The Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief

The Ninth Regiment of Infantry

By Capt. E. B. Robertson

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UNDER the authority granted the President by the Act of July 16, 1798, to raise twelve additional regiments of infantry, the 9th Infantry first came into existence in the Army of the United States in January, 1799, with Josiah Carville Hall, of Maryland, as Lieutenant Colonel Commandant. All of the officers were appointed from Maryland, and an order of the War Department of January 5, 1800, directed that the regiment be recruited in that State. All of the officers were appointed and confirmed by the Senate, but it is probable that but few enlistments were made, as the Act of February 20, 1800, suspended enlistments for the new regiments. The Act of May 14, 1800, authorized the President to discharge them, and under this authority the 9th Infantry was disbanded June 15, 1800.

Under the Act of January 11, 1812, the 9th Infantry was again organized in March, 1812, with Simon Learned, of Massachusetts, as colonel. The regiment was raised in Massachusetts, and though a part of the regular army, was accredited to that State. It took an active part in the War of 1812, on the northern border, being present at the battle of Niagara Falls, Lundy's Lane, and other actions in that vicinity.

In the reorganization of the army under the act of March 3, 1815, this regiment was disbanded and no regiment bearing the designation existed until April, 1847, when the 9th Infantry was again organized, it being one of the few regiments authorized by the Act of February 11, 1847. The first colonel was Trueman B. Ransom, of Vermont, who was killed in the assault upon Chapultepec. He was succeeded by Col. Jones M. Withers, who resigned May 23, 1848, and he, by Col. Henry L. Webb. The regiment rendered efficient service in the series of actions in the immediate vicinity of and ending with the capture of the City of Mexico. At Contreras, Churubusco, San Antonio, Molino del Rey and Chapultepec it took a distinguished part. At Chapultepec it was in support of the storming force, but joined with it and became part of it in the assault on the citadel. Sixteen officers and eleven enlisted men of the regiment were mentioned by name in the report of Major-General Pillow for meritorious conduct in this battle, among the former being General R. C. Drum, then a second lieutenant. In August, 1848, the regiment was again disbanded.

Under authority of the Act of March 3, 1855, the 9th Infantry was again organized. Lieutenant-Colonel George Wright, 4th Infantry, was appointed colonel; Captain Silas Casey, 2d Infantry, lieutenant-colonel; and Captains Edward J. Steptoe, 3d Artillery, and Robert S. Garnett, 1st Cavalry, majors. The headquarters of the regiment were established at Fortress Monroe, Va., March 26, 1855, and recruiting rendezvous were opened by


officers of the regiment in Maine, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee. Companies A, F and G. were organized in May. B. H and I in June, D and K in August, E in September, and C in November, 1855. In the following month the regiment was ordered to the Pacific Coast, via Panama, arriving in the latter part of January, 1856. The headquarters and Companies A, B, C, E, F, G, I and K, took station at Fort Vancouver, W. T., Lieutenant-Colonel Casey with Companies D and H going to Fort Steilacoom, W. T., and thence in a few days into the field in active operations against the Indians of that locality.

In March, 1856, Colonel Wright with Companies A, E, F and I left Fort Vancouver on an expedition to Fort Walla Walla, W. T., then an abandoned Hudson Bay Company's post. After leaving Fort Dalles, Oregon, on the with, information was received of an attack by Indians on the settlers at the Cascades, and the command returned to that point by forced march and dispersed the Indians, the ringleaders being made prisoners. The command remained at the Cascades until the latter part of the following month, when the colonel with companies A and C left on an expedition to the Yakima River, being joined in May by Companies B, F, G, I and K. This expedition remained in the field until August and brought about the surrender of five hundred hostile Indians on the Weuache River in the latter part of July. Companies D and H remained in the field nearly all of the year and had several engagements with Indians.

From the close of field operations in 1856 until the spring of 1858, the regiment was principally engaged in building posts and making roads. In August, 1857, Company F was detailed as escort to the Northern Boundary Commission and remained in the field on that duty nearly three years. In May, 1858, Company E formed part of a force of one hundred and fifty-nine men sent to make a reconnaissance of the country to the north of Fort Walla Walla. On May 17th the command was attacked by over one thousand Indians and after fighting till dark and nearly exhausting their ammunition was compelled to retire. A forced march was begun that night and a distance of seventy-five miles covered by ten o'clock the following morning without the loss of a man or horse.

In August, 1858, an expedition was organized under command of Colonel Wright to proceed against the Spokane Indians and their allies. Companies B and C formed port of this expedition, and after two engagements at Four Lakes and on Spokane Plains, W. T., it was successful in bringing about a lasting peace with the Indians of that section.

Companies C, G and I were in the field in August and September of this year with an expedition under Major Garnett, against Indians to the north of Fort Lincoln, Oregon.

In October, 1860, Company B, with a detachment of Company E, under command of Captain T. F. Dent, left Fort Walla Walla, W. T., to the rescue of emigrants who had escaped from the massacre of September 9th and 10th, 1860, on Snake River.

In May, 1861, two officers and one hundred men of the regiment were


detailed as escort to the Fort Benton wagon road expedition, and remained absent on this duty nearly fifteen months.

In the autumn of 1861, after nearly six years of arduous service in Oregon and Washington Territories, the regiment, with the exception of Companies A and C, was ordered to San Francisco, Cal., preliminary to its transfer to the East. The latter order was, however, revoked, and but one company, E, left the Pacific Coast. In January, 1862, the enlisted men of this company, with the exception of the non-commissioned officers, were transferred to the 4th Infantry. The regiment remained on duty at the posts near San Francisco, and performed provost guard duty in that city until late in 1865, when it was distributed to posts in California and Nevada. On the 30th of July, 1865, the regiment lost its colonel, George Wright,—Brigadier-General, U. S. V., and Brevet Brigadier-General, U. S. A.,—who was drowned at sea by the wreck of the steamer Brother Jonathan, while en route to assume command of the Department of the Columbia. General Wright's service had been long and varied. He graduated at the Military Academy in 1822, and had served with distinction in many parts of the country. He had received the brevet of major for meritorious conduct in the Florida War and the brevets of lieutenant colonel and colonel for gallant conduct in battle in the Mexican War. In 1858, in Washington Territory, he subdued the Indians and brought about a peace that it is believed has never been broken. Not the least valuable of his services was rendered on the Pacific Coast during the War of the Rebellion, where by his conduct of affairs he was largely instrumental in preserving California to the Union. The regimental orders, announcing his death, after reciting his military record, continue as follows: " Placed in command of the immense Department of the Pacific shortly after the outbreak of the recent rebellion, he, by his wisdom, so managed the great interests under his control that the burden of the war was scarcely felt within its borders. Deaf alike to the goadings of rebellious spirits and the frenzied appeals of timid loyalists he pursued his course with firmness and moderation to the glorious result. Without bloodshed he accomplished the work of the statesman and soldier, protected the honor of his country's flag and preserved the peace.

General Wright was succeeded by Colonel John H. King, Bvt. Major-General, U. S. A., who assumed command of the regiment in December, 1866. During the period from 1866 to 1869, portions of the regiment were at different times in conflict with Indians in Northern California and Oregon and in Southern California. In June, 1869, after more then thirteen years of service on the Pacific Coast, during which time it had taken an active part in all the Indian troubles and had garrisoned nearly every post in that territory, from Sitka, Alaska, to Fort Mohave, Arizona, the regiment was ordered to the Department of the Platte, where upon arrival in July, the both Infantry was consolidated with it. The regiment performed garrison duty at various posts and guard duty on the line of the Union Pacific Railroad until May, 1873, when six companies, A, D, E, F, H and I, were sent to the Department of Dakota for duty with the Yellowstone Expedition, which formed the escort to the engineers locating the Northern Pacific R. R. in that Year, returning to the Department of the Platte after an


absence of over four months. From the summer of 1874 to May, 1876, the regiment was stationed at posts on or near the Sioux reservation in Nebraska and Wyoming and was almost constantly employed in escort duty to wagon trains. In the summer of 1875 Companies C, E and H, were in the Black Hills, Dakota, as part of the escort to the Jenney exploring party, Company E remaining in the field until November assisting in the ejectment of intruders who had entered this territory prior to the extinguishment of the Indian title.

In May, 1876, Companies C, G and H became a part of the Big Horn and Yellowstone Expedition under command of Brig.-General Crook and were in the field until late in October taking part in the engagement with the Indians at Tongue River, Montana, June 9th, Rosebud River, Montana, June 17th, and Slim Buttes, Dakota, September 9th. Companies G and H also assisted in repelling a night attack by Indians on the infantry camp on Goose Creek, Wyoming, July 9, 1876. In the early part of September the entire command was without rations for a number of days, and subsisted on horse flesh and a small quantity of dried meat and fruit captured at Slim Buttes. In October, 1876, the Powder River Expedition was organized and Companies A, B, D, F, I and K formed a part of it. This command remained in the field until January, 1877, during the most severe part of the winter, and practically brought to a termination the warfare against the whites, that had been carried on for many years by the Sioux Indians and their allies. In July 1877, Companies B, D, F, H, I and K were a part of the force sent to Chicago, Illinois, at the time of the railroad riots. They remained a month performing guard duty over various public and private institutions.

During the summer and fall of 1878 Companies B, C, H and I were in the field for nearly six months as a part of a force of observation under command of Lieut.-Col. L. P. Bradley, 9th Infantry, on the Little Missouri River, and in the northwestern part of the Black Hills. In October of this year Companies G and K were part of the force in the field in connection with the pursuit of the Cheyenne Indians, who raided across the country from Indian Territory to Red Cloud Agency, Dak. Company G remained in camp at Sidney, Neb., and Company K was mounted and took active part in the pursuit, being at one time over thirty-six hours without water. In October, 1879, Companies E and K went into the field in the Ute count try in northwestern Colorado shortly after the massacre at White River Agency, remaining until July, 1880. In February, 1882, the colonel of the regiment, Brevet Maj.-Gen. John H. King, U. S. A., was retired and succeeded by Col. James Van Voast, formerly a first lieutenant in the regiment. Col. Van Voast never joined, he being retired in April, 1883. He was succeeded by Col. John S. Mason, Brevet Brigadier-General U. S. A. In July, 1885, Companies A, D, E, F and I were part of the force sent to Crisfield, Kas., at the time of the threatened uprising of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes in Indian Territory. After remaining in camp at that point about three weeks they returned to their station in Wyoming. In July, 1886, after serving over seventeen years in the Department of the Platte, the regiment went to the Department of Arizona. Four companies, C, E, H and I, were


in the field in New Mexico for about a month during the Apache campaign of that year. During the service of the regiment in this department portions of it were in garrison at every post in Arizona and at some posts in New Mexico. In August, 1888, Col. Mason was retired and was succeeded by Col. Alfred L. Hough, who retained command until April, 1890, when he was retired. He was succeeded by Col. Charles G. Bartlett—who now commands the regiment. In October, 1891, the headquarters and Companies A, D, F and G, were transferred to the Department of the East Companies B, C, E and H following in May, 1892.

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