THE 13th United States Infantry was organized by direction of the President, May 14, 1861, confirmed by Act of Congress, July 19, 1861; and reorganized by Act of Congress, July 28, 1866.
Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Burbank assumed command of the regiment, July 23, 1861, and headquarters were established at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., where Companies A, B. C and G of the 1st Battalion were organized. The field officers were Colonel Wm. T. Sherman, Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Burbank, and Majors C. C. Augur, S. W. Crawford, and Charles Hill. Recruiting stations were opened for the regiment at Dubuque, Keokuk and Iowa City, Iowa; Cincinnati and Bellefontaine, Ohio; and Madison, Wisconsin, and Company A of the 1st Battalion was organized October 8, 1861; B. C and G. November 13, 1861; D, E, and F. April 1, 1862.
Philip H. Sheridan was appointed captain in the 13th from a lieutenantcy in the Fourth, May 14, 1861, to fill a vacancy. He joined the regiment, November 10, 1861, but was soon thereafter appointed chief commissary and quartermaster to the Army of Southwest Missouri, which practically severed his connection with the regiment.
On the 12th of February, 1863, the headquarters and so much of the regiment as had been recruited were removed to Alton, Ill., to guard the rebel prisoners confined in the prison at that place.
Headquarters of the regiment were removed, June 12, to Newport Barracks, and on the 4th of September, 1862, the First Battalion left Alton by rail for Newport, Ky., where it was placed on guard at Beechwood Battery and vicinity. In October it was transferred to Memphis, Tenn., and on the both of December left that city on the flagboat Forest Queen with the expedition against Vicksburg under the command of Major General Wm. T. Sherman, and disembarked six days later on the south bank of the Yazoo River, about 13 miles from its mouth. On the both the battalion was ordered to the front and participated in an engagement on the banks of the Chickasaw Bayou, five miles from Vicksburg, and was under a heavy fire of musketry from 7 o'clock A. M., until after dark. The casualties were one private killed and 11 wounded.
On the night of December 31 the battalion embarked on the City of Alton and ascended the Arkansas to within three miles of the Post of Arkansas, arriving January 10, 1863. During that night the troops were under the fire of the enemy, and on the afternoon of the 11th, participated in the general assault on the enemy's works, resulting in the capture of the post. The battalion lost one man killed and Captain C. S. Smith and 22 men wounded.
* An abridgment of Lieutenant Goe's History of the 13th Infantry.
The battalion reëmbarked January 14 on the steamer Forest Queen and on the 23d arrived at Young's Point, La., three miles below Vicksburg, where it remained, taking part in digging the canal, until March 17, when it accompanied the expedition up Deer Creek to the relief of Admiral Porter, who was near Rolling Fork with a part of his fleet. On the afternoon of the 22d it became engaged and drove the enemy from the vicinity of the gunboats at Black Bayou.
The battalion returned to Young's Point, March 27, where it remained in camp until April 29, when it accompanied the 2d Division of Sherman's Corps on a reconnaissance in force to the right of the enemy's lines, ascending the Yazoo River to the vicinity of Haynes' Bluff, Miss., and returned to camp near Vicksburg, May 1. Embarked the next day for Milliken's Bend, La., and thence, on the 6th, to join the army under General Grant then in Mississippi, accompanying the brigade to Champion Hills and arriving there on the 16th to take part that afternoon in the battle of "Champion Hills" or "Baker's Creek." It then proceeded to Vicksburg, and on the 19th of May participated in the successful assault upon the enemy's fortifications, Walnut Hills, Miss. In this action Captain C. Washington was killed, and of the enlisted men 21 were killed and 46 wounded.
Company E of the 1st Battalion was sent by special train to Dayton, Ohio, for the purpose of arresting C. L. Vallandigham and returned to Cincinnati, May 5, in charge of said prisoner and remained there doing guard duty until May 26, when Captain Alexander Murray, with a guard of 11 men, escorted and delivered him to General Rosecrans. On the 16th of June the company rejoined the fist Battalion, which was still in camp at Walnut Hills.
On July 4 the battalion left camp to join the expedition under General Sherman, then at Black River. Arriving there on the 6th it crossed the river and proceeded to Jackson, Miss., in front of the enemy's works, where one private was killed and four wounded. It remained at Jackson until the city was evacuated by the enemy,—July 16,—and returned to Camp Sherman, Miss., arriving on the 25th.
The following extract from the proceedings of a Board of Officers convened by G. O. No. 64, Hd. Qrs. 15th A. C., Camp Sherman, Miss., August 5, 1863, shows without further comment the distinguished services rendered by the 13th Infantry in the operations before Vicksburg:
- "The Board being organized established the following rules of guidance:
- "1. Troops that have participated in a battle or siege with credit, are entitled to its name on their colors.
- "2. Art. 1st. The regiment that in force planted its colors on the parapet, and suffered the greatest relative loss, shall have inscribed on its banner, First at Vicksburg.'
- "Art. 2d. Those engaged with credit, suffering loss, shall have the inscription, 'Vicksburg, Siege and Assault 19th and 22d.' 'Vicksburg, Siege and Assault 19th (or 22d).'
- "Art. 3d. Troops in reserve and in the line of circumvallation shall have the inscription, 'Siege of Vicksburg.'
- "The Board, after a careful examination of the papers and the evidence submitted
- in support of claims, decided unanimously the following commands entitled to the inscriptions appended to their respective titles: * * *
- "1st Battalion, 13th Infantry, Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Champion Hills, First at Vicksburg, Jackson.
* * * * * * * *
"The Board find the 13th U. S. Infantry entitled to 'First Honor at Vicksburg,' having in a body planted and maintained its colors on the parapet with a loss of 43.3 per cent., including its gallant commander,—Washington,—who died on the parapet. Its conduct and loss the Board, after a careful examination, believes unequalled in the army, and respectfully ask the General Commanding the Department to allow it the inscription awarded."
The battalion left Camp Sherman September 27, 1863, for Memphis, Tenn., where it arrived October 3. When the train bewaring the battalion arrived at Collierville, Tenn. (being en route from Memphis to Chattanooga), the battalion commander, Captain C. G. Smith, was informed that an attack was about to be made on the forces stationed there (66th Indiana Volunteers). He immediately ordered the battalion off the cars and formed in line of battle on the road, with two companies deployed on the right and left as skirmishers. When scarcely in position the battalion was attacked by a force of 3150 men commanded by the rebel General Chalmers. A battery of five pieces of artillery opened upon them with grape and solid shot, and the battalion, having no support against artillery at such long range, withdrew to the railroad cut, except the skirmishers, who fell back gradually, having maintained their position for about an hour and a half. The enemy opened a flank fire on the left, and the battalion had therefore to retreat to the rifle pits where the 66th Indiana had been driven, the enemy pursued with overpowering numbers.
Seeing the enemy taking possession of the train and setting fire to it, Lieutenant Griffin with about forty men was ordered if possible to drive the enemy off, put out the fire, and push the train up under cover of the fort. This duty was accomplished in the most brave and gallant manner, whereby the battalion sustained the reputation it had already gained in former engagements. The casualties attending this fight were 15 men killed and 27 wounded.
This battle was fought under the eye of General Sherman who complimented the battalion for its bravery.
After this engagement the battalion proceeded to Corinth, Miss., thence to Chattanooga, November 21.
On July 4, 1863, Colonel Sherman was promoted brigadier general, U. S. Army, and Lieutenant Colonel J. P. Sanderson 15th Infantry, was promoted colonel of the regiment.
The following extracts from General Sherman's memoirs, in which is given his touching letter on the death of his boy Willie, are of special interest to members of the Thirteenth.
"There was a short railroad in operation from Vicksburg to the bridge across the Big Black, whence supplies in abundance were hauled to our respective camps. With a knowledge of this fact Mrs. Sherman came down from Ohio with Minnie, Lizzie, Willie, and Tom, to pay us a visit in our camp at Parson Fox's. Willie was then nine
years old and well advanced for his years, and took the most intense interest in the affairs of the army. He was a great favorite with the soldiers, and used to ride with me on horseback in the numerous drills and reviews of the time. He then had the promise of as long life as any of my children, and displayed more interest in the war than any of them. He was called a " sergeant" in the regular battalion, learned the manual of arms, and regularly attended the parade and guard-mounting of the Thirteenth, back of my camp.
* * * * * *
"I took passage for myself and family in the steamer Atlantic, Captain Henry McDougall. When the boat was ready to start Willie was missing. Mrs. Sherman supposed him to have been with me, whereas I supposed he was with her. An officer of the Thirteenth went up to General McPherson's house for him, and soon returned, with Captain Clift leading him, carrying in his hands a small double-barrelled shotgun; and I joked him about carrying away captured property. In a short time we got off. As we all stood on the guards to look at our old camps at Young's Point, I remarked that Willie was not well, and he admitted that he was sick. His mother put him to bed, and consulted Dr. Roler, of the Fifty-fifth Illinois, who found symptoms of typhoid fever. The river was low; we made slow progress till above Helena; and, as we approached Memphis, Dr. Roler told me that Willie's life was in danger, and he was extremely anxious to reach Memphis for certain medicines and for consultation. We arrived at Memphis on the 2d of October, carried Willie up to the Gayoso Hotel, and got the most experienced physician there, who acted with Dr. Roler, but he sank rapidly, and died the evening of the 3d of October. The blow was a terrible one to us all; so sudden and so unexpected, that I could not help reproaching myself for having consented to his visit in that sickly region in the summer time. Of all my children, he seemed the most precious. Born in San Francisco, I had watched with intense interest his development, and he seemed more than any of the children to take an interest in my special profession."
"GAYOSO HOUSE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE,
"October 4, 1863—Midnight.
"Captain C. C. Smith, commanding Battalion Thirteenth United States Regulars.
"My Dear Friend: I cannot sleep to-night until I record an expression of the deep feelings of my heart to you, and to all the officers and soldiers of the battalion for their kind behavior to my poor child. I realize that you all feel for my family the attachment of kindred, and I assure you of full reciprocity.
"Consistent with a sense of duty to my profession and office, I could not leave my post, and sent for the family to come to me in that fatal climate, and in that sickly period of the year, and behold the result; the child that bore my name, and in whose future I reposed with more confidence than I did in my own plan of life, now floats a mere corpse, seeking a grave in a distant land, with a weeping mother, brother, and sisters, clustered about him. For myself I ask no sympathy. On, on I must go to meet a soldier's fate, or live to see our country rise superior to all factions, till its flag is adored and respected by ourselves and by all the powers of the earth.
"But Willie was, or thought he was, a sergeant in the Thirteenth. I have seen his eye brighten, his heart beat, as he beheld the battalion under arms, and asked me if they were not real soldiers. Child as he was, he had the enthusiasm, the pure love of truth, honor and love of country, which should animate all soldiers.
"God only knows why he should die thus young. He is dead, but will not be forgotten till those who knew him in life have followed him to that same mysterious end.
"Please convey to the battalion my heartfelt thanks, and assure each and all that if in after years they call on me or mine, and mention that they were of the Thir-
teenth Regulars when Willie was a sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of my family that will open all it has; that we will share with them our last blanket, our last crust!
(Signed) "W. T. SHERMAN,
Over Willie's grave in Calvary Cemetery, near St. Louis, is erected a beautiful marble monument, designed and executed by the officers and soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry, which claimed him as a sergeant and comrade.
The battalion was in reserve at the battle of Mission Ridge, November 24, and on the 26th marched to Graysville, Gal, in pursuit of Bragg. Continuing the march on the 27th the battalion reached Maysville, December 6. The return march began December 7, reaching Chattanooga, December 17[,] Bellefonte, Ala., December 31, and Huntsville, Ala., January 5, 1864. On April 4 the battalion was transferred to Nashville, Tenn., where it was detailed as special guard to General Sherman's headquarters, which duty it continued to perform until the close of the year, being encamped at Edgefield, about two miles from Nashville, Tenn. It remained at this point until July 13, 1865. On October 14, 1864, Colonel Sanderson died at St. Louis, while on detached service as provost marshal of Missouri, and was succeeded by Colonel I. V. D. Reeve.
The headquarters of the regiment moved from Newport Barracks, May 10, 1865, to Camp Dennison, Ohio, where Companies A and B. ad Battalion, were organized during that month, and Companies C, D, E, F. G and H. in July. On July 1s the 1st Battalion left Nashville for St. Louis, arriving on the both; thence August 24, to Fort Leavenworth, where it arrived August 31. Companies A, B. D, E and G went on to Fort Riley, September 5, arriving on the 18th.
During November, 1865, the headquarters of the regiment were moved to Fort Leavenworth. The 2d Battalion left Camp Dennison in August for Jefferson Barracks, where it arrived September 5, but left for Fort Larned, Kansas, via Fort Leavenworth, in November, reaching that post in December. While en route, Company D was detached for duty at Fort Ellsworth, and Companies B and E ordered to take post at Fort Zarah, Kansas. Companies A, B and C, 3d Battalion, were organized at Jefferson Barracks during January, 1866, and Companies F. G and H. in March.
The companies of the 1st Battalion at Fort Riley left that post April 11 for Fort Leavenworth, where they were joined by the remaining companies and proceeded up the Missouri River to establish a military post north of the Black Hills, D. T.; but on arriving at Fort Sully on the 27th, they reembarked under orders to establish a new post at or near Fort Benton, M. T., arriving at and establishing Camp Cooke, M. T., May 19.
The 2d and 3d Battalions concentrated at Fort Leavenworth, and during May proceeded to the District of the Upper Missouri. The headquarters of the regiment left Fort Leavenworth, May I, and arrived at Fort Rice, D. T., May 16. The ad Battalion was distributed as follows: Headquarters and Companies A and B at Fort Randall; C, E and H. at Fort Sully; G at
Fort Thompson; F at Fort James, and D at Fort Dakota, all these stations being in Dakota. The headquarters of the ad Battalion were established at Fort Rice with Companies B. E, F. G and H. A was at Fort Sully, C at Buford, and D at Berthold.
Company F, 1st Battalion, was detached from Camp Cooke during September for the purpose of establishing a mail route between Helena, Montana, and that post.
Pursuant to General Order 92, A. G. O., received December 28, the 2d and 3d Battalions, 13th Infantry, were transferred respectively to the 22d and 31st Regiments of Infantry. Companies I and K of the regiment were organized at Governor's Island, N. Y. H., during October, 1866.
The regimental return for January, 1867, shows the following roster of commissioned officers: Colonel I. V. D. Reeve; Lieutenant Colonel G. L. Andrews, and Major William Clinton.
Captains R. S. LaMotte, N. W. Osborne, Robert Nugent, A. B. Carey, Wm. C. Ide, E. W. Clift, F. E. DeCourcy, R. A. Torrey, and Robert Chandler.
First Lieutenants Patrick Meagher, J. L. Horr, T. J. Lloyd, Wm. H. Keeling, J. D. Graham, J. M. Green, J. T. McGinnis, A. N. Canfield, and J. S. Stafford.
Second Lieutenants M. O. Codding, O. A. Thompson, E. H. Townsend, H. C. Pratt, Wm. Auman, W. I. Sanborn, J. B. Guthrie, and Thomas Newman.
Regimental Headquarters were at Fort Rice till June, 1867, then at Camp Cooke till August 11, then at Fort Shaw until sent to Camp Douglas, Utah Ter., June 11, 1870.
At Camp Cooke. May 17, 1868, hostile Indians (Sioux and Crows), numbering about 2500, surrounded and attacked the post at about one o'clock P. M., the attack being continued without intermission until 7 o'clock, when the Indians were driven off, carrying with them their dead and wounded. The garrison at this time consisted of Companies B and H, 13th Infantry, under the command of Major Clinton. The troops during the engagement were commanded by Captain DeCourcy. Fearing that the garrison might fall into the hands of the Indians, the wives of the officers requested that they be placed in the magazine and that the magazine be fired in the event of the capture of the post, in order that they might be saved from falling into the hands of the savages.
Captain Wm. Auman (then a 1st lieutenant), in addition to being in command of B Company was the post quartermaster, and when the Indians appeared his first thought was to secure the government animals which were grazing a quarter of a mile from the post. Armed with a rifle he proceeded to the corral, mounted a horse, and accompanied by one of the teamsters rode out and secured the animals while the hostile Indians were within two hundred yards of the herd. After the animals had been put in the corral he went where one of the field pieces had opened fire, and finding that the piece was loaded with shell the fuse of which was uncut, he cut one fuse with his pocket knife and started for the magazine for a fuse knife. At this juncture he received a bullet wound in the left foot, the ball passing through the instep and causing a most painful and serious wound.
On May 19, 1868, a command made up of detachments from Companies B, E and H. under Captain Nugent, was engaged with Indians at the mouth of the Muscleshell River, Dakota; and on the 24th a portion of this command under Lieutenant Canfield met and had a skirmish with the hostiles near the mouth of the Muscleshell.
At Fort Buford during the years 1869 and 1870, the garrison consisted of Companies C, E and H, 13th Infantry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel H. A. Morrow, and during the period referred to, attacks by and skirmishes with hostile Sioux Indians were of daily occurrence, so much so, in fact, that General Sheridan in 1869 reported that Fort Buford was in a state of siege. About July 24, 1869, four citizens were killed by Indians near the post, and in June, 1870, two more citizens were killed and six wounded. As the Indians always carried off their killed and wounded, it was impossible to ascertain the extent of the injury inflicted upon them, but they must have lost several, both in killed and wounded, during their almost daily attacks. Sitting Bull was the greatest enemy during this time and attempted several attacks, but was always frustrated by information received from his camp through one of the Indian scouts named Bloody Knife (Ta-Me-Na-Way-Way), who was afterwards killed in the Custer massacre.
In the reduction and consolidation of 1869 all the field officers of the regiment were changed. Colonel Reeve was replaced by Colonel P. R. DeTrobriand, recently of the 31st; Lieutenant Colonel Andrews by Lieutenant Colonel H. A. Morrow, recently of the 36th; and Major Clinton by Major R. S. LaMotte, recently of the 12th.
On the 12th of March, 1869, Captain Clift left Fort Ellis in command of a party consisting of Lieutenant W. L. Wann, 34 enlisted men of the Thirteenth, and 10 volunteer citizens in pursuit of hostile Indians. On the lath the bodies of two men were found, stripped and mutilated in the most horrible manner. A small party was sent up the river in search of the cattle which the unfortunate men had been herding, and the following is an extract from Captain Clift's report of the subsequent operations of his command:
"Before the detachment sent up the river had returned, I discovered a party of Indians coming from the south side of Sheep Mountain, and others between Sheep and Crazy mountains. I then took a position on rising ground to the west of the river to await the return of the detachment sent above, and also to ascertain something of the strength of the Indians. I could see them in large numbers on all sides of Sheep Mountain. Those in advance came down to the river (the water was very shallow) and endeavored by every means to induce me to cross. Seeing that they were in force and far better mounted than ourselves I declined their invitation. Out of the as horses in my command, only four or five could be of the slightest use in following them.
"The Indians lost no time in crossing and the fight commenced at once. The ground was broken into ravines, ledges and small knolls on all sides which afforded them cover, consequently I changed my position several times and thus obliged them to expose themselves in moving from point to point. The fight was kept up in this manner for four hours, when the Indians withdrew. Most of my horses were now so broken down that I was unable to follow.
"In the engagement the Indians had four men and two horses killed. Our loss was only one horse. The Indians were mounted on fine American horses and in their
dress and actions resembled the Sioux or Nez Perces more than other tribes in this section of the country. I know of no others who are so brave and well mounted."
Captain Clift went out again in less than a month, and, under date of April 10, 1869, reports as follows:—
"I have the honor to report that, pursuant to your instructions of the 5th inst., I left the post that evening with a detachment consisting of one lieutenant, one surgeon, one sergeant, two corporals and 40 men, * * * and proceeded to the residence of Judge Sheels where I was joined by several citizens from the valley. I learned that on the night of the 4th inst. seven head of cattle and one horse had been driven off. We found their trail and followed it to the foot of the mountains about two miles north of the Flathead Pass. * * * From this point I took the trail of the Indians and followed it over an almost impassable country until about noon on the 7th inst. Those in advance came in sight of the Indians near a mountain on the north fork of Sixteen-mile Creek and near the headwaters of the Muscleshell River. The party consisted of 13 Indians, two of whom made their escape with the horse they had taken. * * * The eleven remaining took to a mountain about 1500 feet between them and the creek. The mountain was a narrow ridge and could only be ascended at two ends. On the north side the comb of rock was at least 100 feet in height perpendicularly; on the south side it was not so abrupt.
"I immediately divided the party, leaving a few below on the north side, and they ascended both from the east and west ends. The Indians could be plainly seen on the peak of rocks, defying us in the most insulting manner. The position chosen by the Indians afforded them complete shelter and at the same time commanded the mountain on all sides. There were three holes on the summit around which they built up walls, leaving port-holes through which they kept up an incessant fire. We got to within 150 yards on each end and worked for two hours to dislodge them but with no effect. Finding that there was no resource left except by assault, I directed Lieutenant Thompson to lead the men on the east, while I would direct on the west end. As soon as Lieutenant Thompson could get around to his position the assault was made from both sides, and in a few minutes we had the satisfaction of putting an end to the affair. * * * We killed nine Indians on the spot. They were all armed with rifles and revolvers, and had an abundant supply of ammunition.
"The casualties on our side were one private killed and two badly wounded. Two citizens were wounded.
"When all did so well it is difficult to particularize. Lieutenant Thompson conducted his part of the action in a manner highly satisfactory. Surgeon C. Ewen attended to the wounded in the best possible manner. Sergeant J. P. Sullivan, Company G; Corporal B. Sheridan, Company D; Private C. Thompson, Company F; Citizen T. King and two others, names unknown, were conspicuous for daring and bravery. Private Conry, who died so nobly at the same instant with his antagonist, should be remembered. I suggest therefore that the mountain upon which the engagement took place be named after him."
The modesty of this report is characteristic of that gallant and capable officer. As a matter of fact he was personally engaged in hand-to-hand conflict with the Indians, and when his revolver ammunition was exhausted, he began using rocks for offensive purposes. Captain Clift continued to serve in the 13th Infantry till October, 1884, when he was retired on account of disability, dying of paralysis two years later at his home in Detroit.
On the morning of the 19th of January, 1870, Captain R. A. Torrey, with all the available men of his company (A) and ten men each from Com-
panies F, I and K, left Fort Shaw en route to the Marias River, as guard to the wagon train of a battalion of the 2d Cavalry under the command of Major E. M. Baker, 2d Cavalry. In addition to Company A as strengthened, Captain G. H. Higbee with a mounted detachment of the 13th Infantry also accompanied this expedition against the Piegan Indians. When the command arrived in the vicinity of the hostiles, Lieutenant Waterbury, 13th Infantry, who was with Captain Higbee's mounted force, was ordered to proceed with a detachment and capture a herd of ponies near the Indian camp. He promptly executed this order, securing all the animals, and rejoined the column to take part in the encounter with the Indians. In this engagement the percentage of loss sustained by the Piegans was heavy. The troops returned to Fort Shaw January 28. Captain Torrey's command remained as guard to the wagon train during the fight.
October 24, 1871, the headquarters of the regiment were changed from Camp Douglas to Fort Fred Steele, Wyo., returning to Camp Douglas November 25, 1873.
August 17, 1872, Companies C, F and I, comprising part of an expedition against hostile Indians in southern Utah, proceeded from Camp Douglas to the scene of hostilities. The battalion returned to the post September 7. No casualties.
The 13th Infantry was relieved from duty in the Department of the Platte, October 10, 1874, and ordered to New Orleans, taking station at Jackson Barracks, the entire regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel H. A. Morrow, arriving during the month of October.
Headquarters and Companies D, E, H, I and K, while en route to New Orleans, met with a railroad accident on the Mobile and Ohio R. R., between Dyer and Trenton, Tenn., the train going off the track. Four freight cars were smashed and four passenger cars disabled. One corporal and one private of Company K were killed; two privates of Company I and two of Company K injured. The records of Company I and a large amount of officers' baggage were destroyed.
The regiment moved into the city of New Orleans, November 1, 1874, where it was employed preserving the peace during the McEnery-Kellogg election riots of that year.
The regiment continued to serve in the Department of the South for six years, portions of it being stationed at different times at New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Vicksburg, Holly Springs, Little Rock, Atlanta, Mt. Vernon Barracks, Chattanooga, Lake Charles, Mississippi City, and other points in the Department of the South.
During the railroad strikes and labor riots of the summer of 1877 all the companies of the regiment, except D and G in Calcasieu Parish, La., were on duty at Pittsburg, Scranton, Wilkesbarre, and other points in Pennsylvania.
During the summer and fall of 1878 the South was scourged by the most terrible epidemic of yellow fever that has occurred for years. Thousands had perished from the disease. The suffering and destitution of the inhabitants of the lower Mississippi valley, especially between Memphis and Vicksburg, was so great that the National Relief Commissioners determined to send relief. By the cooperation of various cities of the North a fund of
$20,000 was raised and large quantities of merchandise were secured. The funds thus raised were expended in the purchase of an assorted cargo of provisions, clothing, bedding, medicines and ice, and the steamer John M. Chambers was chartered to leave St. Louis early in October to carry these supplies for distribution to the yellow fever sufferers along the Mississippi River. But who was to assume charge of the expedition and undertake the great responsibility and personal danger attending the execution of this mission? Who were to officer this boat and, taking their lives in their hands, deliberately face almost certain death in order to give aid to the destitute? For it meant death to the unacclimated.
The Secretary of War telegraphed General Augur, commanding Department of the South, to know if any officers of his command would volunteer for this perilous duty. Quickly came the response that Lieutenant H. H. Benner, 18th Infantry, and Lieutenant C. S. Hall, 13th Infantry, had volunteered to go with the relief boat. Lieutenant Hall had left his camp and started to go to his home on a three months leave of absence, but he relinquished that and offered his services. The history of the army does not contain the record of any more heroic and truly unselfish act than that of of these two officers. It cost Lieutenant Benner his life.
Regimental General Order No. 8, of date February 1, 1879, shows the estimation in which Lieutenant Hall's gallant conduct was held by his commanding officer, and it may truly be said that this order also voiced the sentiments of the whole nation:
Second Lieutenant Charles S. Hall, 13th Infantry, having reported for duty with his company on his return from detached service, it affords great pleasure to the Colonel Commanding to welcome him back and to congratulate him upon his noble conduct and important services last summer, during the disastrous epidemic which carried death and desolation along the Mississippi River. After tendering voluntarily his coöperation to the dangerous undertaking of carrying supplies of all sorts on a steamboat chartered especially for that purpose, and of distributing them at the points where the yellow fever was most fatal and causing the greatest destitution and suffering, Lieutenant Hall, by the death of Lieutenant Hiram H. Benner, 18th Infantry, found himself in command of the expedition with all its dangers and responsibilities. He faced both with a brave heart and an intelligent determination, and fulfilled his perilous position in a manner worthy of praise and admiration.
Such a noble achievement does great honor to this young officer and reflects credit upon the regiment to which he belongs. It deserves special acknowledgment, which the Colonel Commanding is happy to tender to Second Lieutenant Charles S. Hall, with his thanks and those of all the officers of the 13th United States Infantry.
March 25, 1879, Colonel DeTrobriand was retired. This promoted Lieutenant Colonel J. R. Brooke, who transferred with Colonel Luther P. Bradley, the latter becoming the colonel of the Thirteenth.
In June, 1880, the regiment was ordered to New Mexico, Headquarters and Companies F. G. H. I and K, taking station at Fort Wingate. The remaining five companies, under Lieutenant Colonel R. E. A. Crofton, marched from Santa Fé to southern Colorado for the purpose of building a new post on the Mancos River. The location for this was changed by the Department commander, and the new post of Fort Lewis, Col., was built on the La Plata River during the ensuing eighteen months.
During the years 1880 and 1881, Captain B. H. Rogers' company of mounted infantry (Company C of the 13th, stationed at Fort Lewis), did a large amount of scouting in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. At this time the renegade Pah-Utes were committing all sorts of depredations in that section. Captain Rogers rendered most efficient service in his operations against these Indians, succeeded in putting an end to their incursions, and reëstablished the settlers on their lands.
In 1882, Captain J. B. Guthrie, commanding Company A, took part in a scout after Apaches from Fort Cummings. On April 22 the company took part in an engagement with the Indians in which several men of the 4th Cavalry were killed and wounded.
The Thirteenth spent eight years of varied and arduous duty in New Mexico, participating in numerous operations against Indians, especially in the campaign against Geronimo.
Since June, 1888, the regiment has served in the Indian Territory. Headquarters were at Fort Supply until January 4, 1893, since which time they have been at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Companies I and K were skeletonized in August, 1890.
Colonel Luther P. Bradley was retired December 8, 1886, and was succeeded by Colonel Robert S. LaMotte, promoted from the Twelfth.
Colonel LaMotte died at Fort Supply, December 16, 1888, and was succeeded by Colonel Montgomery Bryant, promoted from the Eighth, whose service as captain and major had all been with the Thirteenth. Colonel Bryant was retired at his own request, March 1, 1894, and was succeeded by Colonel Alfred T. Smith, promoted from the Eighth.
In a paper of this kind relating as it does exclusively to the historical record of the regiment as a distinct organization, and written partly with the object of affording information to the younger officers of the regiment, it is greatly to be regretted that the splendid services of those officers now in the regiment who served in the volunteers during the war cannot be fully set forth here. This state of affairs is due of course to the fact that the old officers of the 13th, as it was during the Rebellion, having passed from the scene of action, their places are filled by those whose war records were made with other organizations.
The following is an extract of a letter from Lieutenant General Sherman, published in General Order No. 6, dated Headquarters lath Infantry, May 27, 1875:
"I have always felt the warmest friendship and the keenest pride in the records and high military standard of the lath Infantry, and I know that wherever it may be called upon to pitch its tents, the officers and men will be governed by such a high sense of professional duty as will make it a distinguished honor to the General of the Army to have been its colonel, and to the Lieutenant General to have been one of its captains."
NOTE.—The writer is under obligations to Major F. E. DeCourcy, U. S. A., Captains William M. Waterbury, William Auman, Benjamin H. Rogers, and Jesse C. Chance, 13th Infantry, for much useful information relating to the history of the regiment; and to Private Frank Cooper, Company E, 13th Infantry, for valuable assistance in obtaining necessary data from the regimental records.