 500 men of the Fifth Infantry was in the vicinity of the mouth of the Tongue River. In the way of comfort, clothing and supplies Miles' command was well provided against the cold. It was indeed fortunate for the men that they were well equipped with fur caps and mittens, because the mercury actually froze several times during the winter. Colonel Otis, with 4 companies of the Twenty-third Infantry, having pushed back a large force of Miniconjous, San Arcos, Brules and Unkpapas under the instigation of the medicine man, Sitting Bull, joined Miles' force. Since Otis had captured a wagon train of supplies, his reënforcement was especially acceptable.
1876 The whole command now numbered about 850 and one gun. Oct. 21
1876 Miles then marched to meet Sitting Bull who at a parley asked that the Indians solely occupy the west and that the whites vacate. The old medicine man was so obdurate that Miles, finally despairing of a peaceful settlement, gave him fifteen minutes to prepare for battle. The attack was bloody and doubtful for some time. Though the odds were 4 to 1 against them, the troops succeeded in driving the Indians •forty p342 miles up the valley from their village, in destroying it and in capturing most of their supplies. The result was that the large body of savages could not subsist. Oct. 24
1876 Several hundred broke into small parties and scattered, but 2,600 of them surrendered under promise of good treatment.
Meanwhile, Crook at Fetterman had managed to find out from a captured Cheyenne that the principal village of his tribe was located in a cañon through which ran the headwaters of Crazy Woman's Fork of the Powder River. Immediately Crook sent out Colonel Mackenzie with 10 companies of the Second, Fourth and Fifth Cavalry, and 350 Pawnee, Crow, Shoshone and friendly Cheyennes — 1,100 men altogether.
1876 They reached the cañon which proved to be a gloomy, icebound gorge in the Big Horn Mountains, there •about 3,000 feet high. Numerous icy creeks made the channel almost impossible to follow. The sufferings of the men as they plowed through this great fissure in the earth were, though different, just as intense as those Crook had borne earlier in the year. On the other hand it was a blessing for the troops that the Cheyennes believed their position to be impregnable. The Indians had put out little guard. Moving forward in the frigid, moonlit night, Mackenzie surrounded their position in the same noiseless way as Custer had done with another tribe several years before. At daybreak the camp was completely surprised. The Indians fled naked from their wigwams or cut slits in their tepees from which they fired. Many of their number were killed, their horses taken and their Chief Dull Knife lost. Although their bodies were entirely nude, they swarmed back to the village in the freezing weather. Then McKinney's company charged a rocky height and drove them back, but when he was returning a terrific countercharge resulted in his death and the wounding of a half dozen troopers. There was some confusion over this occurrence. Hand to hand fighting took place in which the whole force surged back and forth. Then the Indian scouts on the flanks saved the day by charging to the assistance of the troops. However, the fighting had to continue until dark in order to hold the savages back while p343 their village was being destroyed. Great quantities of supplies, all that the Cheyennes had, fell into Mackenzie's hands. Nov. 27
1876 The Cheyennes then began to draw off and to take up a strong position •six miles further up the cañon from which Mackenzie could not dislodge them. Eventually he had to return to his camp.
The sufferings inflicted upon the Indians were frightful. They had no clothing or food in this awful weather. Many babies and children froze to death in one night. One infant was saved by the ghastly device of sticking him in the warm entrails of a freshly butchered horse. Making their way to Crazy Horse the Cheyennes asked him for succor, but that chief said he had nothing to give and dismissed them. So angered were they at this rebuff that they set out forthwith to the nearest reservations, gave themselves up and went out against Crazy Horse with our troops later.
The main mission now was to capture or destroy Crazy Horse's band.
1876 Miles with 5 companies of the Fifth Infantry, 2 of the Twenty-second and 2 Napoleon guns started for the camp of that chief in the valley of the Tongue River south of the Yellowstone. At first there were a few skirmishes with the advance parties of Indians, who kept moving toward the mountains. Finally there were captured a Cheyenne warrior and woman who informed the officers of the exact location of Crazy Horse's villages. Miles moved directly toward them. Jan. 8
1877 He found the redskins occupying a height which could be easily seen. The place was very difficult to attack. The troops would have to ascend steep cliffs from where the Indians could pour in a converging fire. Seeing that Crazy Horse was willing to accept battle, Miles had his men out of range eat breakfast in full view of the gesticulating savages. After the meal, the troops began a very odd pitched battle in which there was neither surprise nor ambush. Miles' men with great difficulty ascended the cliffs under a galling fire. The artillery, which had been carried concealed in the wagons, suddenly unlimbered and dropped shells upon the savages, who were greatly surprised at this proceeding. The attack all along the line was scarcely a charge. With their heavy ammunition and winter clothing, it was slow, toilsome work for the soldiers to scale the icy, snowbound cliffs. But p344 Miles' men doggedly crawled to their goal. Then ensued some stubborn hand to hand fighting, some enfilading of the Indian position and Crazy Horse retreated. The last of the battle was fought in a blinding snow storm. In their fight the Indians left much baggage. So bereft were they of supplies and ammunition that the next spring Crazy Horse and his band came into the agency.
1877 Only one band under Lame Deer and Iron Star remained to be subdued. In the spring Miles pursued it, overtook it and captured its village. Lame Deer and Iron Star were killed, although Colonel Miles did his best to take them alive. It seems that after the engagement was over, an unfortunate accident occurred. The Indians misinterpreted the meaning of the movements of one of the soldiers. They thought the position of his rifle indicated treachery. The chiefs took point-blank aim at Colonel Miles and would have killed him, had they not been shot down in the nick of time.
Further west the Lower Nez Percés were driven to desperation by the unjust and inhuman actions of the Interior Department. This tribe for seventy years had been uninterruptedly the friends of the whites, had always stood out for peace and had to their credit a long list of benefits rendered to the settlers from the time of their befriending the Lewis and expedition. When low white characters killed some of their number, they did not retaliate; neither did our law punish the offenders. When the government decided to put them on a reservation, all these redmen asked for was a little strip of poor land in the Wallawa region. Of this they had already been defrauded: the agents, having promised it to them, had afterwards for no good reason reversed their decision. General Howard, the department commander, saw the point of view of these high-type Indians, and recommended that they be not confined to any reservation until they committed overt acts. Our avarice, however, decided differently. Howard with his troops was ordered to put them on the Lapwai reservation, whither they did not want to go. The movement would deprive them of their herds and other property. Already the insults the whites had heaped upon them were sufficient to cause any normal person to be enraged. But when they felt they could not subsist under the p345 new order, they felt themselves to be at the end of amicable relations.
Even then Young Joseph, their chief, did not want to resist. Captain Whipple had to tell him that a higher authority than any army officer had decided he must go. Then Joseph was induced by his warriors to take up arms. After attempting to ward off the blow for some little time the Lower Nez Percés, about 300 warriors, were forced on the warpath. Regretfully the army and these Indians went into conflict.
Captain Perry, with 2 small companies of the First Cavalry, 90 men, all that could be spared for the duty, was sent to compel them to go on the reservation. He met the Indians at the head of White Bird Cañon. They had been watching his movements by scouts and even with field glasses. Besides outnumbering him over 3 to 1, the Nez Percés were superb physical specimens, well-educated and well-disciplined. They could march in column of fours, form twos and line from a gallop, build fortifications and maneuver well in action.
1877 It is not surprising, then, that Young Joseph skillfully ambushed Perry's command, drove them back and killed 1 officer and 33 men. It was with the utmost dexterity and bravery that Perry succeeded at all in extricating the surviving soldiers.
General Howard now had to collect more troops and hurry forward with them in person.
1877 He took 1 company of the Fourth Artillery, acting as infantry, 5 companies of the Twenty-first Infantry, 2 troops of the First Cavalry, 2 Gatling guns, and 1 howitzer, 227 men in all. Joseph had by this time about 400 braves. July 11
1877 Howard came up with the Indians at the Clearwater. All day long Howard charged and the Indians countercharged. Finally the soldiers' lines had to be extended to •two miles and a half in width. At night each side strengthened its breastworks. July 12
1877 The next day Howard was reënforced by a fresh company of the First Cavalry, which attempted to turn the left of the Nez Percés line. Then the Indians fled and made good their escape with their supplies. Although Howard took their village, Joseph's band got out of the valley and over the Lolo trail faster than the troops could follow. The route covered is probably the most difficult one in the west, so that the Indians naturally outmarched General Howard's force.
General Gibbon at Helena, Montana, had in the meantime been warned by telegraph of the flight of the Nez Percés. He set out to meet them with a mixed force of 17 officers, 132 cavalrymen and 34 citizens, all he could collect. Learning of their whereabouts he waited until the night
1877 and at dawn attacked their village, completely surprising them. Though the Nez Percés were driven out, they returned and reoccupied their village and incidentally took Gibbon's howitzer. The soldiers, driven behind barricades and trenches, defended themselves as best they could. That night the redmen drew off, leaving Gibbon's command crippled and unable to follow. Gibbon himself was severely wounded. His force was so small that he, a general officer, had felt himself obliged to use a rifle and help in the fire as a private soldier. He suffered a loss of 29 killed and 40 wounded in the action.
The Nez Percés now crossed the Great Divide and camped on the Camas Prairie. But the telegraph was clicking its news to other troops in the path of this tribe. Colonel Sturgis proceeded from the Powder River country with 6 companies of the Seventh Cavalry and some Crow scouts, in all about 350 men. He overtook Joseph's force across the Yellowstone, pursued him, and took over 400 ponies. Nevertheless the Indians, fighting a rear-guard action, made their escape along the Mussel Shell River to Cow Island on the Missouri.
In the meantime, Colonel Miles left Fort Keogh with 4 companies of the Seventh Cavalry, 4 companies of the Second Cavalry, a company and a half of the Fifth Infantry, 1 company of scouts, a breechloading Hotchkiss and a 12‑pounder Napoleon gun.
1877 Meeting the Indians in their camp on Eagle Creek near the Bear Paw Mountains, Miles drove them to the ravines where he was unable to dislodge them. The fighting was severe and at close quarters. Joseph's position could be carried only with great loss and that chief could not escape because he felt he could not leave his wounded. Although the army howitzer did some damage, the siege was kept up for four days with intense suffering on both sides. At the end of that time, after having fought his way for justice through three territories, after never having scalped, outraged or mutilated the whites, after having bested and outwitted the few soldiers p347 sent against him, Young Joseph came out to Colonel Miles under protection of a white flag. Pointing to the heavens, this warrior, superb in face and stature, said simply, "From where the sun now stands I fight no more against the white man!"
Colonel Miles promised Joseph, according to the government's agreement, that he should be returned to the Lapwai reservation. But the government promptly stultified Miles by sending this tribe to an unhealthful region in the Indian territory where 50 per cent of their number died. Thus passed out the Lower Nez Percés and many a gallant soldier because General Howard's advice at the outset was not followed. Subsequently Colonel Miles, after efforts of years, had the remnants of the tribe transferred to the land of their nativity (1884).
The Nez Percés uprising was not the only outbreak of this year. The Bannocks, the Mexicans across the border, the Indians of Alaska and the communists of our own country were bringing trouble in various parts of the land.
In Pittsburg and other cities, especially of Maryland and Pennsylvania, labor uprisings had so shaken the country that
1877 one city was burned and the National Guard of three states had to be called out. Even 30,000 militia could not quell the riot in Pittsburg. It took a small force of regulars to overawe the mob and restore tranquillity.
While all this was happening and the army was striving to save the nation from its enemies and errors, a great outcry arose against it in the interest of economy. There seemed to be no uneasiness over the inhuman loss of life of the soldiers due to their small numbers. This history cannot record the innumerable, unheralded affairs that kept sending soldiers into eternity, nor can it show in detail that hundreds of skirmishes and battles had never occurred if a sufficient army had existed. The Yellowstone expeditions of 1871, 1872 and 1873, the Indian Territory troubles of 1874, the Nevada disturbances of 1875 and the Ute and Snake uprisings of 1878, could not have been born, had there been on the scene of action a force sufficient to awe the Indian, and see that the proper provisions were given him. Similarly, the building of the great railways could have moved along rapidly and without hindrance or bloodshed, had there been troops enough to make the crafty Indian think twice before p348 he struck. In a few places where the commands were comparatively large, the assembled soldiers would be paraded before the Indians, when it was suspected that the redmen were about to break out from their reservations. This show of strength usually calmed the savage breast.
An instance in point is the rising of the Bannocks at this time. They had lost their hunting lands, been forced on an inhospitable reservation, had to face continued encroachments of the whites and, to cap all, had to subsist on an appropriation that allowed them only two and one‑half cents a day per capita. Naturally they grew arrogant and hostile. When a drunken Indian shot at and wounded two teamsters, he was arrested at the expense of the killing of an agency employee. Troops were called for as a result. The Bannocks later left their reservations mostly on account of insufficient food, and fled to the Camas Prairie where they killed several settlers.
1877 A vigorous campaign by General Howard resulted in the capture of 1,000 of them. Sept. 5
1877 At Clark's Fork a battle had to be fought in which 20 Bannock lodges were taken.
While the army was making its uphill fights and was losing its men more by its slenderness than any other cause, back east the legislators were doing much to increase the mortality.
The Fifty-fourth Congress, a most responsive body of politicians, while soldiers and officers were sacrificing themselves on the altar of patriotism, failed to pass an appropriation bill for their pay.
1877‑1878 Officers had to borrow funds at interest in order to live through the year. For this period the army's service were gratuitous.
1878 All through the winter and spring advocates on the floor of the House, without promptings of their constituents, attacked both the services19 in the bitterest of terms — "for the sake of economy." It was pleasing to stone an institution that could not retaliate. As long as the soldier, in his remoteness, had no domicile in order to vote — did not influence the district at home — he was harmless to the congressman. It looked at one time as if the army would be reduced to 10,000 men. Seeing the great range of territory over which the soldier had to be constantly p349 on the alert and fighting, it seems hardly possible that intelligent men could have taken this view.
However, the outcome was not as bad as might have been expected.
1878 After a year had passed, the appropriation bill came through with the pay. But legislation stopped all promotions above the grade of captain and reduced considerably the allowances of officers. For the heroism of the army, as outlined on these pages, Congress chastised, rebuked and derided but seldom rewarded.
Indians to the number of 375,000 had to be held in check on their reservations. In addition, Sitting Bull across the border in Canada was collecting a combined force of the tribes already there and of those who had taken refuge from the United States. The whole mass might strike at any moment. The Mexican outlaws, too, in large bodies were making regular incursions across the border in the south.
The army had grown so small that many of the troops of Alaska had to be withdrawn. Such action was an invitation for outbreaks in the far north. Many tribes in the United States were so ill-treated and starved by the Indian agents and the stinginess in Washington that they were ready to fight anybody. The Bannocks and Pi Utes left their reservation for this reason and went upon the warpath. Captain Evan Miles, with 75 picked men and as many Crow scouts, while on his way to the Yellowstone, heard of this tribe's withdrawal. He was soon reënforced by 7 companies of the Twenty-first Infantry, 2 foot batteries of the Fourth Artillery and 1 troop of the First Cavalry, all of which were on separate errands in that vicinity. With these troops he took up the pursuit at once. Making a record march of •thirty-five miles in one day, he overtook the Indians near the Umatilla Agency, Oregon.
1878 Surprising them in the early morning, he took several hundred prisoners, killed 11, wounded many and captured 250 horses, with a loss to himself of several soldiers among whom was Captain A. S. Bennet, Fifth Infantry. The Bannocks were thus pushed back toward their reservation.
So uninviting, on account of pay and the arduous, thankless duty of the soldier, had the army become, that its effective strength was below 20,000. Desertion had played its part p350 naturally and heavily. The recruits were largely desperadoes or those who couldn't read or write. In short it was all a high-minded officer could do to keep himself and the wheel going. But he was high-minded or the development of the United States would have rocked and tottered.
1879 The number of general officers was reduced to a mere handful. Sherman was general of the army; Sheridan, lieutenant general; Hancock, Schofield, and McDowell, major generals; and Pope, Howard, Terry, Ord, Augur, and Crook, brigadier generals.20 The few thousand mobile troops were spread over 3 divisions, 8 departments and 11 districts in trying to compass the territory of the United States.g
While there was constant fighting for these inadequate numbers, the service did not shirk its duty in improving itself. The effort to have a well-regulated method of target practice is an example.
1879 The Laidley system was adopted. The Ordnance Department tried to equip the army with better targets. Each man was to have an allowance of 20 rounds of ammunition per month for this purpose and prizes and furloughs were to be given to the best shots.
The Sioux again were on the warpath. General Miles, with 9 companies of the Second Cavalry, 7 companies of the Fifth Infantry and some scouts, crossed the Missouri at Fort Peck and proceeded to the Milk River. There the troops encountered a number of Indians under the leadership of Sitting Bull. The force was too small to capture the tribes.
1879 After a severe engagement which was begun by a daring attack on the part of the few soldiers, the errant redmen fled across the 49th parallel and were safe.
It was not long after this that the Utes grew restless and quite antagonistic toward the Indian agent at the White River Agency, Colorado. Major Thornburgh,º accordingly, was ordered to move from Fort Steele. He collected 3 companies of the Fifth Cavalry and 1 of the Fourth Infantry, about 200 men altogether,
1879 and marched toward the scene of the trouble. When he had been about a week on his way, he was attacked by about 300 well-armed warriors. Thornburgh and 10 of his men p351 were killed. Captain Payne gathered the remainder and retreated to the wagons where he prepared to make a stout defense. So outnumbered was this little band of regulars that all it could do, trapped as it stood, was to keep itself from being exterminated. A message finally found its way through to General Crook, who ordered Colonel Wesley Merritt, with 530 men of the Fifth Cavalry, to hasten to the relief of Payne's command. When Merritt reached the beleaguered soldiers, he found that a company of the Ninth Cavalry had arrived the day before. Oct. 5
1879 Generals Sheridan and Crook, by rushing reënforcements to Merritt, swelled his command to the gigantic figure of 1,000 effectives. Merritt then pushed on to the agency. There he found the houses burned and the Indian agent and 10 of his employees murdered. The Utes had again taken their vengeance. While Merritt's command was held in the vicinity of the White River Agency until further developments, Lieutenant Weir and William Hammer,h chief of scouts, while hunting deer, were attacked and killed by the Indians. Great alarm was now felt throughout Colorado. Colonel Merritt's force was raised to 1,500 men by robbing other parts of the country of its protection. In addition, Colonel Mackenzie, with 6 companies of the Fourth Cavalry was brought from Fort Clark, Texas. Colonel Hatch with 450 men of the Ninth Cavalry came from New Mexico. The Utes at last being awed by this army of troops, being pacified by the overtures of General Charles Adams of Colorado (who incidentally succeeded in having released 3 white women and 2 children held by the Utes) and being convinced by the persuasive words of their head chief, Ouray, fell into a state of quiescence. Nov. 1
1879 Up to this time, 11 citizens, 2 officers and 12 soldiers had been killed and 41 soldiers wounded by this outbreak.
Most of the troops of this expedition were shortly thereafter returned to their posts. But 4 companies of the Fifth Cavalry and parts of the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Fourteenth Infantry regiments remained near the ruined agency. They hutted and sheltered themselves as best they could through a severe winter and with great privation and suffering.
1880 In the summer of the next year they were relieved by 6 companies of the Sixth Infantry.
p352 As the army fought and bore the brunt on the one hand, so it prepared itself in its technic. 1880 A new Cavalry Drill Regulations was published at this time. It seemed to adapt the movements of the mounted service more thoroughly to the work on the plains. Provision was made very carefully for handling each contingency of march or action. Besides a dismounted drill in 2 ranks made the use of the Cavalry more extended. The captain's command was still called a company, the major's a battalion, and the lieutenant's a platoon.
Thus the army in this period after the Civil War plodded along, too dispersed most of the time to collect in even respectable detachments. It marched through parching heat and arctic cold only to find precarious battle or distasteful execution of bureaucratic injustice at the end. Through blood and hardship it tried to square the government for its criminal blunders. Hungry, thirsty, exhausted and wounded the soldier too often fought in actions which he did not believe justified. But his loyalty made him answer the command of his nation and he went forward.
And he carried on in the face of the deepest ingratitude of his people. His pay was cut, his comrades summarily discharged, his supplies and arms made inferior to those of his enemy and any hope of promotion blotted out. Surrounded by thousands of savages in a vast prairie, he could count at most a few hundred with him to help him hold them in check. Why he went on, why he went through the agonies of hell for a nation that kicked him at every turn, is almost beyond human analysis.
And yet the awful marches and these heroic fights were the soldier's main dependence. He got away from the most provincial garrison life into which any government ever forced an army. Living in flimsy shacks, without the commonest conveniences found in the east, he froze in winter and stifled in summer. Tenderly reared women heroically went through these hardships with their husbands. Breakfast was often eaten when the water in the tumblers had a crust of ice upon them. Dinner at other times was served when swarms of insects would rob the appetite. Winter or summer, in or out of the fort, there was no escape from the rough life of the frontier. But through p353 these grim days there was time to find compassion and succor for the suffering squaw or the white family driven in from their settlements. The post was the haven of all classes, and in this comfort many a soldier's wife found an outlet from the dread monotony.
With stables in the morning early, with breakfast next, then parade, then drill and stables in the afternoon, the work of the day, except the endless fatigue, was over. There could be no more than rudimentary exercises for from 38 to 50 men. There could be no training. When lieutenants and captains expected to hold their same grade for 20 or 30 years and were not afterwards disappointed in this, and when these very officers had been generals over large commands in the Civil War, a great wave of ambition and spirit could hardly grip their energies. With few books, an occasional mail, no golf courses, no tennis courts, no activities to arouse the interest even of a spectator, the soldier was really closed to the recreation of the bottle and cards. The sutler's store was the only club and its rough boards and hot stove a place of rare comfort. But with all this desultory life, there was little trouble over gambling and a surprisingly small amount of drunkenness. In this age of fulsome entertainment, one cannot visualize the barrenness that then enclosed the soldier's life.
When the commanding officer had too great a proportion of illiterates and desperadoes in his organization, when savagery, rudeness and the outbreaks of the lawless loomed on every hand, he had to have a hard discipline that looks severe in the New York Library. He had at times to resort to the ball and chain, to close confinement and the harshest restrictions of his officers and men. He had to have the most rigid formality at the mess table, to inculcate an unwavering respect for rank and to notice the smallest details of official and social customs. He had to be a czar or he could not have lived peaceably in his military oasis on a threatening desert. He had to watch the little things of his small province or soon they would be big things. The very life blood of his command depended upon his supervision of what appear to us now to be the pettiest of details. He had to be "hard boiled" or he, his handful of soldiers and the surrounding country could not have survived. p354 The nation forced him into this position, as it forced the demise of Thornburgh, Canby and even Custer's command and the death of many another soldier, when it made beggarly detachments fight an overwhelming quantity of wily savages on their own soil. The government as usual scrupled on money for an army, but it did not seem to be anxious about the loss of life that resulted from parsimony. And so the army was thrown into dark ages of hopelessness. Though he grumbled, the soldier did more than his duty, sustained by an unfaltering honor that faced death for an ideal.
2 The existing organization of the regular army consisted of 6 regiments of cavalry, 12 companies each (large enough for cavalry); 5 regiments of artillery, 12 companies; 10 regiments of infantry (old), 10 companies; and 9 regiments of infantry (new), of 24 companies each — divided into battalions of 8 companies — giving 1 colonel, 1 lieutenant colonel and 3 majors to a regiment. The only difference in field officers between old and new regiments was that the new had one more major.
3 Nominal pay was $16 per month, but $1 was deducted till end of enlistment and 12½ cents for Soldiers' Home.
4 The pay of a colonel was $211 per month; of a lieutenant colonel, $187; of a major, $163.
5 Grant was made a full general by Congress and Sherman a lieutenant general. Besides, the latter was given $30,000 for a residence by the people of St. Louis.
6 Six regiments of cavalry, 5 of artillery, 19 of infantry.
7 The beginning of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry and later the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry.
8 Two for each artillery regiment.
9 "Each regiment of infantry provided for this act shall have 1 colonel, 1 lieutenant colonel, 1 major, 1 adjutant, 1 regimental quartermaster, 1 sergeant major, 1 quartermaster sergeant, 1 commissary sergeant, 1 hospital steward, 2 principal musicians, and 10 companies; and the adjutant, quartermaster and commissary shall hereafter be extra lieutenants selected from the first and second lieutenants of the regiment. Each company shall have 1 captain, 1 first lieutenant and 1 second lieutenant, 1 first sergeant, 4 sergeants, 8 corporals, 2 artificers, 2 musicians, 1 wagoner."
(Extract from Act.)
10 "Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That the Corps of Engineers shall consist of one chief of engineers, with the rank, pay and emoluments of a brigadier-general; six colonels, twelve lieutenant colonels, twenty-four majors, thirty captains, and twenty‑six first and ten second lieutenants, who shall have the pay and emoluments now provided by law for officers of the Engineer Corps.
"Sec. 20. And be it further enacted, That the five companies of engineer soldiers and the sergeant major and quartermaster sergeant heretofore prescribed by law shall constitute a battalion of engineers, to be officered by officers of a suitable rank detailed from the Corps of Engineers; and the officers of engineers, acting respectively as adjutant and quartermaster of this battalion, shall be entitled to the pay and emoluments of adjutants and quartermasters of cavalry."
11 Hooker, Canby, Schofield, Ord, Cooke, Terry, Pope, Howard, and McDowell had been reduced one grade because of shrinkage of the Army.
12 Oddly, pay of general and lieutenant general accorded with grade.
14 Nephew of Henry Ward Beecher.
15 Grandson of Alexander Hamilton.
16 Repeated after the World War.
18 It is interesting to note that while all this slaughter was taking place on account of our insufficiency of troops, Congress was reducing the Medical Corps (June, 1876).
19 Army and Navy.
20 West Point was a separate "Department."
a J. P. Dunn, Jr., Massacres of the Mountains • A History of the Indian Wars of the Far West (Harper & Brothers, 1886), p401 f.
b The officer, who does not ever seem to have been identified, was stationed at Fort Phil Kearny; his letter was widely reprinted in contemporaneous newspapers, as early as May 9, 1867; and in the Army and Navy Journal, June 29, 1867 (p715).
c Another long selection of excerpts from Bourke on Gen. Crook's character is found in the Biographical Sketch appended to his entry in Cullum's Register.
d The "Reconstruction" in New Orleans gave rise to factional rioting from 1866 to 1877, the city being on a simmer during most of that time. The factional strife and street riots are covered in great detail by John Smith Kendall in Chapters 19, 22, and 23 of his History of New Orleans. The disorders of August, 1871 were far from the most serious; Emory played a greater rôle in the riots of January, 1872. By the end of that year, under the threat of impeachment for election fraud, Warmoth was out.
e A piece of disingenuous writing that might trap the unwary reader into believing that the Modoc went to live on that strip of land in Oregon that they had wanted. They were transported to Oklahoma. For details, see the tribe's official website, under Modoc History.
g Worth mentioning here is the Act of Congress passed June 23, 1879, which in view of the drastic reduction of the Army's officer corps (somewhat summarily alluded to here by Ganoe), allowed cadets graduating from the Military Academy to resign if they chose, without further obligation, to pursue some other career. The government had thus provided an expensive education gratis to several men who did take advantage of the provision.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
History of the United States Army
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 26 Nov 14