History of the 19th Kans. Cavalry-
Indian War of 1868-69
Extracts from private diary of Capt. Geo. B. Jenness Commanding “F” Troop
Paragraph 1. Oct. 8th 1868.
Consulting my diary of the operations of the 1st Batt. K. M. I find the first allusion made to the organization of a new Regiment, under this date. And among the papers relating to that organization, a dispatch from Genl. P.H.Sheridan to Gov. Crawford. regarding as follows:
“In the field” Ft Hays. Oct. 8/68.
His Excellency S.J. Crawford.
Governor State of Kansas:
General [Hazen] has informed me that the friendly overtures which were made to the Kiowas & Comanches. at Larned on the 19th & 20th Sept. 1868. have failed to secure peace with them, or their removal to their reservations. and I am authorized to muster in one Regiment of Cavalry from your state. for a period of six months. I will communicate further with you on the subject. on the receipt of additional instructions from General Sherman.
P. H. Sheridan”
A few days [subroquently,] full instructions were communicated to Governor Crawford. and recruiting actively began in various portions of the state. for the 19th Kansas. Authority was given to recruiting officers. in the counties as follows:
See subsequent Letter from Genl. Sheridan dated Oct. 9th. 1868. to Gov. Crawford. calling for 1 full Regt. of cavalry. on file in Governor’s office. as the real basis of organization.
Douglas County – raised Company “D”
Shawnee County “ “ “A”
Franklin County “ “F”
Leavenworth County “ “
Riley County “ “
Lyon County “ “
Anderson County “ “
Doniphan County “ “
Bourbon County “ “
Allen County “ “
and as fast as Companies filled, they were immediately ordered to Topeka. where the general rendezvous and camp of instruction was established.
No. 2. Oct 26/68.
By the 26th of Oct. or in about. twelve or fifteen days from the beginning of active recruiting, the greater portion of the Companies were upon the ground, had been uniformed and partially equipped.
Upon this date Major W. C. Jones. of Iola. Allen County, who had been commissioned 1st Major, assumed command of the Camp, by “General Order No. 1. and announced the following named officers, as Regimental Staff: “who were to be obeyed and respected accordingly:”
See Genl. Order No. 1.
Major Mahler Bailey – Regimental Surgeon.
1st Lieut. Luther A. Thrasher. Quartermaster
1st Lieut James M. Steel Adjutant
1st Lieut. John Johnston Commissary
1st Lieut. E. K. Russell Asst. Surgeon.
Under the energetic and efficient administration of Major Jones. the Command rapidly advanced in organization, drill and general disciplin.
No. 3. Oct. 29/68
At this date the companies were all present, and went actively engaged in fitting for active service. The horses, as fine a lot of stock as ever carried a Regiment, had been issued to the several Troops. and the following daily bugle calls, announced this date, will indicate the manner in which every moment of time, was devoted to perfecting the efficiency of the Regiment. General Order No. 2: (See this order in accompanying papers.]
Revielle- 6 O clock. Drill call 1 ½ o’clock
Stable Call – 6 ½ “ Recall 2 ½ “
Breakfast 7 ½ “ Orderly call 3 “
Guard Mount. 8 “ Watering “ 3 ½ “
Water call. 9 “ Stable “ 4 ½ “
Drill Call 10 “ Retreat Sundown
Recall 11 “ Tattoo 8 ¾ o’clock
Dinner call 12 “ Taps 9 :
See General Order No. 2.
In the same order. the name of the camp
was announced as “Camp Crawford,” complimentary to the Governor.
On the 1st of November. Captain Horace L. Moore, who had recruited Co. “D.” at Lawrence, arrived, and was commissioned Lieut Col. of the Regt. Col. Moore had commanded the Battalion of the 18th Kans. Cav. during the campaign of 1867, with the rank of Maj. and his experience in Indian warfare. Justly entitled him to this position. At this time. Capt. David Payne. also a Capt. In the 18th (Co. D) was the only other officer who had experience upon the plains. Subsequently Capt. Geo. B. Jenness. formerly Capt. Co. “C” 18th Kans. joined the Regiment as Capt of “F” Troop. On the following day, Nov. 2d Col. Moore issued General Order No. 3 – formally assuming command of the Regiment. and retaining in force all orders previously issued.
See Genl. order No. 3
On the 1st of Nov. a leave of absence had been granted to Capt. S. B. Enderton of Co. “F.” of two days. to visit his home at Ottawa, Ks. He returned the evening of the Second.
Some little dereliction of duty occurring upon the part of Capt. Enderton, during the forenoon of the 3d, he was summoned
to Regimental Headquarters, and quite severely reprimanded by Col. Moore. This officer had previously called attention to the carelessness of some of the officers, and perhaps seeking to make this occasion an example for the future, perhaps overstepped the bounds of official courtesy. At any rate, the dignity of Capt. Enderton suffered to such an extent, that he felt called upon to resign a service. which promised more such reencounters in the future. Per consequence he handed in his resignation to the Governor, who very promptly accepted it. This was the occasion of sending for Major G. B. Jenness. then in command of the State Battalion at Salina, as he was from Franklin Co. where Co. F. was recruited. and offering him the position, made vacant by Enderton’s resignation. He was immediately telegraphed, and arrived from Salina during the night, and by 2 o’clock, he had been commissioned, and mustered into service by General Forsythe. of the regular army, who had previously mustered in, all the officers and men of this Regiment.
In the organization of the respective companies. Commanders had been governed by the rules established during the late war.
in the appointment of their Non-commissioned officers. and each company contained a Commissary Sergeant. Circular Order No. 1. dated Nov. 3/68. was therefore issued by Col. Moore, calling attention to the Act of Congress of July 28th 1866. and announced in Gen’l. Order No. 56. War Dept. Aug. 1st 1866 – which abolished the office of Commissary Sergeant, and requiring Co. Commanders to comply with these requirements. This order resulted in some confusion in the companies, as in most cases. good men had been appointed to this position, and Co. officers. feeling disposed to retain them as non-commissioned officers, were forced to reduce duty Sergeants to give their Ex-Commissary Sergeants positions. In one Company, the dissatisfaction extended to the Commissioned officers, and for the remainder of the service, broke up that good feeling and unity of action between its officers, which always ought to exist, in order to insure proper disciplin.
Circular letter marked “A”
The Regiment was now, in remarkable good condition, considering the time allowed for drill, and the fact that at least nine tenths of the men had never been
service, and were consequently, wholly unfamiliar with the duty of soldiers, when they enlisted. However, the little “leaven in the loaf,” in the few old soldiers, judiciously distributed in the several Troops, made itself very apparent, in the readiness with which the recruits acquired the drill and learned camp duties from the example of the old soldiers. The officers were principally experienced men, zealous in the discharge of their duties, and taking a commendable pride in bringing their commands up to the highest possible condition of excellency. As Dr. Baily truthfully says, in an article contributed to the report of the “Kansas State Medical Society” in 1869. speaking of the whole command: “A large number were young men, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one—very few over forty, - and altogether were a fine lot of men physically, the best volunteer regiment I ever saw.”
General Sheridan had repeatedly urged upon Gov. Crawford, the pressing necessity for rapid preparation, and had been himself extraordinarially promp in furnishing the equipments and arms for the Regiment. While the 19th was organizing, the General had occupied all the regular force
available, in establishing a supply post on the [Cemarone] River, South of the Arkansas river, and in the very center of the country, of the hostile Indians. He had named this depot “Camp Supply,” and had accumulated a large amount of supplies. To this point the 19th Kansas was directed to repair at the earliest possible moment. Two Companies of the 19th “A” Capt. A. J.
[Pliley], and “D,” Capt. J. Q. A. Norton, were now under marching orders, and were to go by rail to Ft Hayes, and thence as an escort for a large supply train of army wagons, almost due South to the new depot on the Cemerone. On the evening of the 4th their horses were loaded in box cars. and the men in passenger coaches, and these two Companies started for their destination, the first of the Command on duty. On the same train which bore them westward, Capt. G. B. Jenness, returned to his old Headquarters at Salina, to turn over that Command and stores to Lieut. M. R. Harris, his successor. His instructions were to join the Regiment at the forks of the Arkansas, (a port called Wichita)
within six days, while the Regt. Was on its overland march for Camp Supply.
On the morning of the 4th of Nov. the following order was issued from Regimental Headquarters:
Camp Crawford. Nov. 4/68.
Gen’l Order No. 4.
“The Companies of this Regiment not now under marching orders, will be ready to march at 10 o’clock. A.M. Nov. 5/68. Company Commanders will be allowed to retain two common tents, and all others will be left standing as they are and receipts taken for them from the Regt. G. M.
By Command of.
Maj. W. C. Jones. Comd’g R’gt.
J. M. Steel- Adjutant.
Col. Moore having gone home on a short leave of absence, Maj. Jones was temporarially in command again.
Active preparations for the march. at once began. All surplus equippage was turned in, the men selected their packs. and life and bustle indicated the general approbation of the order.
In the mean time, and almost at the last moment. Governor Crawford decided to take command of the Regiment in person. His gubernatorial term had nearly
Expired, Lieut. Gov. Green was already present, and the service was one preeminently suited to Gov. Crawfords temprement. That night his formal resignation took place. Gov. Green signed his commission as Colonel, and General Forsyth, who was still present, mustered him into the U. S. Service. The Regiment was now full, and Completely officered, the field and Staff constituted as follows.
Colonel. S. J. Crawford – Comdg Reg’t.
Lieut Col. H. L. Moore
1st Major – W. C. Jones 1st Battalion
2d “ C. H. Diamon 2d Battalion
3d “ R. W. Jenkins 3d Battalion.
Major. Mahler Bailey – Reg’tl. Surgeon.
1st Lieut. E. K. Russell Asst. Surgeon.
1st Lieut. Robt. Aikman Asst. Surgeon.
1st Lieut. J. M. Steel Adjutant.
1st Lieut. Luther A. Thrasher Quartermaster.
1st Lieut. John Johnson. Commissary.
Non Commissioned Staff.
Sergeant – Q. M. Sergeant
“ - - - - Sergt. Major.
“ - - - - Com. Sergt.
“ - - - - Chief Bugler.
and Officers of the line as follows:
See Gen’l order No. 5 of Nov 5th 1868. Col. Crawford assumes command.
This roster can be filled up from the records in the Adjt. Genl’s office, my memoranda of the names of the officers has been mislaid.
Capt. A. J. [Pliley]
2d Lieut. Bra
Capt. Jno Q. A. Norton
1st Lieut. Jno S. Edie
2d Lieut. Chas. Hoyt
2d Lieut. Brady
Capt. Geo. B. Jenness.
1st Lieut. D.W.C. Jenness.
2d Lieut. Jno W. Fellows.
Capt. Dave H. Payne
Capt. Milton Stewart
On the morning of the 5th Col. Crawford assumed command of the Regiment, by the following formal order: dated at Regimental Headquarters. “Camp Crawford.”
General Order No. 5.
I. By virtue of commission from His Excellency. Green-Gov. of Kansas. and mustered into service Nov. 4th 1868. I hereby assume command of the 19th Kans. Cav. Vol’s.
All existing orders will remain in force until further orders.
Official. S. J. Crawford.
J. M. Steele. Adjutant. Col. 19th Kan. Cav. Vol’s.
During the day the Regiment broke camp. and marched out with flying colors. and in very fine order. Only one man was left behind, - a case of remittant fever, and the health, spirits and fine condition of men and horses, naturally inspired hopes that the 19th would accomplish much, during its term of service, and at the same time, reflect credit upon the young state from which it had been so quickly gathered. Certainly, no similar organization had ever begun a campaign under more favorable circumstances, nor in better condition, and yet we anticipate somewhat, when we say, that no hopes in any regiment, were ever more bitterly disappointed. And that to, through no fault of its own.
The courteous treatment of the citizens of Topeka, while the Regiment was camped within its Northeastern boundaries, is still gratefully remembered, and caused a pang of regret, in many hearts, when the Regiment marched out, notwithstanding the general desire for active service.
The first camp. after leaving Topeka, was named Camp Moore, in honor of the Lieut. Col. Here the Regiment remained over the 6th and 7th, in order to complete its arrangements for service. The men were well provided with clothing, including rubber ponchos, but had no tents or shelter of any kind, and as the weather was beginning to be cold, some suffering was experienced during the nights. The arms, Spencer Carbines, and Colts revolvers, were new, as were the accoutrements, and an abundant supply of ammunition was provided.
See Gen’l order No. 6.
The calls arranged for camp and drill, in General Order No. 2. were of course impracticable on the march, or in the field, and Gen’l Order No. 6 announced the following calls for the future guidance of the command:
Revielle, 4 o’clock.
Stable call, 4.15 “
Breakfast - - - - 5 o.c. a.m.
General - - - - 5.20 “
Boots & Saddls. 5.30 o’clock
To horse 5.45 “
Advance 6 o’clock.
See Genl Order No. 7.
By General Order No. 7 same date, the Regiment was subdivided into three Battalions as follows.
1st Batt- Major Jones
Co’s. “A.” “D.” “H.” and “L.”
2d Batt – Maj. Diamon.
Co’s. “B.” “E.” “I” and “M”
3d Batt. – Maj. Jenkins.
Co’s. “C.” “F.” “K” and “G.”
and as Major Jenkins had not reported for duty. but was expected to join at Wichita, Lt. Col. Moore was temporarily assigned to the command of the 3d Battalion.
The command went into camp near Emporia Lyon Co. Ks. On the night of the 8th, after a hard days march. The weather turned much colder, and a cold disagreeable rain, fell during the greater part of the day. In the evening a light fall of snow occurred, and it became so cold that it required considerable exertion, on the part of the men, to keep comfortably warm. One man, belonging to the Regiment, had a severe attack of pneumonia, and the Surgeon was forced to leave him at Emporia, under the care of Dr. Jacobs. of that city –No event occurred
during, the remainder of the march to the Arkansas, worth noting.
On the 12th the command arrived at Wichita. the conflux of the Little, with the Greater Arkansas rivers, and went into camp in a narrow bend of the river, some distance west of the Post. This little station consisted of one rudely constructed log building, used for army supplies, another similar, though smaller log structure inhabited by the post [sutler,] of Capt. Jennings, Company of the Militia Battalion, and one or two adobes. Some little distance to the Northwest, stood four or five, bark and grass wove wickies, of the [Cado] Indians, looking like dirty [Sibley] tents, from a distance, but uninhabited. The Indians who formerly frequented this place, having all gone west. The Bucks, doubtless to Join the Cheyennes, and Comanches, in their predatory expeditions upon the more northerly Kansas frontier. Capt. Barr. Brit. Maj. U.S.A. was found in command of this Station, with a part of one company of regulars. This officer did not impress our command with a very exaulted opinion of the courtesy of Regular army officers, and it was only by threatening summary measures, that Col. Crawford.
finally succeeded in procuring necessary supplies, in compliance with General Sheridan’s orders. As it was, but five days scant rations, could be secured for the men, and an indefinate amount of damaged forage for the animals. Some of the latter being so badly spoiled, and of such apparent short weight, that Lieut. Thrasher, Regt’l. A.Q.M. asked for a Board of Survey, before he would attempt to bear it on his accounts. By Special Order No. 1 – Maj. Diamon, 1st Lieut. D. C. Jenness and 2d Lieut. Brady, were detailed for this duty. It is sufficient to note, that the investigations and report of this Board, more than sustained Lieut. Thrasher’s Judgement of the indifferent condition of this lot of corn.
Gen. Special Order No. 11. Nov. 13th
Capt. Jenness, Joined the command on the morning of the 13th after a horseback ride of over 75 miles from Salina, through an uninhabited country, frequented by roving bands of Indians. HE was escorted by four men of Capt. Park’s Co. of the State Battalion. He at once assumed command of “F” Troop, which, during the march from Topeka, had been well commanded by Lieut. D. C. Jenness.
The camp at Wichita, was named “Camp Buchers,” doubtless in honor of the noted pastor of Brooklin, or his military son. The command only remained one day in this delightful and picturesque encampment, drawing rations and otherwise preparing to abandon the last established outpost of civilization and to enter the sand hills. the cactus lands. and sage brush of the west and South side of the Arkansas river.
On the morning of the 14th the Regiment broke camp, the officers and men in high spirits over the cheering prospects of an active and immediate campaign against the Indians. The horses were in fine condition, the teams of the transportation train fresh and strong and every indication propitious of a brilliant and successful ending of a campaign begun under such auspicious circumstances. By direction of Gen’l. Sheridan, two scouts, reported to be thoroughly familiar with the plains of Southern Kansas and the Northern portion of the Indian Territory, were assigned to duty with our Regiment. Of these two “Apacha Bill,” was the leader. and supposed to be the keenest and most experienced. and to his guidance, Col. Crawford trusted himself and command. with the utmost confidence. The point of Juncture,
and rendevous, where the 19th was to Join the regular forces congregated for this hopeful campaign, was Camp Supply, a new post established by Gen’l. Sheridan, near the Northwest corner of the Indian Territory. and on the North Fork of the Canadian River. The distance from Camp Beecher, a point quite near the present site of Wichita, was supposed not to greatly exceed one hundred and fifty miles. The country intervening, however, was a wild and unbroken region, save by a single trail running westward, and bearing into the Indian Territory, and known as “Dutch Henry’s Trail.” Apacha Bill declared himself familiar with this prairie highway, and the command followed his guidance from Camp Beecher with the most implicit confidence. The expectation of Col. Crawford. was to Join Gen’l. Sheridan and Gen’l. Custar with the 7th U.S. Cavalry, at Camp Supply, within the five days. for which rations had been drawn, at the very comfortable and sober rate of about thirty miles per day, and without exhausting men or beasts. During the forenoon of the 15th the weather changed from fair to cloudy, and an extremely cold and disagreeable rain
storm set in, preventing our usual day’s march, and putting upon the face of that naturally monotonous and dreary country a doubly gloomy aspect. At night, the wet and shivering command, went into camp at the foot of a spongy, and sandy range of hills, barren of vegitation except sage brush, and with no fuel except the few stunted cottonwoods which grew on the margin of the little brook which ran through the valley below. That night will probably be remembered by the men of the 19th, for the exquisit misery of the occasion. About midnight the rain, turned to a heavy sleet and with the imperfect shelter afforded by our tents, the biting cold and scarcity of fuel, there was nothing left but manuel exercise to keep even half way comfortable, and but little sleep, was secured that night by officers or men. The stream being a branch of the Nenescah, the foot hills were called the “Nenescah hills.”
On the morning of the 16th after breakfasting under difficulties, the command resumed its march, the weather being still cold and cloudy. This day and the 17th furnish no points of interest, both having been passed in slow and tedious
marching among the bleak hills, and over the table lands, ordinarially barren and sandy. and now covered with a coating of sleet and ice. The limited amount of forage on hand, forced the Company Commanders to avail themselves of everything which would give the hungry horses a mouthful of subsistance, and every night the men were directed to lead their horses out to graze on the sparse supply of buffalo grass, which grew here and there in very limited patches.
The first stock stampede.
On the night of the 18th we camped on Medicine Lodge Creek, and as rations were beginning to run low, the supply issued to the command was considerably diminished. In this camp occurred one of those unfortunate and unavoidable experiences, which frequently come to plainsmen with stock, and which defies human agency to quell or modify. As usual, the command selected, and went into camp, in advance of the wagon train. The troops by battalion, forming a hollow square, inside of which the train was driven when it arrived. The several companies, in line on the
faces of the square, had Just finished unsaddling, and some of them were starting out with their horses to have them graze on the short, dry buffalo grass, immediately in their company fronts. At this moment, some of the advance company wagons had arrived and were swinging into their places, in the rear of their respective companies, to unload their rations and camp equipage. One six mule team, left for a moment by its driver, somewhere near the Northeast corner of the square, became frightened, and dashed away at full speed, diagonally across the square. A bomb shell could not have caused greater consternation; the men yelled at the top of their voices, those in the line of the runaway team, hustled in every direction, an ungovernable and panic stricken mob. On came the flying mules and as they whirled up near the nearest company, the horses of that command became unmanageable. and snorting with fear, broke from the soldiers in charge of them and dashed wildly up the line, only to communicate the demoralization to the successive troops as they ran, helter
skelter, through the now disorganized and maniac camp. until in less time than it takes me to write these lines, the horses of the whole south and a part of the east side of the square were in a complete stampede, and dragging their lariats and picket pins, were galloping madly over the plains, the majority of them heading back over the trail we had followed into camp. Pandemoneum itself could not present a picture of greater consternation, or excitement. Horses in hand kicking and Jumping, those at liberty running and snorting, men yelling and scattering over the prairie in vain endeavor to head off or catch the thoroughly frightened animals, while, the officers were trying with herculean effort and borean lungs to reduce the panic to some sort of order, and bring a rational act out of the chaotic mess. Finally something like, tranquility was restored, and detatchments from the companies which had lost no horses, were sent out in pursuit of the fugitive animals, but dispite the best endeavors, and several days hunt
but few of the stampeded horses were recovered by the command. The Indians, parties of buffalo hunters, and Capt. Jenning’s company of militia, stationed at Wichita secured the rest, and we have frequently heard of many a good farm horse belonging to the pioneer farmer of that section, with a suspicious bare spot on the left foreshoulder, where the U.S. brand had been “buried.” Three hundred horses were stampeded, and not to exceed a third of them were recovered. This was the first event, in the train of unfortunate circumstances that rendered abortive the high expectations formed of the Nineteenth Kansas Cavalry. The weather continued cold and disagreeable.
See Gen’l Order No. 8
As Major Jenkins, had not Joined the Reg’t. up to this time Lt. Col. Moore, had been temporarially in command of the 3d Battalion. Maj. Jenkins, however overtook the command in this camp and on the 19th Gen’l Order No. 8. was issued assigning him to the command of the 3d Bat., which he at once assumed.
The stampede, which had injured several men, delayed the Regiment in this camp one day, and as we were still over
one hundred miles from our designated point of meeting with the regulars, and rations getting low, it formed an important turning point in our affairs. Yet the time was not entirely wasted, as several hunting parties were sent out after buffalo. and several of them obtained a fair supply of fresh meat.
Nov. 19th to 21st
From the 19th to the 21st the command, kept up its march over the high prairie, and through broken hills, slowly gaining ground. The weather was excessively cold, rations now all gone and, officers and men alike depending on buffalo meat for subsistance, and this scant supply, even we were forced to eat without salt, and sometimes without cooking, but worse experience was to follow.
The night of the 21st began that noted snow storm of 1867, which continuing for several days and ending in a regular western blizzard, caused the experience of the 19th Kansas, for suffering and hunger, to be unparalleled, by that of any command, during the war of the rebellion.
No less than two feet of snow fell during the night of the 21st and morning of the 22d there having been a steady and heavy fall. rendering a forward movement impossible, and our general condition anything but pleasant or comfortable. Several parties sent out in quest of buffalo returned empty-handed, and the biting pangs of hunger began to be keenly felt by the men. Some of the officers had still a small supply in their private mess chests, and these last remnants were generally taken out and distributed among the men. In “F” Troop, under our own observation, two small hams, about ten pounds of flour and a few cans of tomatoes and sardines, were emptied promiscuously into a camp kettle, with a quantity of water, and a sort of a pot pori made, of which one hundred men made their first square meal for forty hours and their last one for six days. In some of the companies men actually suffered of hungar, and full grown men would beg their company officers for some small particle of food to stay the pangs of a gnawing stomach. After the 22d officers and men were on an equal footing, there was not a mouthful of rations in the entire command. Late in the afternoon of the 22d the Col. called a council of the officers, and called for an expression of
opinion upon the situation. There was no use of concealing the fact, the guide, wholly ignorant of the country as subsequently appeared had led us a long distance to the south of the trail we should have followed, and no man in the command could tell our exact location, or it’s relative position as to Camp Supply. The question to be decided, was whether we would push on, in a general western and northerly direction, in the hope of finding Camp Supply, or turn due north and strike for the nearest military post on the upper Arkansas river? A diversity of opinion ensued, but upon one of the company Commanders, facetiously remarking “that there was no danger of starvation so long as a horse or mule remained,” the Colonel decided in favor of adhering to the original plan, and pressing forward.
The night of the 22d was one long to be remembered. Hunger was acting upon the men, in a manner peculiar to their several dispositions. Some were fierce and desperate; others gloomy and dispondent, while the young and tender youth, who were perhaps having their first bitter experience, away from their domestic circles, would sit shivering, around their cottonwood fires, while tears of repentance, over their rash act of becoming
Indian hunters of Uncle Sam, would roll down their cheeks. On every hand could be heard the muttered threats of desertion, and to circumvent any such move as this, trusty guards were detailed in each company, over the hungry horses on the picket lines. Even with these precautions, a conspiracy, which extended among the men of several companies, was reported, about midnight, and the company officers, being notified, many of them walked their troop quarters until morning, with revolver in hand.
The forenoon of the 24th passed in this camp, where the only luxury the men could have was wood, and the time was put in by those who had horses in trying to give them at least enough dry grass to sustain life, and this could only be done by each man’s kicking away the deep snow, in spots of a rod or so square, and allowing the ravenous animals to crop short the stunted buffalo grass thus uncovered. Besides the horses lost in the stampede, already narrated, many in each company had died at the picket lines, from hunger and cold. During this forenoon, several hunting parties had also been sent out, and some of these returned before noon with a scant, but welcome supply of buffalo meat. This being equally divided among the
companies, was eaten without sale, and in many instances without cooking. The successful hunters, had brought in from ten or twelve miles out all the meat their horses could carry, and they reported that the buffalo, were suffering even more than ourselves or horses. This unexpected blizzard had caught them upon the unsheltered prairies, and there they would seek some deep ravine, or hollow, and chilled through and completely cowed by the storm, they would stand and allow the men to approach within ten feet of them, and shoot them down, without any effort on their part to escape. Leaving all our heavy and cumbersome picket lines, and the Regimental forge, in this camp, in order to lighten the burdens of the weak and starving mule teams, the command sallied forth, on the afternoon of the 22d to struggle and stumble through the heavy snow. The cold was intense, and this and the weak condition of our horses, forced the command to march on foot the most of the time. The face of the country had become more broken and hilly, as we bore west, and deep gullies here, steep precipitous cliffs there, and almost impassable banks of sand so impeded our advance, that night found us only about six miles from our former camp.
It was expected that this days march would bring us to the Cimmarone River, but we awoke in the morning to find ourselves still three miles from the river, and at least thirty miles below where we should have struck it, had our line of march been on the most direct rout to Camp Supply. A command which had retired supperless and arose with no breakfast, cannot be supposed to have been in any very exhuberant humor, and the men could hardly be blamed for expressing the itching desire, they felt this morning to hang Apacha Bill. His royal scoutship hung close to the Colonel’s quarters, and no opportunity was given to test the seriousness of these threats. We were camped near the mouth of a very pretty little stream and plenty of wood abounded, for our purposes of cooking scant buffalo and heating.
On the morning of the 24th Col. Crawford decided to take all the men who had available horses, and strike out to find Camp Supply. The remainder of the command, the dismounted men, and those with sick or disabled horses, were to be left under Maj. Jenkins, with the wagon train etc. until succor could be sent them. Col. Crawfords detatchment, numbering about one half the Regiment, at once began their march, those who
25th 26th of Nov.
remained behind reluctantly staying to face starvation an indefinate time.
All day long, the marching column pushed on, gloomily following our leader, but all hungry and weak. The condition of the horses made rapid progress an impossibility and at night the column went into bivouac in another of those monotonous cottonwood groves, and went supperless to bed. Morning brought no brighter prospects for rations, and the preparations to resume the march were soon made. The 26th brought only a repetition of the experience of the preceeding day. Except, that a small party of hunters sent on in advance, succeeded in killing a couple of buffalo, and the meat was promptly divided among the men when the command came up. Many could not wait for night, a fire and more civilized ceremony, but at once fell to eating their buffalo ration raw. Salt was a condiment which had long since disappeared from the command. Neither does the bivouac of this night furnish any new or interesting features, except the one of a supper and breakfast.
About noon, as the column emerged from the timber bottom of the river, and rode to the higher ground, a shout from the companies near the head of the columns announced that something unusual was
in view, and in a few moments all came in sight of some horsemen, riding to meet us. They proved to be scouts sent out to hunt for our command, and they gave us the Joyful tidings that Camp Supply was only five miles ahead. The poor horses appeared to understand that they were near rest and forage and stepped off with an animation they had not known for days. A brief canter brought us to the new Post and new tents, and plenty of rations soon partially oblitterated the recollection of our loss, hunger and sufferings.
After a short rest Capt. A. J. Pliley was sent back with a detatchment and rations to bring up the rest of the Regiment, and on the 1st of December they arrived in camp to a man, though a few more horses had perished in that wilderness of a camp, which was embalmed in the memory of the men of the 19th as “Hackberry Camp.”
The disappointment of General Sheridan, over the unfortunate experience was very great. All of his arrangements for an active and aggressive campaign against the Indians, had been made. He was expecting to be reinforced with a full Regiment of gallant Kansas volunteers, finely mounted and equipped. The 7th Cavalry was waiting for the new auxiliary, having Just returned from its recent fight with Black Kettle, and with the 19th they expected to
be able to anihilate all the Indians on the plains. This was the dream, what was the reality? A disorganized band of half starved men, a regiment of worn out and emaciated horses, so reduced that there was hardly a servicable horse in the command, and as the weather continued cold, there wasn’t a night passed, but what from three to ten dead horses were found on the lines in each company. It was the inevitable, however and there was nothing to do but make the best of it, and he gave orders to recruit the strength of the men and horses, as much as possible, and determined to push his campaign, even in the face of such a discouraging beginning.
Seven days, more, making ten in all, were given the troops to recuperate.
This new post, to which rations and a large amount of general supplies had been sent, about two weeks before the arrival of the 19th Kansas, was established as a temporary base of operations against the Indians. South of the Arkansas river. It is located at the mouth of Bever Creek, where it empties into the North Canadian. Strategicly it is a well located depot for operations in the Indian Territory or Southwestern Kansas.
The next evening after the arrival of Col. Crawford and his detatchment, Gen’l. Custar, arrived in camp, and reported having had a severe engagement with the Indians some sixty miles south of this point. He had started from Camp Supply a week previous on this scout, and had been fortunate enough to strike the trail of a large party of Cheyennes and leaving his wagons had followed them until his scouts reported their village on the Cimmerone. Making his preparations quickly in the morning, after following the trail all night, he dashed in on their camp with his entire command. The Indians were surprised, but rallying at the call of their chief, they succeeded, with overpowering numbers, in beating the troops back, and compeling them to withdraw to a safe distance. A portion of Custar’s command, a detatchment of seventeen men under Maj. J. H. Elliott, was cut off, surrounded by the Indians and every man of them killed. Among the killed in the first charge, also, was Capt. Hamilton, and a Lieut, wounded. Custar’s men killed a large number of the Indian warriors and a number of squaws. Old Black Kettle, the head chief of the Cheyennes, was among the killed on the Indian side.
During the attack on Black Kettles camp
A Mrs. Blinn and her infant, who had been some months in captivity, were killed by the ferocious savage, to prevent their recapture. Mrs. Blinn was tomahawked and the child was killed, by dashing its brains out against a tree. This beautiful and estimable lady was the daughter of Mr. W. H. Harrington, of Ottawa Kans, and her younger sister, Mrs C. H. Estabrook, wife of a prominent druggist, still resides in that city. Something over a year previous to her capture, she had married a young man named Blinn, who took his wife to the frontier, and settled in a ranch near Ft. Dodge. He was engaged in supplying hay and wood to the military posts, when one morning, while away at work the Indians made a dash on the ranch, killed some whites, wounded Mr. Blinn and captured his wife and child. During this ladies captivity, she found means to communicate with the regular army officers, and some of the most pathetic and effecting letters ever pened by human being, were received from her, making piteous appeals, for some special effort to be made, to releas her from a bondage worse than death. A subsequent chapter, a discription will be given, of the condition of the bodies of Mrs Blinn and child, and Maj. Elliott and his men when found by the 7th Cav. and 19th Kans. when they advanced over the battle field, as well as of the final disposition of the bodies of Elliott and Mrs. B.
The loss of horses had been so great, in the Regiment, during the march from Camp Beecher to Camp Supply that an average of not more than eighty men in each company could be mounted The dismounted men, were not considered available for an active campaign against the Indians, and an order (Circular) of instruction was issued to Company commanders directing them to report the names of their dismounted men to Regimental Headquarters for transfer to the Dismounted detatchment. This order provided for the reduction of the effective force of each company to eighty men.
Note. See circular “B” Dec. 3/68
See Circular Order C of Dec. 4/68
On the morning of the 4th an order was issued, directing the command to prepare for marching on the 7th inst, and all the preliminary arrangements were made, to place the Regiment in the most efficient condition for an active campaign against the Indians.
See Circular order No. 17. herewith, which gives the names of the dismounted men of “F: Troop, but the same order from other companies will furnish the names of their men.
The 5th was passed in drawing rations, forage and camp equippage necessary for active service. and on the 6th Special Order No. 17th was issued from Regimental Hd’qrs, detailing the men for dismounted service, who had been reported under the requirements of Circular “B,” by the respective Company Commanders. By the same order Maj. Chas. [Dinvon], was directed to organize and command this Battalion of dismounted men, and they were assigned to post duty at Camp Supply, thus relieving the regular soldiers who had heretofore been doing this duty.
For a complete history of the operations of this detatchment reference will have to be made to the report of Maj. Dimon which I suppose Col. Crawford can furnish. Maj. Dimon died in Ft. Scott in 1870.
It may not be out of place to add here, that this detatchment suffered great hardships, during the campaign of the rest of the Regiment, from cold. Only a few days, after the troops marched from this post, Major Dimon went out on a scout and buffalo hunt with a detail of these men, and getting lost, wandered through the hills and valleys of this country for several days, enduring the most intense suffering from the cold. Maj. Dimon, had both feet frozen, and for a time, after his return, it was thought that amputation would be necessary. He and party were finally brought in by a detatchment sent to their relief, and Maj. Dimon had to be carried in an ambulance.
On the night of the 6th a large supply train arrived at Camp Supply from Ft. Dodge, and we got the first mail from home that we had received since leaving Camp Beecher. Agreeable to orders, the column, consisting of the 19th Kans. under Col. Crawford, and the 7th Regular Cavalry, under Lieut Col. Custar, the whole commanded by Gen’l. Sheridan, left Camp Supply, bright and early. The men were in high spirits, and anxious for a fight with the Indians. Our wagon train bore an ample supply of rations and stores, and notwithstanding the previous misfortunes of the 19th the second start, appeared in every way propitious.
We had drawn rations for a thirty days scout and within that time, officers and men expected to be led to within striking distance of the Indians. The first days march was without any event of interest, except the surpassing beauty of the country through which we passed.
The morning of the 8th was ushered in with a slight fall of snow, and the cold northerly wind which blew mild enough in the morning, soon increased to a gale. The snow was driven in blinding sheets over the column, and until noon the march was exceedingly disagreeable and unpleasant. About noon, however, the snow stopped falling, and though the horses would ball up, necessitating slow progress, the afternoon was not so bad. That night we made our camp on Onchata River
Note. In my opinion the name Wichita should be Onchita, to follow the comet Indian pronounciation.
Dec. 9th Our camp being only about 8 miles below the spot where Gen’l. Custar had his fight with the Indians under Black Kettle, the Gen’l. commanding determined to spend one day here, and on the morning of the 9th organized a party to visit the ground. The party consisted of the Generals, Col. Crawford and various officers from the 7th and 19th with a sufficient escort of men from the 7th. On reaching the grounds, we found many signs of a severe contest and a hasty retreat of the Indians.
The river, ran through quite a heavy belt of timber here, in which the Indians had their camp. On the north were high bluffs and to the South bottom land, opening on hills and the table land beyond. On the hillside, at the north were the carcasses of between four and five hundred poneys, captured from the Indians, and killed by Custar’s order.
In the timber, by the river, were the ashes, and remains of the Indian wigwams, burned by Custar’s men, and at this point, Black Kettle was killed. Here were the bodies of five or six squaws, and that of Mrs. Blynn and her child, lying some rods apart. Mrs. Blynn’s body was clothed in an old blanket, with one undergarment of buck-skin, white on her feet, were a pair of ladies stockings (the only article of civilized attire) and a pair of moccasins. On the south side of the creek and some distance below this spot, we found the body of Maj. Elliott, surrounded by the bodies of the seventeen men killed with him, all stripped naked, and all but that of Elliott horribly mutilated. *Elliott’s right hand, only, was cut off. The ground was covered with cartridge shells, showing that they had made a desperate fight, and been overcome, only when they had used up their ammunition. The bodies were all frozen, and after burying the remains of the soldiers, the bodies of Maj. Elliott, and Mrs. Blynn, were put into an ambulance and taken back to camp with us. They were subsequently taken to Ft Cobb and interred.
*Note. Elliott had been a great friend of the Indians, when they came in to visit the posts where he was stationed, and it is said here, when the Indians kill a friend in battle, they cut off the hand that they have shaken in friendship.
The following morning, the command resumed its forward march, and nothing of interest occurred. except the accidental killing of the Regimental chief bugler of the 19th. During the march a herd of buffalo and a few antelope were discovered some distance from the line of March and a party went in pursuit. Among the number, the chief buglar. As these men circled around the herd, the buglar went behind a hill opposite the main party, and just as he rode up to the brow of the hill, some of these men fired at a buffalo, and the bullet struck the bugler in the head killing him, almost instantly. This was the only man killed in the Regiment during this campaign.
On the 10th the weather moderated considerably, and the snow melted off, leaving the prairies quite green.
On the afternoon of the 11th we came in sight of the timber on the river near Fort Cobb, and here we were approached by a party of Indian Chiefs, under a flag of truce. The command was halted on the crown of a high bluff, while the Indians held a consultation with the General commanding. The chiefs represented various bands of Comanchies, Kiowas and Apachas, and appeared very anxious for peace. They had committed all the deviltry they could, without danger of punishment, we were pressing them close, and now they wished to take advantage of the proverbial leniency of the government, and escape the Just
reward for their iniquities. The contemplation of making peace with them, at a moment when we had them within striking distance, was especially disagreeable to the officers and men of the 19th, many among whom, had suffered from Indian depredations on the frontier, and a few had suffered the loss of relatives at their bloody hands. Gen’l. Sheridan, declared, in this confab. that the only terms upon which peach would be granted, was the immediate surrender of all the arms and poneys of the hostile Indians, and the immediate return of the roving bands to their respective reservations. With this dictum, the chiefs departed with the promise of calling a grand council to consider the terms. A number of the most prominent war chiefs, including Satanta of the Kiowas, Kettle-Belley of the Apachies, and Lone Wolf and Timber-Mountain, of the Comanchies, were made prisoners by Gen’l. Sheridan and at once put under close guard, with the threat from him that he would hang them unless they at once brough in their bands and surrendered everything.
Moving leisurely along, we did not reach Ft Cobb until the 18th and went into camp in the heavy timber west of the Fort and a few miles distance. Here we learned that a number of camps of Indians
were in our immediate vicinity, and at night the horizon in the Northeast and Southwest of us was beautifully illuminated by their camp fires. It appeared however that these camps contained but few warriors, the old men and women only being in their tents and the young bucks still out waiting for the results of the overtures for peace, which their chiefs were making. As we had their women and children, and many of their poneys, there was but little danger but what they could ultimately be brought to terms.
The Regiment had a beautiful camp and being well provided with shelter tents the men were comfortable. Plenty of good rations were also issued, and almost daily, the Indian Squaws visited our quarters to barter pelts, moccasins and Indian trinkets for sugar and coffey. The Indians claimed that they had 3000 warriors, well armed and mounted, while our force consisted of Eleven companies of the 7th U. S. Cav. ten Troops of the 19th Kansas. three companies of the 10th (col’d) U.S. Cavalry, which had been in Garrison at Ft Cobb. and a part of a Company of U.S. Infantry for train guard.
On the 19th we made a slight change of camp to get nearer to water, and while in this location, the officers amused themselves by galloping through the various Indian villages, within a few miles, satisfying our curiosity as to their mode of life.
The principal camps of the Indians were about seven miles Northeast of us, but several bands of Comanchies and Pennytakers were only a mile or so from camp.
Owing to the delay in having the warriors come, in Gen’l. Sheridan had threatened to hang the prisoner chiefs, and one night they were told that Sheridan intended to hang them in the morning, and that night, the chiefs and the squaws that were with them, to wait on them, kept up the most unearthly wailing and howling until near morning. The chiefs sang their “death songs,” and apparently made every preparation to go to the “happy-hunting grounds.” They were greatly relieved the next morning when told that Sheridan had granted them a few days reprieve, to give them a chance to send out more imperitive orders to their warriors to come in.
On the night of the 19th the chiefs of all the bands held a big council and this resulted in a general expression for peace. Of course, Satanta and the other captive chiefs, urged peace on any terms as their necks were depending on the result.
Weather turned cold again. We learn that a Peace Commission under Gen’l Hazen has been ordered here by the authorities at Washington, and the party are expected to arrive in our camp today.
See circular order “C.”
The Regiment was inspected day before yesterday, 21st by Gen’l Forsythe. of Sheridan’s Staff, and passed a very creditable examination, so far as arms, equipments and general condition of men was concerned. The command also drew clothing and other supplies necessary. The horses have continued to die off so rapidly that we now have about as many dismounted men in each company as we had at Camp Supply. The animals have never recovered from their exposure, and privations between Camp Beecher and Supply. There is some talk of another re-organization. Gen’l. Hazen, and party of Peace Commissioners arrived this evening, and a large train of our wagons, under the Acting Brigade Q.M. started today for Ft. Arbuckle after supplies. It is estimated that the will be absent nearly two weeks.
The weather continues cold and men and officers put in their time putting up more comfortable quarters. The general plan adopted, was to dig into the ground a couple of feet, sod up around the edges and stretch the shelter tents over all for roof. In one side, a fire place would be dug, and a chimney of barrels or other available material outside. In this manner, very comfortable and substantial quarters were built.
See Special Order No. 22
The Second Board of Survey, was detailed from the officers today, to verify and report on “discrepancies existing between articles and invoices on a lot of ordinance stores in Capt. Stewarts Co. “K.”
Christmas morning was ushered in cold and sleeting, and as the occasion directed every soldier’s mind to the comforts of home, the natural depression of spirits resulting from a comparison of our condition with the condition and happiness of those at home, was greatly intensified by the unfavorable weather, and gloomier set of men could hardly be found any where. However there was nothing to do but make the best of it, and almost every mess made some little extra preparation for Christmas dinner. Wild turkey and venison was plenty and the most of messes had turkey. In the morning a general invitation was received from Gen’l. Hazen, (newly arrived) asking the immediate attendance of the officers of the Regiment at his tent. Sufficient to say that the invitation was duly accepted and upon arrival at the Gen’l’s quarters, we very soon discovered that a large supply of egg-nogg was the objective of the congregation of officers.
Full justice was done to the General’s hospitality, and we returned to our camp, considerably enlivened by our visit. The writer dined on wild turkey with Capt. Stewart, and soon after received a second invitation to dinner at Regimental Headquarters. Courtesy demanded an acceptance, but a full stomach prevented full Justice to the excellent repast. Col. Crawford, Lieut Col. Moore, and Majors Jones and Jenkins, formed a genial party with whom it was a pleasure to pass an hour or two.
See General order No. 10 dated Dec. 28th herewith.
On the 28th an order was issued, notifying the Regiment that it was the intention of the Maj. General commanding, to remount the command, and reporting the result of the Inspection made by Col. Forsythe, and including a portion of his report. This report, indicates plainly the hostile feeling entertained by regular officers for volunteers, and which had been very plainly indicated on several occasions during our association with Custar and his officers. The 19th Kansas. as a body of fighting men, could have whipped two Regiments like the 7th Cav. and had we ever encountered the Indians, there is no question in my mind but what the 19th would have been the bulwarks of the command. The reflections on the Regt. were sweetened a little by a special complimentary mention of Capt’s. Norton and Pliley, but there was many companies in the command, as good, or better than either of these. It was not the fault of the men, that our horses died. It was the direct result of the unfortunate and unavoidable march and exposure to Camp Supply.
On the night of the 27th a terrific rain storm came on and the water fell in torrents. This storm was doubtless still more severe up farther in the mountains, at the base of which we were encamped, and every
ravine, gulley and dry creek bed was soon full of water. About 1 o’clock, these torrents combined in one grand flood, rolled down upon our little valley, and striking our camp, spread out into a broad sheet of water resembling a lake. The water came into our tents, filling the holes, in which we lay, until everything was flooded several feet deep. Blankets, and bedding was saturated, until neither officers or men could find a dry spot to lay their heads and roosting on boxes, barrels, or anything that would keep them out of the water, they passed the long weary hours until morning. The tents of Col. Crawford and the Regimental Staff, did not escape the general deluge. The next day camp was removed to higher ground, but for several days the weather continued damp and disagreeable.
Note – See Genl order No. 9.
Note – see Special Order No. 26.
Orders issued calling attention to the opportunities for recruiting and grazing the horses, and drilling the men. Also orders to prepare for marching, also regulating daily calls. Another detatchment of dismounted men from each company, was organized, and sent back to Camp Supply, with inst ructions to report to Major Dimon.
1869 Jany. 2d
New Year’s day passed, without any special effort to observe it, and the Regiment was in about as uncomfortable a condition a could be thought, from the effects of the long rain.
However, an order was issued, directing the command to prepare for another inspection.
this time dismounted. The inspection to take place on the 3d. the same order also announced, new regulations regarding bugle calls.
See Gen’l. Order No. 2 of 1869.
The inspection passed of creditably for the Regiment, considering the circumstances, and then general preparations were made for a march.
The command pulled out bright and early, taking a Southerly direction, the point of destination being Medicine Bluff Creek. about sixty miles distant. The object of this move, was to establish a new post, more available for purposes relating to Indian campaigns. Ft Cobb. the old post, near which we were camped had been dismantled. and everything was to be removed to the new post.
After several days uneventful marches. in a very deliberate manner. and through a beautiful country, we arrived at Cash Creek, one of the kindred streams of Medicine Bluff Creek. Our camp lies at the Eastern Extremity of the Wichita Mountains, and about 3 miles from Mt.[Scott], the highest peak in this range. Here we were ordered to establish a permanent camp. and for a number of days were engaged in fixing our quarters. The county abounds in game, elk. deer. bear. wild turkey etc. and plenty of timber and beautiful, pure water. The scenery here is truly lovely.
The rumor, comes from Headquarters, that a peace has been made with the Indians, and that all except two bands of hostile Indians, have buried the hatchet, and the war is over. The entire month of January was spent in this camp. with no event occurring worth recording. Details were made, occasionally for scouting parties, which went up into the mountains. One of these parties under Lieut. D. C. Jenness of “F” troop, an old Californian, returned. one day, about the last of the month after several days scout, and excited the camp by their report that they had discovered gold. They had found a small stream in the mountains, about forty miles west of Mt. Scott, containing black sand. Small shining particles had attracted their attention, and with a rudely constructed device, they had washed out about a quarter of an ounce of gold. Lieut. Jenness reported that gold undoubtedly existed there, but not in quantities to pay for mining.
The nights were spent in organizing hunting parties for wild turkey, and hundreds of them were shot by moonlight, from their roosts in the trees along the mountain streams. Several bear, of the Cinnamon kind, were also killed by the men. while we remained in this camp. The regular troops were camped nearer the new post, and we seldom saw any of them during our stay here
See Circular No. 6 Jany. 3/69
The orders issued during January consisted of Circular No. 6. directing Co. officers to make out pay rolls, and prepare for the expected arrival of the Paymaster. This expectation was not realized and the command was not paid until finally mustered out.
See Gen’l. Order No. 3. Jany. 3d
Another order relating to and forbidding the purchase of Indian ponies. was issued from Custar’s quarters. and was simply a piece of regular army [buncomb]. as not a poney had ever been bought by a man in the 19th
Gen’l. Order No. 4. was a very sensible order relating to grazing, but after the men of the 19th had taken great pains to recruit their horses. Gen’l. Custar issued an order, directing their horses turned over to the 7th Cav. and dismounting the 19th
See Circular order No 5 of Jany 12th and Circular order No. 6
To stimulate commendable emulation among the men as to neatness and cleanliness, an order was issued directing that the cleanest man in Each Co. be excused from duty, and granted passes to go into the mountains to hunt.
In. the 24th another general inspection took place. the Regiment appearing dismounted. The Effor seems to be to have the Reg’t. on foot as much as possible, in order to prepare them for what is coming.
The mania for hunting became so great that Gen’l. Order No. 8, cautioning Co. commanders. to stop the useless waste of ammunition was deemed necessary.
Among a party of squaws who visited our camp, on the 28th of January. was a white woman, who said that she was the wife of Chief Claver. and that she had been among the Indians thirteen years. having been captured when only 12 years old. Upon questioning, she said she had no desire to leave the Indians and her two children. She said that her parents had been killed and she did not know that she had a relative in the world.
While in this camp some of the men discovered a den of rattlesnakes in the caves under Medicine Bluff and the whole Regiment turned out to kill snakes. Over three hundred were killed during the afternoon, some of the largest being ten and twelve feet in length, and measuring twelve and fifteen inches around the body. Dr. Bailey, Regt’l. Surgeon got the skin of one of the largest and preserved it.
A number of the Ottawa Home News on file in the [XXXXX] rooms contains a full account of the finding of these snakes
Feb. 1st to 15th
From the 1st to the 15th of February. the camp and experience of the 19th was as uneventful as the greater part of January. The campaign being considered over. camp life became exceedingly irksome and officers and men turned their thoughts towards home, and longed for the date of the expiration of the six months for which they had enlisted. Col. Crawford. who had resigned the gubernatorial chair to take command of the
Regiment, began to receive notices of urgent business, which needed his attention at Topeka. The time for the new Governor to take his seat had come, and there were many things regarding state affairs, needing his personal presence. which had been neglected in the hurry of the organization of the 19th. These demands became so imperative that he decided to resign his commission and return to the state. His resignation was sent in to Gen’l Sheridan, about the 1st and upon a statement of the necessities of the case was accepted, to take effect on the 15th. Capt. G. B. Jenness of “F” troop, who, had been Asst. Adjt. under Gov. Crawford. and had commanded the Battalion of State Cavalry, previous to being commissioned in the 19th had also left many affairs, relating to that office in an unsettled condition, and it became necessary for him to return. Upon application, to Gen’l. Sheridan, supported by a statement of the urgency of the case, he was granted a leave of absence. and on the 15th started for Kansas, in company with Col. Crawford. Their outfit consisted of two pack mules each, three horses and one servant each, and with this megar equppage, they rode from Medicine Bluff to Ottawa Kansas. a distance of about five hundred miles in nineteen days. Two hundred miles of the distance being through the wildest portion of the Indian Territory.
The regiment remained in their camp at Medicine Bluff during the remainder of February, leading very much the same kind of a life. By the resignation of Col. Crawford a few changes took place in the Regimental Staff. Lieut Col. Moore became Colonel. Maj. Jones became Lieut. Col. and Capt. Stewart of “K” was promoted to Major.
During the latter part of February, it became definitely known, that the two hostile bands still out would not come in, and further, that they had in their possession, the captive white women Mrs. Morgan and Miss. White, who had been captured in the Republican Valley Kansas in October. The surrender of these ladies had been made one of the conditions of peace by Gen’l. Sheridan. Under this condition of affairs Genl. Custar was ordered to make a campaign against them. Previous to this, or about the last of February, the regiment had turned over all their horses to the 7th Cav. and were not entirely dismounted, except the officers. The hostiles were reported to be in camp, about one hundred and fifty miles west of Medicine Bluff and in a country, barely accessable to troops, yet the obsticles were not to be considered in view of the result to be accomplished and on the 2d of March, the troops broke camp and started westward, at about one o’clock. A march of only five miles was made the first day, and the command camped in a beautiful
valley in the Wichita Mountains, and being without tents bivouaced in the timber, only to be awakened and thoroughly drenched by a rain storm which came up about midnight. The rain continued the next morning until after 8 o’clock, and this days march only covered about sixteen miles. However. such short marches. were well suited to inure the men of the 19th to traveling on foot, and fitted them for the feats which they subsequently accomplished, of beating the 7th Cavalry day after day. proving conclusively the superior powers of endurance possessed by men over horses, on continuous marches.
Mar. 4th to 8th
From the 4th until the 8th the march was continued with little of novelty or interest, through a broken. though beautiful country. The 19th on foot continued to lead the 7th Cav. mounted and always beat them into camp. The command was divided on the 6th The 7th bearing South and the 19th continuing westward. This was done to surround an Indian Village which scouts had reported on the river – a camp of Cheyennes. The 19th marched 30 miles on the 6th, went into camp got supper, and then resumed their advance and marched ten miles after supper. At daylight on the 7th the Assembly was sounded and the Regiment marched 12 miles before breakfast. Went into camp at 2 o’clock got breakfast. and again resumed the march, making however only about 5 miles, when they went into camp for the night.
This morning the Regiment broke camp at daylight, in the rain. and marched until near noon. before breakfasting. About four o’clock a detatchment of the 7th cavalry discovered a small Indian camp in the timber and charged it. The Indians, numbering about 25, fled after a short resistance. The 7th men only securing one old blind squaw and seven poneys. The 19th made only 20 miles this day. the most of the time in the rain.
About 10 o’clock the command came to a sandy, barren plain, leaving the hills and vegitation through which it had been marching as abruptly as though striking a desert. They marched some 15 miles in this sandy plain, and went into camp near a dry pond hole, with no fuel except sage brush, which barely sufficed to cook their meals. Not a drop of water near and the men dug wells ten feet deep without finding any.
The next morning the command started out to find water, and struck a pond about noon. Stopped and watered all the stock and men, and then resumed a westward course. About the middle of the afternoon, the Regiment crossed the Texas line and struck into the Antilope Hills, where they camped on the Middle prong, of Red River.
The forced marching westward continued until the 12th much of the time, men and animals suffering for food, and very seldom finding any fuel where they camped. On the 12th the direction of march was changed northward, following up a Branch of Red River. On the 13th it turned very cold and the men suffered considerably, but they made a good march of twenty miles and camped among the sand banks. on Red River. As the mule teams on many of the wagons had completely given out. it became necessary. to distroy and burn up 25 of the wagons, in this camp. to prevent their falling into the hands of the Indians. Quite a number of mules were also killed and the men of both Regiments supped on mule meat and pronounced it excellent.
The column continued marching north until about 11 o’clock of the 15th when a fresh Indian trail, running East was struck. This was followed on the double quick until 8 o’clock, when the Regiment was ordered to make better time and striking a loaping run, they kept it up for seven miles farther, making over 30 miles this day. and came in sight of the Indian village. The Indians as usual came out with a flag of truce, and Custar demanded the two white women, at the same time agreeing to deliver to them the Indian prisoners in his hands.
Again the Indians equivocated and delayed. and returned to their village to hold a councel, while the troops went into camp. All of the 16th was spent in negotiations which resulted in nothing, and in the morning (17th) the Indian village was gone. They had retreated during the night. Once more the command was on foot and pushed on rapidly on the Indian trail. Moving down Lake Creek about 12 miles they again came in view of the Indian Village, and when several chiefs came out with their flag Custar made prisoners of them, sending one back to camp. to tell them that unless Mrs. Morgan, were at once given up he would hang the chiefs instantly. At 3 o’clock the white women were brought out. and presented a sorrowful picture indeed. As their history and the account of their captivity has been fully written, it is unnecessary to repeat it here.
The campaign now being ended. there was nothing to do but to march for Camp Supply, which point the command reached on the 28th after twelve days hard marching, Here the Regiment was reunited. and after one days rest they resumed their Northward march bound for Ft Hays to be mustered out. The march to Hays. was made at the rate
of 25 miles per day, and the Regiment reached that post April 7th, Nothing occurring on the way worthy of special note.
Here orders were received to turn over all property to regular officers at the Post, and the time was put in until the date of our muster out, in making out pay rolls. Muster rolls. and our final returns. The Regiment was mustered out by Major F. H. Bates, and was soon Joyfully homeward bound. Capt. Jenness, who was on leave of absence, had reported at Hayes some time before the arrival of the Regiment, and when they came in, took command of his company and was duly mustered out with the regiment.
Note - A Statement relating to claims, of the State against the government, and containing the correspondence between the Governor, and Gen’l. Sheridan, relating to the organization of the 19th is attached to this sketch.
Also, the Medical report of the 19th Kansas by Surgeon, Bailey.
Continuation of history of 19th Kans. Cavalry
From diary of Capt. G. B. Jenness of Co. “F.”