The Third Regiment of Cavalry was organized by an act of Congress approved May 19, 1846, as the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen; and its present designation is in consequence of the act approved August 3, 1861, classifying all the mounted regiments as cavalry, and the subsequent numbering of them in the chronological order of their original organization.
The act provided for one colonel, one lieutenant colonel, one major, and one lieutenant for adjutant; a sergeant-major, quartermaster-sergeant, chief musician, two chief buglers; ten companies, each to consist of one captain, one first and one second lieutenant, four sergeants, four corporals, two buglers, one blacksmith, one farrier, and 64 privates.
The pay was that for dragoons, but, through error or design, was the same mounted or dismounted, by interpretation. The bill appropriated $75,000 for mounting and equipping, and $3000 for each station established along the Oregon route. But, best of all for the regiment's future esprit and the good of the service, it was accorded lineal promotion from bottom to top, and distinctive uniform, arms, equipments and ornaments; and the officers recruited the material they were to fashion and command, and could enlist only "young men of the country" especially fitted for the service anticipated.
The senior officers were political appointments, made with some attention to equitable geographical distribution over the south and west. They were announced at once, to rank from May 27, 1846.
Persifor F. Smith of Louisiana, a lawyer by profession, a gentleman of culture and ability, and destined to prove a skillful and successful general, was appointed colonel.
John C. Fremont, lieutenant of topographical engineers, essaying the conquest of California, was appointed lieutenant colonel, resigning March 15, 1848, before he joined. The story of his life is current history.
George S. Burbridge of Kentucky, a country merchant and politician without martial taste or ambition, and in poor health, was made major. He saw no active service, resigning January 8, 1848, while on prolonged sick leave.
The captains were Wm. W. Loring, Winslow F. Sanderson, Samuel H. Walker, Henry C. Pope, George B. Crittenden, Stevens T. Mason, John S. Simonson, Jacob B. Backenstos, Bela M. Hughes and Stephen S. Tucker. Hughes declined and the appointment was tendered Charles F. Ruff of Missouri, a late lieutenant of the First Dragoons, then serving in New Mexico as a lieutenant colonel of Doniphan's regiment, who accepted,
* An Abridgment of Captain Morton's "Historical Sketch of the Third Cavalry."
taking rank from July 7th. Walker was a Virginian and Texas ranger who had distinguished himself by carrying the message to the beleaguered troops in Fort Brown to hold out, passing through the Mexican lines and returning.
The first lieutenants were Benjamin S. Roberts, Thomas Ewell, Andrew Porter, Michael E. Van Buren, Llewellyn Jones, Noah Newton, Thomas Duncan, Wm. W. Taylor, Andrew J. Lindsay, John G. Walker and Spear S. Tipton. Jones was the first adjutant. Tipton was captain of an Indiana volunteer company and son of Senator Tipton, who was an ensign and commanded a company at Tippecanoe after all the other officers had fallen, and later married the daughter of the dead captain, Spear Spencer.
The second lieutenants were Thomas Claiborne, Thomas G. Rhett, Charles L. Denman, Washington L. Elliott, Thomas Davis, George McLane, Robert M. Morris, Llewellyn Raguet, Francis S. K. Russell, and Julian May.
The following brevet second lieutenants were assigned on the 17th of July; Daniel M. Frost, George W. Hawkins, John P. Hatch, Gordon Granger, Dabney H. Maury, Innis N. Palmer, James Stuart, Alfred Gibbs, and George H. Gordon.
Consistent with army administration by politicians, men of experience or educated for the profession were placed in the lower grades. An old army surgeon said that under the Sumner regime companies would go to drill with full complements of officers, and return under command of brevet second lieutenants, all the seniors having been relieved in the order of rank by the stern old major for inefficiency, and for this reason it was chaffed for a time as the "Kangaroo Regiment." Another who served with it later said, "The officers were all gentlemen, brave and generous to a fault, strict disciplinarians, and looked well after the wants of their men, but the most cantankerous lot I ever met."
Companies C and F were recruited in the mountain regions of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, with depot at Fort McHenry; the others in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, with the depot at Jefferson Barracks commanded by Colonel Bonneville, where the regiment was organized in October, excepting Company I, which, owing to the absence of Captain, Ruff, was not formed until the first of the following April, at New Orleans.
There is much evidence extant as to the superior material of which the regiment was made. It was armed with the hunting rifle, persistently called the "yawger." The barrel was too large for the shank of the bayonet furnished, and the latter was used for a time with a wooden plug that fitted into the bore, another source of chaff for army wags. Company blacksmiths eventually overcame this difficulty by swelling the shanks.
Notwithstanding that the law had presumably fixed the nature of the service of the regiment, and recruiting officers had been sincere in their representations, the administration found no impediment in the way of ordering it to Mexico early in November, a mandate greeted with cheers immediately after the dress-parade at which it was read. Indeed, Companies C and F reached Point Isabel, Texas, October 5, thence went to Monterey and later to Tampico, joining at Lobos Island. Soon after horses and equipments
were received, the regiment left, November and December, in detachments of one or two companies on steamers for New Orleans, all experiencing delay there in getting transportation for Point Isabel. The horses were placed on schooners with lumber sheds erected for shelter. It was a particularly stormy season and most of them were lost in the gales encountered in crossing the Gulf, while the remainder were transferred to the Second Dragoons, sadly in need of them,—another source of chaff, "dismounted riflemen." Disappointing as was this loss of horses, it proved a blessing by saving the regiment from being left behind to escort trains for Taylor's army and chase guerrillas in the chaparral, and permitting it instead to participate in the campaign where it won such renown.
Major Burbridge left the regiment at New Orleans, and Major Sumner was assigned December 12th, to command. Some companies arrived at Point Isabel and went to Camp Page the last of December, the others in January. In the meantime General Scott, arriving, took D and probably another company to Camargo as escort. The regiment embarked, February 20, 1846, for Lobos Island, arriving two days later. Here it met Companies C and F, and was first joined by Colonel Smith.
March 3d it sailed, and on the 9th landed at Sacrificios Island and led in the investment of Vera Cruz, Private Timothy Cunningham of Company A, who was killed on the 11th by a cannon ball, being the first of the regiment to lose his life in action; Waller and Niell of B being wounded the same day.
Company C only was mounted until I joined at Jalapa, though men from others were attached much of the time. Colonel Smith commanded the First Brigade, Twiggs' Division, and Major Sumner the regiment. There was continuous annoyance from the rear during the siege and almost daily skirmishes; on the 23d a brilliant affair at Puente del Medio, C, D and E. Among the wounded of D was Sergeant Wm. B. Lane, who rose to be major of the regiment and brevet colonel, of whom much might be said, and of his good wife who has told so charmingly in her little book, A Soldier's Wife," of female life in the regiment. Here too "Benny" Roberts, commanding C, attracted attention to the superior material in him that was to make an enviable record as a mounted officer.
The regiment started, April 8th, from its camp at Vegara on that memorable expedition of conquest of which history recounts none more daring in conception, nor brilliant and thorough in successful execution.
Detachments were with Captain Johnson in the affair of the 12th, and on the 15th Roberts commanded the squadron reconnaissance that found the possible route to turn the "Gibraltar" of Mexico—Cerro Gordo—which proved its downfall, but only after the fierce battles of the 17th and 18th, which cost the regiment in its terrific assaults the lives of Mason, Ewell, Davis and ten men; and the wounding of Sumner, McLane, Maury, Gibbs, Gordon and 66 men, many of whom died. Company A had an officer (Ewell) and two men killed, and 19 men wounded.
General Scott expressed his admiration of the "style of execution" of the assaults, and said Ewell fell sword in hand within the works. In fact the General knelt by his side, took his hand, and soothed his expiring moments
with kind words of praise. Mason's leg was swept away by a cannon ball. Maury won a brevet, as did several others, and a handsome sword.
After "embarrassing" their general with prisoners and trophies of victory, they pursued the enemy to Encerro, and on the 19th to the Mexican Saratoga,—Jalapa. The Castle of Perote, "second only to San Juan d'Ulloa," fell at noon, the 22d, and on sped Worth to Puebla. The supply departments, unequal to the valor of our troops, cause vexatious delays and failure to follow up further these splendid victories over a demoralized enemy, and give time for disease to make fearful inroads in the ranks, and the foe to reorganize and fortify a naturally strong defensive country, and to swarm the highways in desperate, barbarous, guerrilla warfare.
Ruff, with I, mounted, arrives May 20, and also Walker with hundreds of recruits. The latter is sent with C to Perote, and the former on the roads; and Roberts is placed in command of a battalion of "irregulars," all to wage war against the relentless, partisan "rancheros." It was hard riding nearly all the time, encounters almost daily. Space allows mention of but one or two.
Near La Hoya, June 20, thirty riflemen engage and defeat 500 Mexicans, eliciting high praise of Walker from Colonel Wyncoop, commanding, and in turn from Walker of Denman, Claiborne and men.
July 30, Ruff's squadron defeats a largely superior force at San Juan de los Llanos, killing 40 and wounding 50; winning praise from Smith and Scott, and brevets for Ruff and John G. Walker. The War Department has given this date wrongly.
The rifle being clumsy to handle mounted, necessitated firing one round and then riding the enemy down with the sabre,—A custom that soon infused the officers and men with the conviction that they were irresistible; an idea that is not yet quite extinct.
The regiment left Puebla with the advance, August 7th, and reached Ayotla the 11th, making a reconnaissance of the impregnable fortified stronghold, El Penon, on the 12th and 13th, eliciting again the praise of General Scott. The turning of Lake Chalco making the exposed rear "the post of honor," the riflemen were assigned to it, stood off the enemy in overwhelming numbers, and when San Antonio thwarted further progress were rushed to the front to open the way across the pedregal to Contreras, the 19th.
Here General Smith displayed generalship and won success worthy of the genius of Napoleon; and General Shields showed the good sense and moral courage of Logan at Nashville, that made him "the hero of three wars," and senator from as many states; winning a splendid victory over a ten times superior force partly fortified, when defeat would have been dire disaster to the whole army. Yea more, he made possible four sweeping victories in a single day,—August 20, 1847,—the greatest field day as yet for our army.
Roberts with A, and Porter with F, open the fray on the 19th, but all were soon engaged, and the horrible execution of their rifles appalls the newspaper men and demoralizes the enemy. Smith is everywhere and leads a part of the rifles to save Magruder's battery. D is thus split and Sergeant
Lane leads a segment, which is given to Van Buren at night, to head and fall wounded in the day-break assault. Alfred Gibbs gathers a few madcap volunteer riflemen, hastily mounts them on captured animals and sweeps with impetuosity upon the rear of the fleeing columns until paralyzed with captures; and the regiment rushes on to Churubusco.
Poor Ruff ! Once placed in arrest for bringing on an engagement and summoned before his indignant commander-in-chief, could only explain "'Twas fight or run, and I'd be 'blanked' if I'd run." He was, the 20th, at another "post of honor," San Augustine, with I and the no less gallant J. G. Walker, chafing over the din and roar of battles, and pining to be in the armed tornado of Harney's dragoons who were careering among the flying hordes, and under a terrific fire, rattling their sabres at the gates of the Mexican capital. But they too have their day. With Sumner at Molino del Rey, September 7th, they charge under a heavy fire, encounter an impassable ravine which they turn, and defeat a vastly superior force of "the finest cavalry in the world," we are told. I's ranks are sadly decimated, and Walker carried to his grave in 1893 the marks of the wound he caught.
Neither Walker's nor Van Buren's hurt could keep either from taking a gallant part in the fall of Chapultepec, the struggle along the aqueduct and assault of the garitas, the 13th; and triumphant entry into the city, the 14th. The newspapers tell us that when the marines faltered in the assault of Chapultepec through loss of officers, Morris of the Rifles reminded them that he was a son of his naval father, and led them on to victory.
Roberts was detailed to head and "Jimmy" Stuart to accompany the Chapultepec storming party from the First Brigade. General Twiggs gave the former a flag, now in the Department of State in Washington, saying he wanted it to be the first planted upon the rocky fortress. If not actually "planted," the request was doubly kept, for, turning from that bloody victory it was carried by Sergeant Manly of F through the stubborn fight along the aqueduct, and was one of the first, if not the first, on the ramparts of the city at the Belem garita, where Loring left an arm, and Backenstos, Tucker, Palmer, and even Walker again, of the officers were wounded.
And the next day comes the crowning glory of the war. Roberts is directed to, and Sergeant Manly actually does, raise the same flag over the National Palace, while Porter displays the Riflemen's flag from the balcony. General Scott riding by the regiment about this time, halts, takes off his hat and bowing low says: "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized
in fire and blood and have come out steel." Words are cheap, but appreciation sinks deep in the hearts of soldiers.
Manly dies of his wounds in a few days, as indeed do many others. Street-fighting and assassinations occur for a time, and the regiment is put on provost duty in the city. Loring and Van Buren have to go to the States with their wounds, but the fame of the regiment precedes them and the ladies of New Orleans present a $225 flag "To that gallant regiment which from its landing at Vera Cruz to its entry into the famed 'City of the Montezumas' has been foremost in every battle, sustaining by the valor and sacrifices of its officers and men the flag of our beloved country." The regiment still has the flag, and reveres its associations.
The Mexican army escaping from the city made stupendous efforts to destroy all communications, laid siege to Puebla, where several of the regiment fell, and Rhett won a brevet. Captain Walker at Perote had organized the convalescents into the "diarrhoea brigade," as it was called, and with "C" was kept on the jump. October 9th he had a fierce encounter at Huamantla with a much superior force, and fell gallantly with many of his men, eliciting loud praise from General Lane for his bravery and efficiency, and lamented by all who knew him. His death promoted Van Buren captain.
General Smith was governor of the city. Police duty, hard, riding after guerrillas, and occasional encounters, characterized the rest of the service in Mexico. Notable among the latter were the fights at Metamoras November 23d ; Galaxara, the 24th, 1847 ; and Santa Fé, January 4, 1848. The regiment left Vera Cruz on the ship Tyrone, July 7, 1848, reaching New Orleans the 17th and leaving the same day on the Aleck Scott, arriving at Jefferson Barracks the 24th, having had some men die and others drowned on the trip.
Approximately the regiment lost in Mexico four officers and 40 men killed; 13 officers and 180 men wounded, many of the latter dying and could be properly rated as killed; one officer, and 202 men died; 141 men were discharged for disability, largely from wounds; 17 desertions, many of which were undoubtedly assassinations; and three men dishonorably discharged, one of whom was drummed out. This showing should refute the averment that strict discipline causes desertions, and its study will show the superior loyalty of native material. From the men were promoted to be commissioned officers:—Addison, Bootes, Coleman, Davis, Demerest, Dryer, Hand, Irvine, Lane, Underwood, Wingate, and perhaps others. Colonel John Green was a rifleman in Mexico, but was promoted later. A. F. Suter was the surgeon until his death, December 17, 1847. It was not a chaplain regiment.
The appointment as lieutenant in the regiment of the celebrated "Kit" Carson, in 1847, was not confirmed by the Senate.
Loring was now the lieutenant-colonel, vice Fremont, and as General Smith was kept constantly away commanding divisions or departments until his promotion to brigadier general, December 30, 1856, he commanded the regiment till 1861, from which fact many think he was the first colonel.
The incidents of the long, weary march Of 2500 miles to Oregon, beginning May 10, 1849, through a country without roads and often without wood, water or grass, and compared to which the loud boasted modern ones sink into insignificance, would, more than fill the limits of this sketch. Cholera raged in the stream of emigrants allured by visions of gold to the new Eldorado in California, and fabulous stories were inflaming the minds and turning the heads of the soldiers. Unlimited wealth could be picked up for the trouble! The death rate was appalling. Excepting Fort Kearney and the fur trading station, Laramie, there was not a house between Leavenworth and the Columbia. On reaching the latter the horses were too much worn down to march, and the mules to haul loads over the Cascade Range. Men were
dismounted and the horses driven by details at easy stages. An enormous raft was constructed and the baggage put aboard to float down, while the command marched on foot. The detachment on the raft let it get into the terrific current of the rapids, it became unmanageable and was dashed to pieces against the boulders. All but one were drowned and the entire cargo was lost. It was a sad plight in this region, but not unmixed, for the officers' returns were nicely balanced to date, and calumny says that for years after things would turn up lost on that raft.
Quarters for the winter were found in Oregon City, about the only town in the region. Loring soon looks up a site and locates Columbia Barracks, now Fort Vancouver, leaves a natural tree for a fine flagstaff, and by actual experiment places the officers' quarters so far apart that a crying baby cannot be heard in the next.
There was hard work, much detached service, some hanging of Indians by Governor Lane, the comrade general in Mexico, and disagreeable service, but not much fighting.
In 1851 the regiment returned to the States, the horses and all the men but about seven non-commissioned officers to each company being transferred to the First Dragoons.
In April Lieutenants Walker and Stuart were sent overland to California with the horses and some of the men transferred. En route they had a fight on June 18 with Rogue River Indians, and in the charge "Little Jimmy" Stuart, the pride of the regiment and one who had won two brevets at Chapultepec, was killed. Traditions of his brave and noble character live in the regiment to this day.
The regiment left Vancouver May 8, and proceeding by water via Savanna, Havana and New Orleans reached Jefferson Barracks July 16, to recruit and organize for the third time at the same place within five years.
Recruits came streaming in and the companies were soon filled, and in December, 1851, and January, 1852, the regiment, except A and K, was transferred to Texas. Then commenced over four years of hard field service in this land of cactus, chaparral and magnificent distances. The Comanche and Lapin Indians that had kept this country terrorized for two centuries would not yield their sway. Approaching stealthily in great numbers, they would scatter in numerous small parties and simultaneously attack many widely separate unsuspecting localities, and from each leave a trail of blood. These outrages were generally committed as far as possible from the troops, but sometimes, with consummate daring, under their very noses. Captain Bourke tells of a later expedition, in which companies of the regiment took part, in over 20,000 words; Doctor McKee of another in a little less; how hopeless the task here. The companies simply made with their trails a spider-web of the map of that great empire state. The highways were so vexed with these savage pests that everything had to have an escort, and even companies had to march way down to Corpus Christi to meet their recruits and get their meagre supplies and clothing.
We left A and K at Leavenworth. They were kept constantly on the move in the country between Laramie and Leavenworth until January, 1854, when they also were transferred to Texas, reaching Fort Inge Feb-
ruary 27. Lieutenant (now General) Carr, one of this command, was wounded October 3, this same year, in an engagement with Mescalero Apaches, way out near Fort Davis. Captain Van Buren commanded and Levi H. Holden was medical officer on the last trip to Laramie. Some 40 men of A, with Lieutenants Morris and Baker, were not along, but were an escort to Captain Gunnison, Topographical Engineers, and went to southern Utah, where three men were killed, with the captain, October 26, near Lake Sevier.
These enormous marches in a season, on plains fare, though not so hard as scouting, are worthy of study by modern readers and writers of magazine articles on long marches; and by those who are ignorant of the work performed by our army, and think nothing that is not from a foreign service is of any value. No nation has enjoyed a better practical school for an army than our own.
Before the Carr affair, Van Buren went out with A from Inge, July 4, after a band that had run him in that day from fishing in the beautiful Leona. He followed them many days through the almost impenetrable jungle of chaparral along the Nueces, which he crossed and recrossed many times, when on the 11th he struck them, and in the charge had an arrow put through him from which he died on the 20th. Thus fell another hero of the Mexican War. Jerome N. Bonaparte and Crosby joined in 1852; Bowen, Chambliss, and Edson, 1853; Davant Wright and J. E. B. Stuart, 1854; McNally, Treacy, Dubois and Averell, 1855; William H. Jackson and Enos, 1856. All were from West Point except McNally and Treacy who came from the ranks.
In 1856 the Indian troubles in New Mexico, which then included Arizona, demanded. more troops, and the regiment was ordered there, being relieved by the Second (now Fifth) Cavalry. At Camp Crawford, near Fort Fillmore, orders were received assigning the companies to Forts Craig, Stanton, Thorn, Fillmore, Bliss and Marcy, and Las Lunas, and Cantonment Burgwin. Some of the companies marched fifteen hundred miles in this change.
The enormous territory over which the regiment was scattered, the predatory disposition of the Indians, and the entirely inadequate force of troops, kept the companies of the regiment on the keen jump until it left for the States to take part in the Civil War. The country from Denver to Las Nogales, and from Texas to Utah, was within the sphere of its operations, and it was required to restrain and subdue hostile Indians outnumbering it fifty to one. It would take a volume to give any definite notion of its field work, or even of the scouts and expeditions upon which the enemy was met and defeated with more or less loss in killed and wounded.
Captain Gibbs came near losing his life from a dangerous wound, March 9, 1857, in the Mimbres mountains. Two larger expeditions were made the same year against the Coyotero and Gila Apaches, each having several encounters with losses. Colonel Loring, with K and detachments from other companies, left Fort Union, April 8, 1858, and joined the Utah expedition, in which he commanded a battalion, marching past where Denver now is and old Fort Bridger, returning to Union, September 14th, direct
from Salt Lake. In the meantime A, C, F, H and L were participating in the Navajo war, of which Colonel Lane has told us something, and it is hoped that General Averell will tell us more in his forthcoming book. The latter was wounded October 9, and in this chronic warfare brave Captain McLane fell at the head of I in an engagement at Cold Spring, near the southern base of Black Rock, October 13, 1860. Just before the charge he handed his flask to a comrade whom he had challenged and said, "Let's take a drink; it may be our last together."
While the companies were scattered at these remote stations and camps, weeks behind the news of current affairs, and one-third of our people had plunged into secession believing it right, another third declaring coercion wrong, and but the other third taking the stand that saved the Union, the impotency of the administration seemingly acquiescing in the claimed right of secession; some of the officers imbibed the epidemic political heresy of "State's Rights," and at no little sacrifice, cast their lots with the seceded States, breaking close, tender and cherished ties of comradeship, and severing their connection with a service they revered and had honored. This is no apology for disloyalty to this Union, but a statement of circumstances that historical fairness demands. The rank and file remained loyal to a man. Those who quit at this juncture were Loring, Crittenden, Lindsay, Walker, Claiborne, Maury, Baker, W. H. Jackson, "Joe" Wheeler, McNeill, Kerr, Henry and Watts. The last three had never joined for duty, and were of the regiment only on paper.
The companies of the regiment operating against the Mescalero Apaches were particularly active in the winter and spring of 1861, the headquarters of the regiment being in the field most of the time. McNally with detachments of B and F had a stubborn fight at Mesilla, July 25, 1861, with the new enemy in rebellion, sustaining considerable loss, McNally being seriously wounded. The abandonment of Fort Fillmore at midnight of the 26th by Major Lynde, district and post commander, and his surrender at San Augustin Springs the next day, caught not only McNally but Gibbs, who had just met them escorting a train. So two officers and 88 men of B, F and I, were made paroled prisoners through treason, or the enervating mental effects of long blind obedience in intervals of peace, when officers are charged with responsibilities but entrusted with little discretionary authority. It was mutiny to disobey a traitor or an imbecile.
These paroled prisoners were all put in F and sent to Fort Wayne, Michigan, to serve until exchanged, but they soon dwindled down to nothing by discharge, desertion and death. Many, however, turned up in the ranks again. The changes made Simonson, colonel; Ruff, lieutenant colonel, and Roberts and Duncan, majors.
Notwithstanding two more "troops," as they were now called, were given the regiment, the promotion and detail of officers so reduced their number for duty, and the lack of recruits the enlisted strength, that A, B and H had all their men transferred to other troops in August, and the regiment became only a battalion. Roberts was in command.
Late in September, Morris, with C, G and K, engaged and defeated a rebel force of Texans near Fort Thorn; E was way out near Fort Wise cov-
ering that country; I was drilling as a light battery, and carried off the honors at Val Verde, February 21, 1862, where McRae fell wirh many of his men,—C, D, G and K also participating. C and K had an engagement with Indians in Comanche Cañon, March A Lieutenant Wall among the wounded; and C and E engaged the rebels at Apache Cañon the 26th, and Pigeon's Ranch the 28th, Major Duncan being wounded at Apache Cañon. G and K struck the retreating rebels again near Albuquerque, April 9th, and again near Peralto the 15th, D, E and I participating, Morris in command owing to Duncan's wound.
From the causes mentioned the men of D and E were transferred, May 15, 1862, to the four remaining troops which were to constitute the regiment until the following March. A rebel force demanded the surrender of K, May 21, but got a fight and was driven off. "Jerry" Russell, acting second lieutenant, in command of a detachment of C, had a fight with Indians, June 18, in Cañon Ladrone.
In consequence of the retirement of Colonel Simonson, September 16, 1861, Marshall S. Howe was promoted colonel of the regiment under the new system, which, however, did not repeal the law which made promotion lineal in the regiment. But appeal and protest were alike in vain. He joined July 10, 1862, and in September the four troops were concentrated at Fort Union, and on the 30th started for Jefferson Barracks, where they arrived November 23d after a march of 1280 miles.
In December, 1862, the four troops—C, G, I and K—were transferred to Memphis, Tenn., where they were joined by B and F, which had been filled at Columbus and had just joined after a raid up the Tennessee River. The regiment was first attached to the 16th, and then to the 15th Corps, and on October 8, 1863, left Memphis for Corinth, Miss., thence to Cherokee, Ala., near which C, F, G and I had an engagement October 21; G and K on the 24th. Leaving Cherokee with Osterhaus' Division, the regiment had three distinct engagements the same day, October 26, near Tuscumbia. November 13, it started for Chattanooga in advance of Sherman's army, went to Dercherd and returned to Fayetteville, and then accompanied the column to Bridgeport, arriving the 15th, thence to Chattanooga the 23d ; Missionary Ridge, 26th, and Cleveland, the 30th. It went on the expedition to Knoxville, via Athens, Louden and Marysville. Leaving Knoxville December 6, it pursued the enemy's trains over the Smoky Mountains beyond Murphy, N. C., returning via Tallisco Plains, Charleston, Cleveland, Chattanooga and Bridgeport to Huntsville, Ala., December 29th, where it remained on duty until March, 1864, when it proceeded by rail to St. Louis, Mo., arriving at Camp Davidson the 7th, to leave May 20th on steamers for Duvall's Bluffs, where it arrived the 26th, left June 4th and reached Little Rock the 9th.
Captain Howland commanded the regiment from the departure of Colonel Howe in May, 1863, until his return, July 20, 1865, all the field officers—Stoneman, Roberts, Duncan, Newby and Garrard, as well as the ranking captains being absent, most of them as general officers of volunteers.
The duty in Arkansas was principally to prevent the organization of commands and to suppress guerrilla bands, escort trains, et cetera. The
large territory covered necessitated constant scouting in small detachments, which involved hard riding, much risk, but no engagements of magnitude to attract attention, while Sheridan was winning glory for his cavalry with probably no harder work.
The enemy would make no stand without having presumably a great advantage, and they were superior to the Indians and practised about the same tactics. Lieut. George Harrington was killed in action at Memphis, August 21, 1864. Captain Howland, with 150 men, was ambushed by a much superior force near Benton, September 4th, and his command badly demoralized for a time, but rallied to find no enemy. Though eleven men were lost, this first reverse in the history of the regiment was treated with some levity, and the officers interested ever heard from their fellows of "the Benton Races."
November 8, Lieutenant Wilson's picket station was surprised with an attack from these prowlers and lost some men and horses. Tarlton and Campbell with forty dismounted men had an engagement until dark, January 14, 1865, with a force in position near Dardanelles, but at daybreak found it had vanished. Though the Rebellion was on its last legs, a party attacked Carroll's patrol January 22d, not far from Little Rock. Such was their persistence and daring.
In January, 1866, A, D, E, H, L and M, were manned at Carlisle Barracks and sent to Little Rock, where they were, mounted and stationed at various posts in the State. While E was en route, near the mouth of the Arkansas, the 28th, the boilers of the steamer Miami burst, killing 13, wounding nine, and probably drowning 12 who were missing.
In April, 1866, the regiment was ordered to New Mexico again. Its service in the States was probably the easiest it had ever experienced in the same period of time, though during the war it had no doubt marched many times the number of miles marched by any other regiment.
The troops concentrated at Camp Reynolds near Fort Smith, and marched from that place in three columns of four troops each, June 7th, 8th and 9th, making a new route to Fort Union, which it reached August 12th and 14th. From thence headquarters and B went to Fort Craig, A to Bascom, C to Wingate, D to Marcy, E and I to Sumner, G to Stevens, H to Stanton, K to Selden, L to Albuquerque, and M to Bayard, F remaining at Union. Then commenced and continued until the spring of 1870 constant, active field work, usually with handfuls of men, escorting trains and surveying parties, guarding highways and protecting flocks and people from the incursions of, and following up and punishing Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches, Utes and Navajos.
The changes in the list of officers were too numerous, and movements of troops too complicated to give them space, or even a full list of engagements. W. N. Greer became colonel in 1866, retiring in December, 1870, and giving place to J. J. Reynolds. The following engagements only can be mentioned:—Alexander and G, with Utes, October 3, 1866. Detachments of G and I near Fort Sumner, with Navajos, July 9, 1867. D with Mescaleros, near Guadaloupe Mountains, October 18; and K, same date, and again near Fort Sumner, November 20, 1867. Detachment of G and I,
under Adjutant Monahan at Apache Springs, in June, 1868. Detachment of E in Mimbres Mountains, October 8th. The Canadian River expedition against the Comanches in the winter of 1868-69; and engagement on Christmas Day at Elm Creek, I. T. Detachment of B from Bayard in May, 1869. Detachment of K near San Augustin Springs, May 7. F and H with Mescaleros in San Augustin Pass, August 15th. F, with Mescaleros in Guadaloupe Mountains in November; and again Christmas Day in Cañon Sanguinara, where Lieutenant Yeaton received his death-wound; and again, December 30th, on Delaware Creek. In January, 1870, a plot of the Utes and Jicarilla Apaches at the Ute agency, Maxwell's ranch, to massacre the officers and men of A was detected; the Indians were surrounded and "Corocante" made chief of the Utes.
The orders for the regiment to go to Arizona sent the headquarters with D and I to Fort Halleck, Nevada, marching via Denver to Cheyenne. Troops B, E, F, H and K, serving at the southern posts, assembled on the Mimbres for the march, leaving March 2, 1870. Captain Bourke has given, in his "On the Frontier with Crook," an account of the march of this column, stations taken by different troops, and of their busy work, no more arduous than that of the northern column, composed of A, C, G, L and M. The first three left Fort Union, March 8, picking up the other two at, and leaving Wingate, April 1st; marching up one and down another Rio Puerco, past Muddy Springs, Sunset Crossing, Hell Cañon, Cosniño Caves, Bear Springs to Prescott, and thence to different stations, A, C and G to Camp Rawlins where they arrived the 23d,—soon to change.
Indian signal smokes had been seen all along the latter part of the march, and it soon seemed that all the tribes had united in one tremendous effort to terrorize and make Arizona uninhabitable for the whites. Active operations began at once, but the troops were thinly scattered and inadequate in numbers. Wagons could not traverse this land of volcanic rocks, towering mountains and almost bottomless cañons; and there were no public pack trains, no reliable maps, and the Indian fastnesses were inaccessible and unknown. Hard as was the incessant field duty it was little worse than the equally bad fare and miserable life in tents, jacals, and dug-outs of the hot and dusty camps. So hard were the officers worked that the regimental records show but a moiety of what transpired,-nothing of the splendid work and fights of the energetic Graham and some others. General Stoneman said in his official report for the part of the year 1870-71 in which he commanded the Department of Arizona, that of thirty-odd expeditions sent against predatory Indians, twenty-five had engaged and defeated hostiles. Yet so far was this from civilization it was hardly known or noticed by the outside world.
Small as was the force and miserably supplied, the expense of the Department was appalling at Army and Division headquarters, and the mandates for retrenchments were crippling. The territorial press frothed at the mouth and its clamor relieved General Stoneman and brought in May, 1871, Lieutenant-Colonel George Crook as commander, assigned on his brevet rank as major general.
Regimental headquarters reached Camp Verde, April 8, 1871, from
Nevada, General Grover commanding; D and I, McDowell, during the spring. In the fall General Reynolds was relieved from command in Texas, and the incongruity of placing him under General Crook took the regiment to the Department of the Platte in the winter of 1871-72, marching to Yuma, transferring equipage and horses to the Fifth Cavalry, and proceeding by water around Cape San Lucas to Benicia, thence by rail to Wyoming and western Nebraska.
The engagements in Arizona were as follows:—B, near San Carlos, April 30, 1870; E, Chiquito Creek, May 25, East Fork of Verde, June 15, and Rio Verde, next day; A, Indian Springs, June 24; F, Pinal Mountains, June 25, Apache Mountains, August 1, Pinalito Mountains, October 6, and Turnbull Mountains, December 14; H, Pinal Mountains in December; Detachments of A, E and G, night of January 7-8,1871 ; A, cañon of Mazatzal Mountains, January 10; F, three in February; E and Gin Pinal Mountains in February; K, Peloncilla Mountains in March and Gila Mountains the 25th; B, near Date Creek, April 1; F, Sierra Ancha, April 4, and Apache Mountains the 11th and 12th; K, Dragoon Mountains, April 16; F, Whetstone Mountains, May 5, and Guachaca Mountains, June 1st and 10th; A and detachments of E and G, two on East Fork of the Verde, June 8, and cañon of Mazatzal Mountains and Wild Rye Creek, the 9th; M, a number in the Sierra Anchas in June; Detachment of K, Horseshoe cañon, October 24.
The foregoing by no means complete list is given place as the incomparable service of the regiment in Arizona has been belittled; indeed its splendid fighting record from the first has been criticised,—from reasons to be surmised. This partial showing of the conspicuous work of F, shows also, somewhat the character of its commander,—Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing,—who fell in the affair of May 5, 1871. He was a brother of the immortal Cushing who blew up the Albermarle, and of the no less gallant Alonzo H., who fell at Gettysburg.
Limits forbid an account of the wanton massacre by Tucson "toughs" of Indian women and children at Camp Grant in 1871, over which the local press involved Lieutenant Whitman in trouble, honoring him with so much abuse that Herbert H. Bancroft dignifies it with a place in his history. The last detachment of the regiment rather rejoiced in shaking the hot Arizona dust from their feet as they stepped on the steamers at Yuma, January 11, 1872.
In the Department of the Platte the troops were first stationed at Forts Sanders, Russell and McPherson, and Sidney Barracks, which they reached early in March after being snow-bound in the Rockies en route. Active work commenced before the end of the month and continued for ten years; at first only in summer, with stations on the railroad in winter, but soon the severe weather of that rigorous climate was no bar to the field duty the year around.
Besides protecting the frontiers of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, the regiment guarded the enormous reservation of the Sioux, Cheyennes and other tribes. The stations were located between them, and their relatives and allies in the Indian Territory, between whom there was a constant intercourse by skulking and freebooting bands that gave much annoyance
A at Sydney, and later E and G, were between those great tribes and the buffalo country,—a game which the Sioux believed to be their God-given heritage, and which they would hunt with or without leave. The young braves were constantly making their raids upon the cattle herds and ranches of the settlers and friendly tribes.
These serious annoyances kept the regiment on the go over the broad barren expanses of country where wagons could not be used. There were none of the fine pack-trains since introduced, and scouting was attended by more dangers from cold and exposure than from the Sioux, though they were far better armed than any Indians encountered before. The chronic state of semi-war was fatal from hardships and exposure, principally, until the commencement of 1876, when operations commenced on a scale so much larger, that only the most important events can be noticed here.
General Crook took command of the Department in the spring of 1875, and for ten years the service of the regiment was connected with his. The Sioux claimed that all the outrages were committed by the northern Cheyennes and Minneconjous, and were charged up to them by the whites. In a measure this was true, but the Sioux were no angels. It was determined to bring the former down to the Sioux agency for control. They would not come by invitation and it was determined to make a winter campaign against them. Five troops of the regiment, five of the Second, and two companies of the Fourth Infantry, concentrated at Fort Fetterman, which post it left, March 1, 1876, under the doubled-headed command of Generals Reynolds and Crook. The expedition furnished material for a longer narrative than all this. Let it answer, that after many weeks marching from Cheyenne, past the Big Horn Mountains almost to the Yellowstone, and return, having many night attacks by the enemy, on the 17th it attacked and destroyed Crazy-Horse's village of 105 lodges. Hardly an officer or man escaped serious frost bites or frozen limbs, and the command was incumbered with many sick and injured, without transportation for them other than that improvised.
An unfortunate controversy that followed this really successful and splendid victory perverted the facts, which may sometime be published in the interest of truthful history.
The campaign that followed in the summer involved another return to the Big Horn Country, and embraced the gallant feat of the 9th of June, when Mills' battalion plunged into and crossed the swollen Tongue under fire, and charged and routed a large force which had attacked the whole command. Then the battle of the Rosebud on the 17th, defeating the united forces of the Sioux, which, one week later, defeated and almost destroyed General Custer's command on the Little Big Horn, which latter sad event struck the country with such awe as to smother all consideration of the former, though it was probably the greatest Indian battle in our history—some 1400 soldiers and friendly Indians, against some 5000 hostiles. The brunt of the battle fell upon D, F, I and L, of the Third, which lost some ten killed and forty-odd wounded, Captain Henry among the latter.
Mr. Finnerty in his "Bivouac and Camp Fire" has given a conscientious, though not entirely correct, account of the summer campaign and
large long-drawn-out expedition to the Yellowstone and return by Heart River and the Black Hills, known as the "Starvation March," where the troops were for many rainy days reduced to horse-meat alone for subsistence in their long muddy march; and the fight at Slim Buttes, September 9, by a battalion of the Third under Mills and Crawford, where Schwatka made his gallant charge through the village of 35 lodges of American Horse and Roman Nose, Von Luettwitz lost a leg and many men were killed and wounded.
The Mackenzie expedition in the autumn of 1876, and its fight with Dull Knife, in which H and K participated, has been treated exhaustively by the JOURNAL. Omitting the numerous small encounters with Indians and road-agents, the campaigns that followed found the regiment, or part of it, wherever there was anything to be done, until the Sioux were once more in hand.
Brief notice must be taken of the Cheyenne outbreak in the Indian Territory in 1878, which put all the troops throughout the West upon the qui vive. Trains of cars were held in readiness at every station occupied by troops along the railways, and a battle was fought in western Kansas, where Colonel Lewis was killed; but the Cheyennes got away. New troops were switched on behind them at every point where their presence was ascertained, but they eluded every effort and made their way to the Sioux country.
The regiment was on an expedition to the Little Missouri country and camped on the Belle Fourche, when it was notified and ordered to push for the Sioux agencies, and below them, to head the renegades off; which it did by forced marches. After floundering in the sand-hills for days, freezing from absence of wood and suffering for water, B and D, under Johnson and Thompson, finally captured the band October 23d, and took it into Camp Robinson, having a revolt, however, on Chadron Creek which required the aid of other troops and a part of the Seventh to suppress. The Indians declared they would die to a man before they would return to the Indian Territory, and they kept their word. Securing arms and ammunition by the connivance, no doubt, of friendly (?) Indians, they revolted the night of January 9, 1879, shot down the sentinels and made their escape. The troops during intensely cold weather had a series of engagements, ten men killed and five wounded, before the last hostile Cheyenne was killed—the 22d—Captain Wessells being shot in the face in the last charge.
In the summer of 1879 the Utes murdered their agent—Meeker—treated his wife and daughter worse as captives, and slaughtered the agency employés. E of the Third and a troop of the Fifth, with some infantry, were dispatched to the scene in all haste. In the battle which followed, September 29th, Major Thornburg was killed, and gallant old Captain Lawson with E won proud laurels in averting outright disaster. They were complimented by a resolution of the Wyoming Legislature, but otherwise received faint praise, though the troop lost about fifty per cent. in killed and wounded, and held the camp until relieved.
General Reynolds retired June 25, 1877, and was succeeded as colonel by Thomas C. Devin, who died April 4, 1878; Washington L. Elliott, who retired March 20, 1879; Albert G. Brackett, retired February 18, 1891, to be
succeeded by Albert P. Morrow, who retired August 16, 1892, promoting Anson Mills, the present colonel.
The troops of the regiment were scattered as usual at different posts in the Department, A and M at McKinney, 200 miles from the railroad, when the Warm Spring Chiricahuas broke out, at San Carlos, Arizona, in the spring of 1882. And although the regiment had served a tour in Arizona while others nearer had not, it was ordered there by telegraph. Making forced marches to the railway stations, some of the troops getting snow-bound en route, they were dropped in a few days' time through thirteen degrees of latitude and down some five thousand feet of altitude into a climate where they had to gasp for breath.
The older officers found a transformation scene from the Arizona of ten years before. Now there were comfortable posts fairly supplied, and railroads and telegraph lines that connected them with the outer world. The utter loneliness and painful stillness were gone, but the lofty mountains and yawning cañons and their old enemy, less savage and numerous, were still there.
Active work commenced at once, with unacclimated men and horses that were soon worn out, principally in chasing false reports from the distracted population. The hostiles had crossed into Mexico before the regiment arrived (in May), but they left their usual trail of blood and thousands of turbulent Apaches behind. The last soon murdered the chief of Indian police at San Carlos Agency, committed other outrages, and broke for the mountain fastnesses. The major portion of the regiment had a long stem chase, and in time participated in the hardest fought engagement on Arizona soil,—Chevelon's Fork, July 17, 1882,—the Apaches receiving a lesson which has kept that particular band docile and manageable ever since. Twenty warriors were killed, without counting other casualties. Among our wounded were Lieutenants Converse and Morgan. A part of the Sixth Cavalry was there and did its full share, but the Third made the longest marches.
General Crook took command of the Department soon after, and in September placed Captain Crawford in charge of the Indians. The valuable service rendered by the captain, and by Lieutenants Davis, West, Dugan and Gatewood, in handling and controlling the thousands of Indians in Arizona, can never be estimated. The theme properly treated would make no small acquisition to history.
In the spring of 1883 Captain Crawford was on the border after Geronimo and band. The outrages committed by the Chiricahaus from across the line were laid at the door of the reservation Indians, and excited the young braves to skylark, or chafe under restraint. Crawford formulated a plan which General Crook allowed him to execute. He attempted it with his scouts, but the protocol allowed troops to cross the boundary line only while in hot pursuit of hostiles. The murder of judge McComas furnished this plea, and the capture of "Peaches" by Davis, a key to the Chiricahua stronghold. General Crook rushed down with some troops of the Third and Sixth, and crossed before the order from Washington prohibiting it reached him,—on a slow horse.
Crawford, Mackey and Gatewood, pushed ahead into the Apache fastnesses in the Sierra Madre, and, May 15, defeated them in their very strongholds. Accounts of this expedition err: General Crook learned of this fight only a day or two after. The Chiricahuas soon sued for peace, and Geronimo came in and surrendered to Crawford, and all were placed under the immediate charge of Davis.
To give the Tenth a change, the Third was treated to a genuine surprise in 1885, by an order to go to Texas. It concentrated at Bowie Station, April 13, for the march which involved a thousand miles for some of the troops, and it may be said, for the benefit of some of the numerous writers of magazine articles on marching cavalry, that not a public animal was lost on the trip. Before some of the troops had reached their station, the Chiricahuas had taken advantage of the departure of the troops whose officers knew them individually, their traits, habits, and trails, and the arrival of new troops with worn-out horses, to break out and leave another trail of blood. Lieutenant Davis had been left with these Indians, and immediately after the oubreak Captain Crawford was ordered back to the scene of the trouble, and the troops of the regiment were ordered out to patrol the upper Rio Grande, to protect the Texas frontier, and to render such aid as possible to the troops in Arizona operating against the wily foe. But while performing this duty, trouble commenced in the Indian Territory, and these same troops were hurried to the nearest railroad station and embarked without further preparation for the new field of operations, from which some of them did not return for nearly two years—marching 1500 miles. In the meantime the officers of the regiment in Arizona had been constantly in the field following and fighting the hostiles, and Captain Crawford had a last hard fight with them on January 10, 1886, at Nacori in Sonora, Mexico. He captured their camp, baggage, women and children. The bucks had escaped only with their arms into the ravines at dark, but had promised, through the squaws, to come in next morning and surrender. The morning brought an attack, which was at first supposed to be by Geronimo and his warriors, but which proved a lawless band of Mexicans, who suspended their fire for a time, and then, during the parley, treacherously fired a volley that sent a bullet through the brain of Captain Crawford. But this was soon avenged by a contest that killed the commander and two officers, routing the entire command. Subsequently they pleaded a mistake, and Lieutenant Maus, accepting the excuse in good faith, ventured within their lines, and gave them a note conceding the sad mistake. Thereupon he was made a prisoner and held until he gave some pack-mules as a ransom. Our Government subsequently demanded recompense for the mules, but, notwithstanding the second act of treachery, the loss of Captain Crawford, who had given his energy and health and finally yielded his life to the service, was not sufficient to arouse the Department of State to any decided action. Fort Crawford was named in honor of the noble captain, as were Ewell, McLane and McRae for the gallant fellows who fell before him. The request to call the post at Eagle Pass Fort Yeaton did not bear fruit.
During the last tour in Texas the cavalry was degraded into mounted
infantry. Its most onerous duty was the consumption of contractor's forage and trying to keep cool, until the local press gave Garza sufficient notoriety to secure some lawless adherents who created trouble in 1891-93. This was known as the "Tin Horn War," from the sensational dispatches furnished the press. It involved much hard riding, however; several skirmishes and some losses, but most of the blood spilt resulted from thorns of the chaparral. Captain Hardie, with G, did much effective work and carried off the honors, where all were working hard.
In the summer of 1893 the regiment was ordered to Fort Riley and posts in Oklahoma where it now serves, somewhat degenerate in the art of war but ready to respond to the first trumpet call for warriors, and will feel proud of any regiment in our service that has in the same period marched more miles, had more fighting, lost more officers and men without disaster, or which excels it in any of the essentials of real soldiering, and will cheerfully grant it the palm, and if in. a foreign service, will yield gracefully to its claims to superior excellence.
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