THE FIRST REGIMENT
By CAPT. R. P. PAGE WAINWRIGHT, 1ST U. S. CAVALRY.
The "United States Regiment of Dragoons" was organized by Act of Congress approved March 2, 1833, becoming the "First Regiment of Dragoons" when the Second Dragoons were raised in 1836. Its designation was changed to "First Regiment of Cavalry" by the Act of August 3, 1861. The first order announcing appointments in the regiment was dated March 5, 1833, and gave the names of the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, four captains and four lieutenants, stating that the organization of the regiment would be perfected by the selection of officers from the "Battalion of Rangers." Headquarters were established at Jefferson Barracks.
The organization of the regiment does not appear to have been completed until June, 1834, the regimental return for that month naming the following officers:
Colonel Henry Dodge.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen W. Kearny.
Major Richard B. Mason.
Captains Clifton Wharton, E. V. Sumner, Eustace Trenor, David Hunter, Lemuel Ford, Nathan Boone, J. B. Browne, Jesse Bean, Matthew Duncan and David Perkins.
First Lieutenants P. St. G. Cooke, S. W. Moore, A. Van Buren, J. F. Izard, Jefferson Davis, L. P. Lupton, Thomas Swords, T. B. Wheelock, J. W. Hamilton (adjutant), B. D. Moore, and C. F. M. Noland.
Second Lieutenants James Allen, T. H. Holmes, J. H. K. Burgwin, J. S. Van Derveer, J. W. Shaumburg, Enoch Steen, James Clyman, J. L. Watson, and B. A. Terrett.
Brevet Second Lieutenants William Eustis, G. W. McClure, L. B. Northrop, G. P. Kingsbury, J. M. Bowman, Asbury Ury, A. G. Edwards and T. J. McKean.
Lieutenant Jefferson Davis was the first adjutant but resigned the staff position February 4, 1834, and was assigned to Company A.
In October, 1833, the five companies first organized were sent under Colonel Dodge to winter in the vicinity of Fort Gibson, Arkansas Territory, where they remained until June, 1834.
In June, 1834, the regiment was sent on the "Pawnee Expedition," during which, although it ended in September of the same year, one fourth of the officers and men of the command died of fevers. On the 6th of August, Colonel Dodge writes to Lieutenant-Colonel Kearny: "I have on my sick report 36 men, four of whom have to be carried in litters. My horses are all much jaded, and would be unable to return by the mouth of the Wishitaw and reach their point of destination this winter season. This has been
*An abridgment of Capt. Wainwright's "History of the 1st U. S. Cavalry."
a hard campaign on all; we have been for the last fifteen days living almost on meat alone. The state of the health of this detachment of the regiment makes it absolutely necessary that I should arrive at Fort Gibson as early as possible, as well as the difficulty of providing grain for the horses. I am well aware you are placed in a most unpleasant situation, encumbered as you must be with sick men, baggage and horses, and regret exceedingly that it is not in my power to help you."
For the winter, Headquarters with Companies A, C, D and G, were sent to Fort Leavenworth; Companies B, H and I, Colonel Kearny, commanding, into the Indian country on the right bank of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Des Moines River; and Companies E, F and K, Major Mason commanding, to Fort Gibson.
Throughout the summer of 1835 all the companies of the regiment were kept in the field. The object appears to have been exploration chiefly, for no conflicts with the Indians took place. The regiment performed its duty thoroughly, as was shown by the letter of commendation sent by General E. P. Gaines, commanding West Department, to the regimental commander upon receipt of his report of operations.
Many letters written and orders issued about this time are of great interest and some are very amusing from the force of language used, showing great difference in military correspondence then and now; the court-martial orders are especially interesting on account of the peculiar sentences imposed.
During the year 1836 the general disposition of the regiment remained unchanged. The companies were employed in scouting among the Indians, especially along the Missouri frontier, a portion of the regiment going to Nacogdoches, Texas, for the purpose of keeping off white trespassers from the Indian country, and preserving peace between whites and Indians and among the Indians themselves; also in building wagon roads and bridges. During the winter the companies returned to their stations—Forts Leavenworth, Gibson and Des Moines.
Colonel Dodge resigned July 4, 1836, and was appointed Governor of Wisconsin. He was succeeded by Colonel Kearny. Major Mason was promoted vice Kearny, and Captain Clifton Wharton vice Mason.
The regiment was not engaged in the Florida war of this year, but Colonel Kearny, being called upon subsequently, reports, March 16, 1844; —"The only officers of the Regiment of Dragoons who died of wounds received or diseases contracted during the late contest with the Florida Indians are 1st Lieutenants J. F. Izard and T. B. Wheelock," and that no enlisted men of the regiment served there.
The circumstances attending the death of Lieutenant Izard are interesting. Being on his way from the east in January, 1836, to join his regiment, he heard at Memphis of Dade's massacre. He at once offered his services to General Gaines as a volunteer for the expedition then being organized in New Orleans for Florida, was appointed brigade major of the light brigade organized at Tampa Bay composed of the 2d Artillery, 4th Infantry and the Louisiana Volunteers, and had also the command of the advanced guard assigned him which he retained until he was shot.
On the 26th of February, 1836, the light brigade left Fort King for Ouithlacoochee, during the passage of which stream an attack by the Indians was anticipated. On the following day the place where General Clinch had his battle of December 25 was reached. Here a sharp skirmish took place and some men were lost. Having learned of a better ford below it was decided to take it. Izard, coming with his advanced guard to the bank of the river, posted his guard and went down the river alone to look for the ford. While wading in the stream he was struck by a bullet in the inner corner of the left eye, the ball passing out near the right temple. He fell, but called out while falling, "Lie still, men, and maintain your positions." He never spoke afterwards and died on the 5th of March.
First Lieutenant T. B. Wheelock left New York for Florida with a detachment of recruits in February, 1836. He distinguished himself with a portion of these recruits on the 10th of June at Fort Micanopy, and died at that post on the 15th of that month of a fever contracted during his service in Florida.
During the year 1837 the regiment was not called upon for any especially hard service. The usual scouting parties were sent out from time to time, and there were several changes of station, so that in June six companies were at Leavenworth and four at Fort Gibson.
The following extract from an order issued by General Gaines, commanding the Western Division, shows the high state of discipline prevailing in the regiment at this time.
"The First Regiment of Light Dragoons at Fort Leavenworth, recently inspected by the Commanding General, was found to be in a state of police and discipline reflecting the highest credit on Colonel Kearny—the exemplary commandant, —his captains and other officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, whose high health and vigilance, with the excellent condition of the horses, affords conclusive evidence of their talents, industry and steady habits."
In March, 1837, a regimental order designated the color of the horses of each company as follows:—A and K, black; B, F and H, sorrel; C, D, E and I, bay; and G, iron gray.
In October, 1837, and again in March, 1838, serious difficulties were reported between the settlers and the Osage Indians, and companies of the regiment were at once sent to the disturbed regions. On the second occasion the rapidity of Colonel Kearny's movements and the sudden appearance of zoo dragoons in their midst appear to have had a very quieting effect on the Indians, for after his return to Leavenworth Colonel Kearny reports no further danger of trouble with the Osages.
In April, 1839, the post of Fort Wayne, on the northwestern frontier of Arkansas, was established for the purpose of keeping the Cherokees in subjection, and by the end of October Companies E, F, G and K, were stationed there. In this same month Colonel Kearny, with Companies A, B, C, H and I, scouting, visited the post, but in November returned to Fort Leavenworth having marched about 550 miles.
Except that Companies A, C and D, under Major Wharton, were sent to Fort Gibson in December for temporary duty, nothing of any moment occurred to the regiment during the remainder of the year.
Twice in March and once in September, 1840, the regiment was called upon to overawe the Indians, and the end of that year found the Headquarters with Companies E, F, H, I and K, at Leavenworth; C, D and G, at Fort Gibson; A at Fort Wayne, and B at Fort Crawford.
During the period 1841-45 there is little of interest to record regarding, the movements of the regiments. There was the usual detached service for companies, and changes between Leavenworth, Gibson, Wayne, Crawford and Fort Towson—on the northeastern boundary of Texas. The records show no engagements or excessive marches, except that in April, 1842, on account of some disturbance among the Cherokees, Colonel Kearny marched his command of five companies to Fort Gibson from Leavenworth, and then made a forced march of 57 miles to Fort Wayne in one day. The records do not show that these Indian disturbances amounted to anything; the Indians made no attacks on the troops and but few on the settlers; still it is fair to presume that the activity of Colonel Kearny and his dragoons held them in subjection, and by their timely arrival at points where trouble was imminent, overawed the savages and prevented bloody wars.
On May 18, 1845, Colonel Kearny with Companies A, C, F, G and K, left Leavenworth for an expedition to South Pass in the Rocky Mountains. The command reached Fort Laramie on the north fork of the Platte, June 14; marched to South Pass and returned to Laramie by July 13; thence via Bent's Fort on the Arkansas to Fort Leavenworth, where it arrived August 24, having made a march of 2000 miles in less than 100 days. In the order issued to his command after his return from this expedition Colonel Kearny says: "In the length of the march, the rapidity of the movement and the unimportant sacrifices made, the expedition is supposed to be wholly unprecedented; and it is with pride and pleasure that the Colonel ascribes the result to the habitual good conduct, efficiency, and attention to duty on the part of the officers and soldiers of the command."
At the end of the year Companies C, F, G and K, were at Leavenworth; A at Fort Scott; B at Fort Atkinson; D at Camp Boone, near Beatties Prairie; E and H in camp near Evansville, Ark.; and I at Fort Des Moines. The Headquarters of the regiment were at St. Louis, where they remained until April 23, 1846, when they were returned to Fort Leavenworth.
Colonel Kearny was promoted brigadier general June 30, 1846, and was succeeded by Colonel Mason. Major Wharton was promoted vice Lieutenant Colonel Mason, and Captain Trenor vice Wharton.
Very soon after the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Mexico, preparations were begun for the invasion of Mexican territory at various points. One expedition was to advance from the Missouri River west to Mexico, Santa Fé being its objective point. It was immediately determined, however, to push on with this column and occupy Upper California. General Kearny was placed in command of this "Army of the West," which consisted of Companies B, C, G, I and K, 1st Dragoons, two companies of artillery, two of infantry and nine companies of Missouri volunteer cavalry under command of Colonel A. W. Doniphan, in all about 1800 men. This command was concentrated at Bent's Fort on the Arkansas, from which point it marched for Santa Fé, August 1, 1846.
Some show of resistance to Kearny's advance was made by the Mexican governor of New Mexico, but Las Vegas was occupied on the 14th, and Santa Fé on the 18th of August without a conflict, the Mexicans retreating upon Kearny's approach. Leaving Colonel Doniphan in command at Santa Fé, General Kearny took up the march for California September 26, and encamped about 40 miles from San Diego December 5, where he was met by a small party of volunteers under Captain Gillespie, sent out from San Diego by Commodore Stockton to give information of the enemy, of whom there were supposed to be six or seven hundred opposed to Kearny's advance.
On the morning of the 6th, Kearny's command met and defeated at San Pasqual, about 40 miles from San Diego, a body of Mexicans under General Andres Pico. Kearny had at this time about 300 men, composed of Companies B and C, 1st Dragoons, and volunteers. The action was severe, the 1st Dragoons losing three officers,—Captains Moore and Johnston and Lieutenant Hammond,—and 14 men killed; and about all the dragoons were wounded, principally with lance thrusts. General Kearny himself received two wounds, Lieutenant Warren of the Topographical Engineers, three; and Captain Gillespie of the volunteers, three. Kearny was compelled to remain at San Barnardino until the 11th on account of wounds, but reached and occupied San Diego December 12.
General Wilcox in his History of the Mexican War says: "At dawn of day the enemy, already in the saddle, were seen at San Pasqual. Captain Johnston charged them with the advanced guard, followed and supported by the Dragoons, and they gave way. Captain Moore led off rapidly in pursuit accompanied by the Dragoons (mounted on horses), and followed, though slowly, by those on tired mules. The enemy, well mounted and superb horsemen, after falling back half a mile, halted, and seeing an interval between Captain Moore with the advance and the Dragoons coming to his support, rallied their whole force and charged with lances. Moore held his ground for some minutes but was forced back, when those in the rear coming up, the enemy were in turn driven back and fled not to rally again. Kearny occupied the field and encamped upon it.
"But few of Moore's men escaped without wounds. Captain Johnston was shot dead at the commencement of the action; Captain Moore was lanced and killed just before the final retreat of the Mexicans; Lieutenant Hammond was also lanced, surviving the wound but a few minutes; two sergeants, two corporals, and 10 men of the 1st Dragoons, one private of volunteers, and a citizen engaged with the engineers were killed."*
General Kearny with a force consisting of Company C, 1st Dragoons, (60 dismounted men) under Captain Turner, sailors and marines with a battery of artillery, and California volunteers, left San Diego for Los Angeles December 29. He reached and occupied Los Angeles January 10, 1847. The enemy under Governor Flores was encountered at the crossing of the Rio San Gabriel January 8, and on the plains of the Meza on the 9th, on
* In explanation of the remark "mounted on horses," it may be stated that, with a few exceptions, the Dragoons were mounted on tired mules which had been ridden from Santa Fé, more than a thousand miles.
both of which occasions he was routed with some loss. The loss to the Americans was one soldier killed, and two officers,—Rowan of the navy and Captain Gillespie,—and 11 privates wounded. With the loss of Los Angeles all resistance to the occupation of this portion of California ceased.
General Kearny had left Companies G and I at Albuquerque under Captain J. H. K. Burgwin. When Colonel Sterling Price (the successor of Colonel Doniphan in command at Santa Fé) learned of the seizure and murder at Fernando de Taos of Governor Bent and five others by the Mexicans (Jan. 20), he moved out against them with a force of about 350 dismounted men and easily defeated them, Jan. 24, at Canada. Captain Burgwin, with Company G, 1st Dragoons, also dismounted, joined him on the 28th, and the Mexicans, numbering about 500, were again encountered on the 29th in a cañon leading to Embudo, from which position they were driven out by Burgwin with a force of 180 men of Price's regiment and Company G. He entered Embudo the same day.
On the 31st, having united his force, Price moved towards the Pueblo de Taos, which he attacked February 3, but on account of its strength and the stubborn resistance offered, and more especially for the reason that the ammunition for the artillery had not come up, the attack failed. It was renewed on the following morning when Captain Burgwin, with his company of Dragoons and McMillan's of Price's regiment, charged, crossed the walls, and attacked the church, which, with other large buildings within the walls, was occupied by a large force of the enemy and was stubbornly defended. While gallantly leading a small party against the door of the church Burgwin received a mortal wound from which he died on the 7th. Company G sustained a loss in this engagement of one officer and 23 men killed. The Mexicans lost 153 killed and many wounded.
During the year 1847 regimental headquarters were still at Leavenworth and Companies A and E were with Taylor in Mexico. Company B was reorganized at Jefferson Barracks in May and sent to Albuquerque, N. M., being engaged while en route with Comanche Indians at Grand Prairie, Arkansas, June 26, losing five men killed and six wounded.
Company F escorted General Scott from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico and was present at the battles at and near that city. From November 1 to December 20 it was engaged on escort duty between the city and Vera Cruz.
Companies D and K, as well as F, saw service on Scott's line in Mexico, and in 1848 the three companies returned to the United States and were stationed at various points on the northwestern frontier.
During the year 1849 the regiment lost three men killed and two wounded (one mortally) in Indian skirmishes, the particulars of which are not obtainable.
Brevet Brigadier General Mason, Colonel 1st Dragoons, died at Jefferson Barracks, July 25, 1850, and was succeeded by Colonel Thomas L. Fauntleroy, promoted from the Second Dragoons.
For the next three years there is no record of any important engagement, march or duty, performed by the regiment; in fact, very little attention was given to recording really important fights.
On March 30, 1854, Lieutenant J. W. Davidson, with Company I and 16 men of Company F, had a sharp fight with Apache Indians about 16 miles south of Taos, in which 14 men of Company I and 8 of E were killed, and Lieutenant Davidson and 14 men wounded. The Indian camp was surprised and captured, the Indians escaping, but while plundering the camp the troops were in turn surprised by the Indians, who returned and took Davidson at such disadvantage that the command narrowly escaped annihilation.
Regimental headquarters were transferred to Fort Union, N. M., in July, 1354, and throughout the following year the companies in New Mexico were almost constantly on the move. Colonel Fauntleroy made three expeditions against the Utahs and Apaches, and Companies I and K went with Colonel Miles against the Mescalero Apaches. Meantime Companies C and E took part in the Rogue River war in Oregon, in which, at the battle of "Hungry Hill," the troops were compelled to retire with a loss of 26 killed and wounded, after fighting a day and a half.
The headquarters of the regiment were established at Fort Tejon, California, in December, 1856, with Companies H and I. At this time Companies B, D, G and K were at Camp Moore, N. M.; C at Fort Yamhill, Oregon; E at Fort Walla Walla, Wash.; F at San Diego, Cal.; and A en route to Benicia Barracks, California.
From this time until the year 1861 scoutings and skirmishes with the Indians were almost incessant, and portions of the regiment were always found where the fighting was going on. Four companies were present with Chandler's expedition against the Navajos and Apaches in March and April, 1856. In 1856 two companies took part in numerous Indian skirmishes in Oregon and Washington; one was with Wright's expedition to the Walla Walla country in April, and to the Yakima country in June; later in the year it was out with Colonel Steptoe.
In May, 1858, Companies C, E and H formed part of Steptoe's expedition northward to the British line which, on the 17th of May, met a force of about 800 Spokane and other hostile Indians and was driven back.
In August of the same year Companies C, E, H and I were with Wright's column, which administered a severe thrashing, September 1, to the Indians who had fought Steptoe.
Company D was in the, field in Arizona in 1858, and E in Oregon in 1859.
Colonel Fauntleroy resigned May 13, 1861, and was succeeded by Colonel B. S. Beall. By the Act of August 3 of this year the designation of the regiment was changed to "First Regiment of Cavalry."
During the months of November and December the regiment, excepting Companies D and G, was transferred from the Pacific coast to Washington, D. C., arriving at Camp Sprague, near that city, by the end of January, 1862.
At this time Companies D and G were at Camp San Christoval, N. M. They had abandoned and destroyed Forts Breckenridge and Buchanan and had taken station at Fort Craig. In January, 1862, they were General Canby's escort. Company D was engaged in a skirmish with rebels near
Fort Craig, February 19, 1862, and the two companies took part in the battle of Valverde, February 21. Company D took part in the engagements at Pigeon's Ranch, March 30; Albuquerque, April 25; and Peralto, April 27, 1862.
In June, 1863, the two companies were broken up, the officers and noncommissioned officers being transferred to Carlisle Barracks, where the companies were reorganized, joining the regiment at Camp Buford, Md., in October, 1863.
Colonel Beall was retired February 1-, 1862, and was succeeded by Colonel George A. H. Blake, Major Wm. N. Grier of the Second succeeding him as lieutenant colonel of the First.
The regiment, now under the command of Colonel Grier, was attached to the 2d Brigade, Cavalry Reserve, Army of the Potomac, Colonel Blake commanding the brigade.
It will be impossible to give in detail the part taken by the regiment in all the battles and engagements in which it participated during the Rebellion. Only the names of battles are given, with the casualties and such short descriptions as may seem of interest.
At Williamsburg, May 4, 1862, a portion of the enemy's cavalry was repulsed by a brilliant charge of a squadron of the regiment commanded by Captain B. F. Davis. A rebel standard was captured; 13 casualties. At Gaines' Mill, June 27, Lieutenant Robert Allen was dangerously wounded; casualties, 26. The regiment was present at Malvern Hill, July 1; Kelly's Ford, March 17, 1863 (loss ten men); and Stoneman's Raid in April and May. At the battle of Beverly Ford, June 9, 1863, the gallant Captain B. F. Davis was killed while in command of the 8th N. Y. Cavalry. At Upperville, June 23, the regiment met the "Jeff Davis" Legion and the 1st and 2d North Carolina regiments in a charge. The regiment suffered severely, Lieutenants Fisher and Moulton being wounded and captured, and 51 men killed, wounded and missing, a large proportion of the wounded being disabled by the sabre.
At Gettysburg, July 1 and 3, Lieutenant Trimble was wounded, and the loss was 15 men. The regiment lost two men at Williamsport and on July 6 charged the enemy on the pike road to within half a mile of Funkstown, capturing an officer and 13 men, and driving the enemy within their lines. The regiment was engaged near Boonsboro, July 7, 8 and 9, losing 14 men. At Brandy Station, August I, it repulsed the enemy in four charges, losing If men. With the Reserve Brigade it was then ordered to Washington to remount and equip. Camp Buford was established, where the brigade remained about a month when it was again ordered to the front.
The First Cavalry was engaged at Manassas junction and at Catlett's Station, November 5; Culpeper, November 8; Stephensburg, November 26, and Mine River. A cantonment having been established at Mitchell's Station the regiment was employed during the winter doing picket duty along the line of the Rapidan.
A reconnoissance to the left of the enemy's line was made, February 6, 1864, by the 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, the First Cavalry leading the advance. Sharp skirmishes took place near the crossing of Robinson River
at Hume's Ford on the 6th and 7th. On the 6th the regiment charged the enemy, driving him from the ford and capturing four prisoners, and continued the pursuit to within two miles of Barnett's Ford on the Rapidan. On the morning of the 7th the regiment, again in the advance, encountered the enemy in force at the ford. One squadron,—G and M Companies under Capt. Fielner,—made a charge to gain possession of the ford, but was met by a heavy fire from infantry in strong position on the opposite side of the river and was recalled with loss of two men and six horses wounded. On the 27th General Custer started on his raid to Charlottesville, and on the 28th, the First Cavalry being in the advance, the enemy were encountered in their camp near Charlottesville from which they were driven and the camp partially destroyed. On the return march the Rosanna bridge was destroyed by the pioneers of the regiment under Lieutenant Ogden. On March 1st, shortly after leaving Standardsville, the enemy charged the 5th Cavalry, which regiment, supported by the First, returned the charge, capturing 25 rebels and killing or wounding several of them.
On General Sheridan's taking command of the Cavalry Corps the First Cavalry, commanded by Captain N. B. Sweitzer, was attached to Merritt's Reserve or Regular Brigade, Torbert's Division, and in the preparation for the Wilderness campaign the regiment was employed in picketing the Rapidan, taking part in the battles of Todd's Tavern, May 7, and Spottsylvania Court House, May 8, during the first of which six out of the 16 officers on duty with the regiment,—Captain Sumner and Lieutenants Hall, Hoyer, Pennock, Ward and Carr,—were wounded. During the two days fighting ten men were killed.
The regiment accompanied Sheridan on his raid around Richmond and took part in the following engagements; Beaver Dam Station, May 10; Yellow Tavern, May ii: Meadow Bridge, May 12; Mechanicsville, May 12; Tunstall's Station, May 14; Hawe's Shop, May 28; and Old Church, May 30.
At the battle of Cold Harbor, June 1, Captain Samuel McKee was mortally wounded and died on the 3d. Lieutenant Pennock was shot through both eyes, two men were killed and four wounded. The regiment accompanied General Sheridan on the Trevillian raid, and was present at the battle of Trevillian Station, June 11 and 12, on which days it suffered severely, losing Lieutenants Ogden and Nichols killed, and Captain Dunkelberger wounded. Three men were killed and 29 wounded or missing. The regiment was engaged in daily skirmishing during the return march to White House Landing, and was engaged with the enemy at that point on June 17, at the Chickahominy River on the 18th, and at the battle of Darby's Farm, June 28. At the battle of Deep Bottom, July 28, where the Regular Brigade, fighting on foot, routed a brigade of Confederate cavalry, a battle flag was captured by the First Cavalry.
On July 31, the 1st Division marched to City Point, embarked the next day, and was transported to Washington to assist in repelling the threatened attack of General Early. The regiment disembarked at Giesboro Point with its division, August 3, and went into camp near Washington.
On August 5th the movement to Harper's Ferry was taken up, the 1st
Division being ordered to the Shenandoah Valley under Sheridan. Harper's Ferry was reached on the 8th and the division moved on the Halltown road and camped. General Sheridan having formed his cavalry into a corps under General Torbert, General Merritt succeeded to the command of the division, and Colonel Alfred Gibbs to that of the brigade.
On August 10th a reconnoissance was made by the Reserve Brigade in the direction of Winchester, and the enemy's cavalry was engaged and routed. From this day until the close of Sheridan's operations in the valley, the regiment was engaged in almost daily fighting, and took part in all the important battles except Fisher's Hill, where it was otherwise employed as will be seen hereafter.
The enemy's cavalry was engaged, August 11, and driven several miles towards Newtown, but our cavalry became opposed to a heavy force of infantry and the entire First Division was put in on foot. The 1st Cavalry charged across an open plowed field and drove the enemy from the timber beyond, but were in turn repulsed by a heavy flank fire and compelled to take refuge behind rail barricades, which they held until dark in spite of persistent and repeated efforts of the enemy to dislodge them. Lieutenant Harris was wounded in this affair.
On August 13, Lieutenant J. S. Walker, the commissary of the regiment was killed by Mosby's guerrillas near Charleston, Va., while going to Harper's Ferry in the discharge of his duties. About this time also the regimental trains of the Reserve Brigade were captured and destroyed by Mosby. These trains contained the regimental and company records and the personal effects of officers. Several of the wagons belonging to the regiment were saved and with them some of the records. From August 16th until the 20th, the First Cavalry was employed, together with the whole of the 1st Division, in the destruction of all wheat and forage, and the seizure of all horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, accessible in the valley.
The 1st Division was engaged with Early's infantry near Charleston on the 21st, and on the 25th the 1st and 3d Divisions marched in the direction of Leetown, near which place a strong force of the enemy's infantry was encountered and defeated with the loss of many prisoners. On the 28th the Division marched again in the direction of Leetown, the Reserve Brigade leading, with the First Cavalry in advance. The Rebel cavalry was found in force beyond Leetown and a severe fight followed. Two squadrons of the First were deployed to the left and right of the pike and a third held in reserve. The deployed squadrons were driven back and the reserve squadron was moved into the pike in columns of fours and in that formation charged with the sabre. The enemy's cavalry, a full brigade, charged with the pistol, and, just before the two bodies met, slackened speed to deliver their fire, when Hoyer's squadron struck them at full charging gait and sent them flying to the rear. Our loss was tenor twelve men wounded with the pistol and the gallant Hover killed. He was shot through the body while leading the charge and died in an hour. The command of the squadron then fell to Lieutenant Moses Harris, and at about this time Captain E. M. Baker succeeded Captain Sweitzer in command of the regiment.
From the 5th of September until the 19th the First was employed on
picket duty along the Opequan and in harassing the enemy, —an arduous duty, with constant skirmishing and attendant casualties. Colonel C. R. Lowell, 2d Mass. Cavalry, "The bravest of the brave," now succeeded to the command of the Reserve Brigade, and the period of his command is described as the most brilliant in its history.
The First took part in the memorable charge of the Reserve Brigade at the battle of Winchester, September 19, and, in conjunction with the 2d Cavalry, captured two stands of colors and some 200 prisoners. The casualties of the regiment were 37 killed, wounded and missing, including Lieutenant McGregor wounded.
The battle of Fisher's Hill was fought and won September 22, 1864. On this day General Torbert, having been ordered to proceed with Merritt's and Devin's Divisions through the Luray Valley to fall upon Early's retreating army at New Market, in the event of his defeat at Fisher's Hill, found the forces of the rebel General Wickham strongly entrenched near Milford. Torbert's failure to dislodge Wickham and Sheridan's disappointment over the failure of his plan to capture, the whole of Early's army are matters of history.
On the morning of the 23d the ambulance train was attacked by some of Mosby's guerrillas near Front Royal, who were then chased by the First and Second Cavalry and a number killed and ten or twelve captured. Lieutenant McMasters of the Second was cruelly murdered, after capture, by the guerrillas, in retaliation for which several of those captured were hung.
Learning on the 23d of the victory at Fisher's Hill, Torbert returned with his command to Milford during the night, and finding the enemy's strong position abandoned pushed on until the enemy's cavalry was encountered near Luray early on the morning of the 24th and signally routed, narrowly escaping destruction. The First Cavalry took part in this engagement, and, September 28, in the action at Waynesboro, in which it met with a loss of 18 killed, wounded and missing.
General Sheridan having decided to withdraw his army to a defensible position nearer to his base of supplies in the northern end of the valley, commenced the retrograde movement on the 6th of October. General Rosser becoming emboldened by Sheridan's apparent retreat, took the initiative and so annoyed Sheridan that he determined to punish him, and the memorable battle of Tom's Brook, or "Woodstock Races," took place on the 9th. The entire management of the affair was given to General Torbet, and how well he redeemed himself for his failure in the Luray Valley by the ignominious rout of Rosser and Lomax is well known. The 1st Cavalry led the advance of the Reserve Brigade during the charge on the pike against Lomax's cavalry, from Tom's Brook to Edinborough—18 miles. The chase was continued by the 2d Brigade to Mount Jackson, 8 miles further on. The First Cavalry captured 4 guns, 4 wagons, and a number of prisoners, with a loss of two men "missing in action." It is related that some of the guns here captured were quite new, and had been marked "For General P. H. Sheridan, care of Jubal Early."
The First Cavalry played an important part in the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. After the surprise and defeat of Wright in the morning
a position was taken about one mile north of Middletown, which was held by the divisions of Merritt and Custer until Sheridan came up with that portion of his army which he had met flying to the rear, a defeated and demoralized mob. The First Cavalry was formed, one squadron to the left, the other to the right, of the Valley pike, dismounted, behind stone walls, the third squadron being held in reserve. This position was held with the greatest difficulty, the advanced squadron, commanded by Harris, being subjected to an enfilading fire. The personal example however, of the brigade, regimental, and squadron commanders, kept the men up to their places until the return of the Sixth Corps when the squadrons were mounted and joined in the pursuit of Early's beaten forces, which was continued on the 21st and 22d as far as Mount Jackson.
The regiment now returned to Middletown and during the fall and winter was engaged in numerous skirmishes and took part in Merritt's raid to, the Loudon Valley and Torbert's raid to Gordonsville. In December the regiment was assigned to duty at the headquarters of the Cavalry Corps in Winchester.
On the 27th of February, 1865, General Sheridan commenced his last expedition through the Shenandoah Valley, having for his object the destruction of the Va. Central R. R, and the James River Canal, and the capture of Lynchburg. Sheridan took only the Cavalry Corps and a portion of his artillery. The regiment was present with the Reserve Brigade and took part in the battle of Waynesboro, March 2, where the remnant of Early's army was captured. It was also engaged in many skirmishes during the march from Charlottesville to White House Landing while destroying locks and the embankment of the James River Canal, railroads and rebel supplies, and arrived at White House Landing March 17, taking part in the engagement of that day.
On the 27th of March Captain Baker was relieved from command of the regiment by Captain R. S. C. Lord.
The First Cavalry was present and took part in all the battles and daily skirmishes of the Cavalry Corps until the close of the war. On March 30th it was in the engagement on White Oak Road; March 31, at Dinwiddie Court House; April 1, at Five Forks. Here the regiment made a brilliant charge on an entrenched position of the enemy, which was carried and 200 prisoners captured. April 2, in the engagement near Southside R. R.; April 6, at the battle of Sailor's Creek; and April 9, at Appomatox,—the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. After the surrender the regiment returned to Petersburg where it remained in camp until April 24, when it marched with the Cavalry Corps towards North Carolina for the proposed junction with Sherman. On the surrender of Johnston's army the Corps returned to Petersburg and, the regiment, escorting General Sheridan, left for Washington May 8, arriving May 16, and taking part in the "Great Review."
In the same month the regiment was ordered to Louisiana, arriving at New Orleans May 31 and remaining in that city or its immediate vicinity until December 29 when it embarked for California via the Isthmus of Panama. It took post at the Presidio of San Francisco January 22, Com-
panies A, G and K going February 5 to Drum Barracks, where Companies C, D and E, followed them February 17, Company L going to Sacramento. In June of the same year regimental headquarters went to Fort Vancouver, W. T., and the several companies had been distributed through Oregon, Washington Territory, Idaho, California, Nevada and Arizona, no two being at the same station.
Owing to the vast extent of country guarded by the regiment its service for many years following was very arduous. Scouting for Indians and escort duty of various kinds were incessant. Hardly a regimental return fails to record some expedition or report some Indian fight. It will be impossible within the limits to which this sketch is confined to give more than their dates and localities.*
Headwaters Malheur River, Ore., July 18-20-22, Company I. Eleven. Indians killed and many wounded. Loss, one man killed. Near Camp Watson, Ore., September 2. Company I. One Indian killed and many women, children and animals captured. Expedition from Owhyee River in September. Company M. Many Indians killed. Loss, one wounded. Expedition from Fort Bidwell, Cal., October 22-29. Company A. Fourteen Indians killed, three women, four children, and entire camp captured. Loss, one wounded. Expedition from Fort McDowell, A. T., September 22-October 3. Company E and detachment of C. Fifteen Indians killed and 10 captured. Scout from Camp Watson, Ore., October 8-24. Company I. Three warriors killed, and 8, with all the women, children, stock and provisions captured. Sierra Anchas, November 17. Company E. Six warriors killed and 5 captured. Scout from Camp Watson, Ore., November 16-24. Lieutenant and ten men of Company I. Three Indians killed. Crook's expedition against Owhyee River Indians. Battle of December. 26. Company F. Thirty warriors killed. Loss of company, one killed and one wounded. Scout from Camp Wallen, A. T., December 9-15. Part of Company G. Three Apaches killed. Scout from Camp Watson, Ore., December 1-7. Twenty men of Company I. Fourteen Indians killed and 5, with 28 head of stock, captured.
Scout from Fort McDowell, January 7-9, and again January 27-31. Company E. Forks of Malheur River, Ore., January 9. Company F. Thirty Indians and 43 head of stock captured. Stein's Mountain, I. T., January 29. Company M. Band of 90 warriors attacked; 60 killed and 27 captured. Escort consisting of one officer and 21 men of Company E attacked by Indians in Arizona, February 23. Loss, one man wounded. Scout from Camp Independence, Cal., March 7-13. Twelve men of Company D. Twelve warriors killed or wounded. Dunder and Blitzen Creek, Nev. Horses and pack mules of Company H stampeded by Indians. The company was put afoot. Scout from Camp Watson, Ore., in May. Eleven
*It is my desire to publish a more complete history of the First Cavalry, and I will be only too thankful to receive data, descriptions of engagements, personal anecdotes etc. I can assure contributors careful perusal of their papers with proper entry, and that they will be given full credit for any information furnished. R. P. P. W.
men of Company I. One Indian killed and 3 captured. Scout from Camp Wallen, A. T., June 9-24. Company G. Three Indians killed. Malheur River, Ore., July 7 and 19. Company I. Four warriors killed and 22 captured. Silver River, Ore., September 6 and 16. Company A. Twenty-four Indians killed and 19 captured. Loss, two men wounded. Crook's expedition against hostiles of Oregon and northern California, August 23-October 5. Companies F, H and M. Company H in fight at "Infernal Caverns," near Pitt River, September 26 to 28. Indians completely routed. Loss of company, Lieutenant Madigan and four men killed and four men wounded. Scout from Camp Wallen, A. T., in December, Company G. One Indian killed and 4 captured.
Dunder and Blitzen Creek, Ore., March 14. Company H. Band of Indians exterminated. Lieutenant Parnell and one man wounded. Malheur River, Ore., April 5. Company F. Thirty-two Indians killed and 2 captured. Skirmish with Indians in Arizona, May 1. One man of Company C wounded. Scout from Camp Lyon, I. T., May 26-31. Eight men of Company M. Thirty-four Indians killed. Scout from Camp Harney, Ore. Fight on May 31 in which five Indians were killed and the remainder surrendered. Loss, one man wounded. Near Camp Reno, A. T., June 16. Four men of Company E killed while escorting mail. Morgan's Ranch, A. T., July 21. One man of Company K killed. Scout from Fort Reno, A. T., in July. Company E. One Indian killed; loss, one man wounded.
Scout from Camp Lowell, January 13. Company G., One Indian killed. and one wounded. Expedition against Arivaypa Apaches, February 2. Detachments of Companies G and K. Eight Indians killed and 8 captured. Expedition against Apaches in March. Company G. Three Indian camps of 105 huts destroyed. Fight at Mount Turnbull, A. T., April 29. Companies G and K. Twenty-eight Indians killed and 8 captured.
Fight with Indians in Arizona, May 11. Seven men of Company G. One man wounded. Scout from Camp Grant, May 22. Company K. Four Indians killed. Fights on Rio Pinto, June 2 and 4. Company E. Twenty-two Indians killed and 4 captured. Scout from Camp Bowie, June 30. Company G. Four Indians captured. Expedition to White Mountains of Arizona, July and August. Company L and detachment of K. Fifteen Indians killed and 3 captured. Pursuit of marauders of Cochise's band, October 8. Company G. Twelve Indians killed and stolen stock recovered. Fight with Cochise's band in Chiricahua Mountains, October 20. Company G. Twenty Indians killed and others wounded. One man killed and 1 wounded. Skirmish with Cochise's band, October 31. Companies C, G and L. Two Indians killed. Scout from Camp McDowell, A. T., December 9-11. Twenty men of Company E. Entire band of 11 Mojave Apaches killed.
Skirmish with Cochise's band, January 27. Company G. Thirteen Indians killed and two captured. Attack on rancheria in Tonto Valley, A.
T., May -25. Company E. Twenty-one Indians killed and 12 captured. Scout from Camp Grant, June 1-9. Company K. Thirty-seven Indians killed.
Skirmish in the Penal Mountains, A. T., August 1. Twenty-five men of Company K. Six Indians killed. Loss, one man killed. Penal Mountains, October 29. Company C. Four Indians killed. Loss, two men wounded.
Penal Mountains, January 1. Company G. Nine Indians killed. Scout from Camp Apache, A. T., February 16-27. Companies L and M. Rancheria of San Carlos Apaches attacked, capturing horses and destroying food and camp equipage. Scout from Fort Whipple, A. T., September 30. Company A. Seventeen warriors killed. Fight at Bad Rock Mountains, December 11, 1872. Detachments from Companies Land M. Fourteen Indians killed and many wounded. Attack on Apache rancheria, December 13, 1872. Detachments of Companies L and M. Eleven Indians killed and 6 captured. Scouts from Camp Verde, A. T., December 23, 1872; January 4, 1873; February 1-16, 1873; and February 18; March 7, 1873. Company I. Eight Indians killed, 3 squaws and 2 children captured. Engagement with Apaches May 6, 1873. Company A. Four Indians killed. Regimental Headquarters were transferred from Fort Vancouver to Camp Warner, Ore., in May, 1870, and thence to Benicia Barracks in October of the same year. Just two months later,—December 15, 1870,—Colonel Blake was retired from active service on his own application, and Colonel A. C. Gillem of the 11th Infantry was transferred to the First Cavalry in his stead.
The Modoc Indians were a small tribe living in northern California near Tule Lake and Lost River. Through the intercession of interested civilians orders were issued for their removal to the Klamath Indian Reservation. They went on the reservation, but, on account of ill treatment left it, and the War Department was then directed to carry out the orders. The Indians at once commenced hostilities and one of the most protracted and obstinate Indian wars of later years followed.
Company B left Fort Klamath, Ore., November 28, 1872, for the purpose of arresting "Captain Jack" and the leaders of his band of Modocs, and at daylight on the 29th surprised the Indians in their camp near Lost River, Ore. They refused to surrender and an engagement followed in which 8 Indians were killed and many wounded, and the camp, squaws, and property were captured. The company lost 2 men killed and 6 wounded, 2 of them mortally. The company then went into camp at Crowley's Ranch on Lost River opposite the Indian camp.
Company G from Fort Bidwell took station December 13, at Land's Ranch, Tule Lake, near the Indian stronghold. The Indians attacked this camp, December 21, and were repulsed, but not until 2 men and 5 horses had been killed. Company B now joined Company G and the two companies marched against the Indians, January 16, 1873, in conjunction with General Wheaton's column, with which was also serving at this time Company F and a detachment of Company H. The Indians attacked Companies B and G the same afternoon, but were repulsed, the companies losing
3 men wounded. The general engagement took place January 17, and lasted from 7.30 A. M. to 9.30 P. M., when the troops retired, going finally into camp at Applegate's Ranch, Clear Lake, Ore. The regiment lost two men killed and two officers,—Captain Perry and Lieutenant Kyle,—and 8 men wounded, one mortally.
The Indians attacked a wagon train January 22, driving away the escort, but Captain Bernard, 1st Cavalry, came up with reinforcements and the Indians were repulsed, losing one killed and many wounded.
Company K from Fort Halleck, Nev., joined the battalion February 18, which now consisted of Companies B, F, G and K, under Captain Biddle, who was soon succeeded by Captain Bernard. Colonel Gillem, 1st Cavalry was commanding the expedition, and Company H joined the column February 10.
During the night of April 14 the companies of the 1st Cavalry moved with the rest of the command to invest the Modoc stronghold, and in the "Second battle of the Lava Beds," April 15, 16 and 17, drove the Indians out of their position and into the rocks and mountains. The 1st Cavalry lost 2 men killed and 2 wounded.
On April 26 Companies B and F went to the scene of the "Thomas massacre" and brought off a number of the wounded and dead.
The same companies were attacked by Indians May 10, at Sorass Lake, Cal., but repulsed them with the loss of one warrior killed and 2 wounded. The command lost one killed and 6 wounded, 2 of them mortally.
On May 17 Companies B, G and K, with a battery (serving as cavalry) of the 4th Artillery, all under Major John Green, came upon a band of Modocs which they drove five miles, killing one and capturing several squaws and children. The troops followed the trail and on May 22, 70 Indians—men, women and children—surrendered. "Boston Charlie" was captured May 29, and on the 31st "Sconchin," "Scarfaced Charlie," and 27 other Indians surrendered.
Companies F and H were sent from Applegate's Ranch May 31 to follow up those of the Modocs who had eluded Green's command, and found them June 1st, when the whole party surrendered. With the capture of "Captain Jack," the Modoc war ended, and by the end of June the companies which had been engaged in it had returned to their proper stations.
The companies left in Arizona were moved north, and by the end of October, 1873, headquarters with Companies A and D were at Benicia Barracks; B at Fort Klamath; C at Camp McDermitt, Nev.; E at Fort Lapwai, I. T. -, F, L and M at Fort Walla Walla, W. T.; G at Camp Bidwell, Cal.; H and K at Camp Harney, Ore.; and I at Camp Halleck, Nev.
Colonel Gillem died at his residence in Nashville, Tenn., December 2, 1875, and was succeeded by Colonel Cuvier Grover, promoted from the 3d Cavalry.
On June 15, 1877, Companies F and H, under Captain Perry, were ordered to proceed to Camas Prairie to the assistance of the settlers of Mount Idaho, I. T., who were threatened by the Nez Percé Indians under Chief Joseph. Learning that the Indians were crossing Salmon River and could be taken at a disadvantage, the march was given that direction and Chief
Joseph's camp was found and taken by surprise, but the Indians quickly rallied and repulsed the troops with severe loss, Lieutenant E. W. Theller, 21st Infantry (attached), and 33 men being killed and two wounded.
All the companies of the regiment, except M at Colville and A at Camp Harney watching the Piutes, were now ordered into the field against the Nez Percés.
Companies E and L joined General Howard's command June 2l, and on July 1 surprised and attacked the camp of "Looking Glass" on the Clearwater, I. T. The village was entirely destroyed, several Indians killed and about a thousand ponies captured. On July 2 the same command attempted to form a junction with Company F, which was on its way from Lapwai. On the 3d the Indians ambushed the advanced guard, consisting of Lieutenant S. M. Rains, ten men of the battalion and two civilian scouts, killing them all, and were then found to be in such force and so strongly posted that it was considered imprudent to attack them. The junction with Company F was effected, however, on July 4, and the same afternoon the Indians attacked, the fight lasting until sunset. The battalion (E, F and L) joined General Howard at Grangerville, July 8. Company H had joined July 2, and the battalion was commanded by Captain David Perry.
On the 11th of July General Howard crossed the Clearwater with his whole command and moved down that stream with Company H in the advance. The Indian camp was discovered and at once attacked, the fight lasting two days and ending with the retreat of the Indians. Company B joined in time to take part in the fight on the 12th. The regiment lost 3 men killed and 4 wounded.
The battalion made a reconnoissance July 18, on the Lo-Lo trail, and the Indian scouts accompanying it were ambushed and met with considerable loss. One Nez Percé was killed.
Major Sanford's battalion, consisting of Companies C, D, I and K, joined General Howard on the Clearwater, July 28, and the expedition across the Lo-Lo trail began on the 30th. Companies B, C, I and K, under Major Sanford, accompanied it, and Companies D, E, G and L, with other troops under Major Green, constituted the " Reserve Column " which remained at Camas Prairie until August 5, when it moved near to Mount Idaho, and established a permanent camp called Camp Howard.
Companies F and H were stationed at Fort Lapwai.
General Howard's trying and "stern" march across the Lo-Lo trail, and the final surrender of Chief Joseph to General Miles at Bear Paw Mountains are matters of history. In the Indian attack at Camas Creek August 20, Companies B and L were engaged, losing one man killed and one wounded. At Judith Basin the battalion was detached from General Howard's command and directed to return, and all the companies had reached their stations by the end of November.
Company K and a detachment of C, attached to General Sturgis' command, took part in the engagement with the Nez Percés at Canyon Creek, M. T., September 13, 1877.
At the outbreak of the Bannock war in May, 1878, Company G was the first body of troops to reach the scene of hostilities, and Captain Bernard
reported that the Indians numbered from 300 to 500. They were moving towards Stein's Mountain, Ore. The whole of the First Cavalry was at once ordered into the field and Colonel Grover sent to Fort Boise to take charge of operations there. Companies D, I and K, were with him.
Companies F and L joined Company G on the Owyhee, June 17, and the three companies reached Camp Harney on the 21st, where they were joined by Company A. These four companies were designated the "Left Column" by General Howard.
On the morning of June 23 the Left Column struck the main camp of the hostiles on Silver Creek, and drove the Indians out of it and on to a cutbank, made by the creek, which had been prepared for defense. The action lasted into the night and in the morning it was found that the Indians had gone. Many Indians were killed and the camp was destroyed. The battalion lost 2 killed and 3 wounded. Company K joined the battalion June 27, and on the 28th the cavalry cut loose from the foot troops and pushed forward on the trail of the Indians. The fertile John Day Valley was saved in great part by this vigorous pursuit, and on July 5th General Howard overtook the command, arriving with it at Pilot Rock on the 7th. Here it was joined by Companies E and H. The Indian camp was located and at sunrise on July 8 Captain Bernard moved his battalion to the attack.
The Indians, about 300 in number, occupied the crest of the high and steep hills near Birch Creek, and were at once attacked. Captain Bernard giving the first example of fighting cavalry on foot without separating the men from the horses. All the companies, except A with the pack train, were deployed and used in the engagement, and the Indians were driven from three successive positions and finally four or five miles further into the mountains. Four men were wounded, one mortally, and probably 20 horses were killed. The enemy's loss could not be told; their women, children and best horses were sent off, seemingly towards the Grande Ronde, before the action began.
Lieutenant C. E. S. Wood, A. D. C., says: "The entire fight was closely watched by the general commanding, who desires to express his opinion that no troops ever behaved better or in a more soldierly manner than did the officers and men engaged in this encounter." The command camped for the night among the rough cañons adjacent to the battle-field.
Captain Bernard was now directed to take his command, except Company K, to Fort Walla Walla to refit. Company K was sent to join the infantry column and with it moved to the Umatilla Agency, near which the hostiles were reported to be. Here the Indians made an attack July 13. In the ensuing fight Company K held the right of the line and took part in the final charge by which the Indians were driven off the field and for three miles into the hills. At the request of the Indian Agent the command moved back to the agency that night, but two days later seven dead Indians were counted upon the battle-field.
Companies A, E, F, G, H and I, now under Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Forsyth, 1st Cavalry, left Fort Walla Walla July 13—the day of the fight at Umatilla Agency—in search of the Indians, who were found to be travelling in the direction of John Day River. On the 20th Forsyth's scouts were
ambushed, which caused a halt and deployment of the command, but when the line moved forward the Indians had gone. On the 22d the battalion reached 11 Burnt Meadows," where it was joined by Companies D and I, under Major Sanford, and on the 27th it went into camp at Malheur Agency to await supplies. The hostiles had now split up into many small parties which were followed up and nearly all ultimately captured.
During the months of September and October the companies were sent to their permanent stations, and the return for November 30 shows Companies A and E at Camp Harney, Ore.; B, D, F, K and M, at Fort Walla Walla, W. T.; C at Camp Bidwell, Cal.; G at Fort Boise, L T.; H at Fort Colville, W. T.; I at Camp Halleck, Nev., and L at Fort Klamath, Ore.
In the year 1881 Companies C, G, I and M were sent to Arizona, and on October 2, Company G, with other troops, was in action near Cedar Springs with Apaches. The hostiles fought with great boldness and desperation and the fight lasted until 9 P. M., when the Indians escaped. Company G had two men wounded and 12 horses killed.
On the 4th of October Companies G and I had a running fight near South Pass of the Dragoon Mountains, in which the hostiles were followed into Sonora, Mexico.
In October, 1881, the "Companies" began to be designated "Troops" on the Regimental Return.
Troop G returned to Fort McDermott, November 9; Troop I to Camp Halleck, December 27; Troop M to the Presidio of San Francisco, January 20, 1882; and Troop C to Fort Bidwell, April 16.
In June, 1884, the regiment was transferred to the Department of Dacota, after a tour of nearly 30 years on the Pacific coast, during the greater part of which time its stations were remote from civilization and its duties of a most arduous and thankless character.
Headquarters and Troops D, G 1, K and M, went to Fort Custer; A, C and F went to Fort Maginnis; E to Fort Ellis; H and L to Fort Assinniboine; and B to Fort Keogh.
Colonel Grover died at Atlantic City, N. J., June 5, 1885, and was succeeded by Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, promoted from the 9th Cavalry.
Conflict with the "Crows" came in the fall of 1887, and on the morning of November 4, Colonel Dudley left Fort Custer with Troops A, B, D, E, G and K, and Company B, 3d Infantry, with a section of Hotchkiss guns, to arrest "Sword Bearer" and the Indians who had fired into the agency buildings on the night of September 30.
On the 5th a demand was made upon the Indians for the surrender of these men, and they were given an hour and a half to comply with the demand. At the end of that time the battalion of the 1st Cavalry, with Moylan's troop of the 7th Cavalry on the right, moved out in front of camp. At the same time a 'great commotion was observed in the Indian camp, and "Sword Bearer" and another chief dashed out leading from 120 to 150 warriors equipped for battle. The Indians charged but were repulsed and fell back into the timber along, the river where they had dug many rifle pits from which they now kept up a constant fire. This fire was returned, and "Sword Bearer" was seen to fall, when all fighting quickly ceased. All
the Indians whose surrender had been demanded and who had not been killed were at once brought in and delivered to the Department Commander, who sent them to Fort Snelling. The cavalry battalion returned to Fort Custer on the 13th.
Colonel Dudley was retired from active service August 20, 1889, and was succeeded by Colonel J. S. Brisbin, promoted from the 9th Cavalry. On the 31st of December of that year Headquarters and Troops B, D, E, G and M, were at Fort Custer; A and L at Fort Maginnis; C, F and H at Fort Assinniboine; I at Fort Leavenworth; and K at Camp Sheridan, Wyoming.
In April, 1890, the Cheyennes assumed a threatening attitude and their agent called upon the commanding officer of Fort Custer for protection, who sent Major Carrol with Troops B, D and M to the Tongue River Agency where they established Camp Crook. In September a white boy was murdered by "Head Chief" and "Young Mule," and every attempt to arrest the murderers failed. On the 11th they sent word that they would attack the agency and on the 12th made their appearance on a hill commanding the agency buildings where they opened fire upon them. They were soon dislodged and killed.
The regiment took part in the operations against the hostile Sioux in the winter of 1890-91, but was not brought into actual contact with them.
In December, 1890, word having been received that a troop of cavalry was surrounded by hostile Indians at or near Cave Hills, Montana, Troop A made one of the most remarkable marches on record in going to its relief. It marched 186 miles, 95 of which were made in 25 hours, and 170 in 53½ hours. The report which caused such tremendous exertion proved to be without foundation.
On the 22d of April, 1891, Colonel Brisbin was transferred to the 8th Cavalry with Colonel A. K. Arnold who had been the lieutenant colonel and now became the colonel of the First.
In 1892 the regiment was transferred to the Department of Arizona, relieving the 10th Cavalry. Headquarters and Troops C, E, F, H and K, going to Fort Grant, A. T.; B and I to Fort Bayard, N. M.; D to Fort Apache, A. T.; and G to San Carlos. Troop A was at Fort Meyers, Va., and was not moved. Since its arrival in Arizona the regiment has not been engaged in any serious Indian difficulties, although the several troops have been kept in practice in field work by that ever active and elusive " Kid," who has been responsible, for more movements of troops than any Indian ever known.*
* In the preparation of this paper I have confined myself almost entirely to the regimental records, but have received much valuable information from General P. St. George Cooke, Colonel A. K. Arnold, Major Moses Harris, Captain T. T. Knox, Captain F. A. Edwards, Lieutenant A. L. Mills and Lieutenant W. S. Scott, to all of whom I am very grateful.
R. P. P.W.
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