1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
THE TWENTY-SECOND REGIMENT OF INFANTRY
By CAPTAIN OSKALOOSA M. SMITH, C. S., U. S. ARMY. (LATE FIRST LIEUTENANT 22D INFANTRY.)
Captain Oskaloosa M. Smith
The following is a concise history of the 22nd
Infantry Regiment during the Indian Wars, written by a former
officer of the Regiment.
Though it is rather short, considering it covers thirty years of history, it remains as the only detailed account of any kind,
concerning the 22nd Infantry during those times.
Streamer for Indian Wars Campaigns
THE 22d Regiment of Infantry was originally the Second Battalion of the 13th Infantry, (a regiment of three battalions of eight companies each) which was organized by direction of the President, May 4, 1861, and confirmed by Act of Congress of July 29, 1861. It became the 22d Infantry under the Act of Congress of July 28, 1866, which act reorganized the Army of the United States. It is not the intention in this short sketch to go into the history of the regiment prior to its reorganization in 1866, as its previous services will no doubt be shown in the history of the 13th Infantry, further than to say that official records show that during the War of the Rebellion it participated in the following battles, viz.: Chickasaw Bayou, Miss., December 29, 1862; Arkansas Post, Ark., January 11, 1863; Walnut Hills, Miss., May 19; Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., which culminated July 4; Colliersville, Tenn., October 11; Missionary Ridge, Tenn., November 24 and 25, 1863. Many of the officers of the original 13th Infantry had varied and peculiar records, the most noted and distinguished of which were those of the first colonel, William T. Sherman, and one of the original captains, Philip H. Sheridan, each of whom in turn became General of and commanded the Army of the United States.
In looking over the names of the original officers of that regiment, we find only three remaining upon the active list; some have been retired from service, others are in civil life, and many have heard the last tattoo.
In the organization of the 22d Infantry the field officers were Brevet Major-General David S. Stanley, colonel; Brevet Colonel Elwell S. Otis, lieutenant-colonel; Brevet Colonel Alexander Chambers, major. The regiment was reorganized in May, 1869, by the consolidation with it of the 31st Infantry, under the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1869. The field officers remained the same except that Brevet Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler was assigned as major, vice Chambers, who was transferred to the 10th Infantry.
The regiment no longer has in its midst the other field officers mentioned. Stanley is a brigadier-general, Otis is colonel of the 20th Infantry and Whistler, who became colonel of the 15th Infantry, is retired from active service. There were, as the years passed on, numerous changes among the field officers, but only one in the grade of colonel. General Stanley was succeeded by Colonel Peter T. Swaine, who was promoted from lieutenant-colonel 15th Infantry.
As the 31st Infantry, which originally was the 3d Battalion of the 13th Infantry, was embodied in the 22d Infantry in the consolidation of 1869, one-half the officers and all of the enlisted men of the 31st joining the new 22d, a brief synopsis of the history of that regiment will appear in these pages. The consolidation of the companies of the two regiments to form "the new 22d Infantry " was effected by consolidating the companies of the 22dA and I becoming A; B and K, B; C and F, C; D and E, D; G and H, H. 31st Infantry Companies B and E, E; F and H, F; C and G, G; D and I, I; A and K, K.
In April, 1866, the 2d Battalion, 13th Infantry, was concentrated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas ; on the 26th of that month it left for the upper Missouri River taking station as follows: Headquarters and Companies A and B at Fort Randall; C, E and H, Fort Sully; D, Fort Dakota; F, Fort James; G, Fort Thompson, all in Dakota Territory. Companies I and K were organized at Fort Ward, Bedloe's Island, N. Y., October 2, 1866, (this after the designation had been changed to 22d Infantry) and left the same day, via Fort Leavenworth, for Fort Randall, where they took station.
The 3d Battalion, 13th Infantry, was organized at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and left that post for the upper Missouri River April 21, 1866, taking station: Headquarters and Companies B, E, F, G and H at Fort Rice; A, Fort Sully; C, Fort Buford; D, Fort Berthold, all in Dakota Territory. Company C, at Fort Buford, which at that time was nothing more than a camp, had seventy enlisted men, and there were only two officers with itCapt. W. G. Rankin and Lieut. H. H. Ketchum, who was detached from the 2d Battalion. Their orders were to build a post; the only tools they had to do it with were the company axes. The second night after arrival the camp was attacked by Indians, who were driven away, but at the expense of one soldier wounded. The next day the Indians attacked and attempted to drive off the herd of beef cattle, but were repulsed and two Indians killed. The Indian attacks upon the camp were of almost daily occurrence during the summer and fall. Parties of men cutting and rafting logs from the mouth of the Yellowstone were often attacked and driven to camp, where, being joined by other men of the company, the Indians were driven off, the fighting lasting from two to six hours, often with loss on both sides.
Three civilian wood choppers in government employ having been killed at the mouth of the Yellowstone, Lieut. Ketchum, with sixty men, repaired to the spot, drove off the Indians and recovered the bodies with slight loss to his detachment. These were trying times, for the Indians, having been heavily reinforced, boldly boasted that they intended to annihilate the soldiers. During that winter the post was besieged by Indians; the troops were virtually cut off from water (the Missouri River) and had to sink wells near the quarters. Several times during the winter rumors reached the States that the garrison had been massacred, for in that time only one or two mails had been received at and sent from the camp, so it was spring before the people in the East knew what the real condition of affairs had been. Captain Rankin's wife spent that winter in camp, bravely enduring the hardship and danger incident thereto. Company I was organized at Fort Wood, and Kat Fort Columbus, N. Y., October 3,1866 (this after the designation had been changed to 31st Infantry), leaving the same day for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where they remained until May, 1867, when they moved to Dakota. Shortly after that the regiment was stationed with Headquarters and Companies H and I at Fort Stevenson; Companies A, D and K at Fort Totten; Companies B, C, E, F and G, at Fort Buford. That regiment built the posts mentioned, and Buford and Stevenson, under great difficulties. The working detachments carried their arms with them and oftentimes the Indians pounced upon them, causing them to leave their work, fall into line and open fire upon the enemy. Building logs were obtained under great hardship several miles distant from the posts, large escorts were sent with the wagons, and many men while on that duty were killed and wounded in fights with the Sioux Indians. The troops lived in tents until late in the winter of 1867. There was deep snow before they moved into their quarters and they got in none too soon at Stevenson and Totten, as a severe snowstorm came upon them, lasting three or four days; the wind was fierce and the weather extremely cold. Officers and soldiers were kept in their quarters for several days. At Stevenson the fuel in some of the quarters gave out and the officers burned their furniture to keep from freezing. A wagon train loaded with lumber and canned goods en route from Fort Abercrombie to Totten was forced to stop on the Cheyenne River, and to keep from freezing and starving the men burned the lumber and ate a large quantity of the canned articles.
Mails were received in the winter once in ten days at some of the posts; once a month at the more distant ones. They were carried on sleds drawn by large dogs, usually three in tandem, half-breeds being employed for this service. In the summer they were carried by soldiers. It was a very dangerous service between Rice, Stevenson and Buford, and between Totten and Stevenson. Those sections were infested by hostile Indians who oftentimes attacked the mail parties and many men were killed in that service. In the beautiful spring of 1868, after a hard winter, a party of soldiers left Totten with the mail for Stevenson, in high spirits, anticipating an enjoyable trip and a meeting with friends at the distant post. About midway between the two posts the party was attacked by a large number of Sioux Indians and every man killed. A rescuing party found their bodies stripped of clothing and mutilated. On June 10th, the same year, Capt. Albert M. Powell, a brave and accomplished officer of the regiment who rendered good service during the war as chief of artillery of the 17th Army Corps, was killed by being thrown from a vicious horse.
In the meantime the 22d was building Forts Sully and Rice; repairing and adding new buildings to Fort Randall under difficulties similar to those above recited. Detachments also occupied Indian Agencies where they had to build shelter. All of those posts were from time to time attacked by Indians. In the summer of 1868 a large number of Sioux Indians attacked the guard with the cattle herd at Fort Buford. The guard, including two or three officers who joined it on horseback, fought desperately, but were overpowered, Lieutenant Cusick having been wounded and several men killed or wounded, and the cattle stampeded and driven off. This was so sudden and the work so quickly done that the infantry could not get on the ground in time to take part in it. Lieutenant Hogan followed the Indians with men in wagons (there were only enough horses at the post for a small detachment) and had some skirmishing with them, but could not recapture the cattle.
At that time there was not one mile of railway in Dakota or Montana and not more than two or three state lines in the two territories; most of the military travelling was done with Government transportation. The railway had not reached Sioux City, Iowa; St. Cloud, Minn., 75 miles distant from St. Paul, was the western terminus of the railroad from that place. At this date everybody knows that there are several thousand miles of railway in Montana and the two Dakotas, and all military posts in those States are within reasonable distance of it. As an instance of how difficult it was to go from one post to another in those times when travelling without military escort, in 1870 three officers of the 22d Infantry being ordered from Fort Sully to Totten,a distance, as the crow flies, of about 250 miles,had to go via Sioux City, Chicago and St. Paul, travelling 1633 miles3266 miles in the round trip. With the railroad facilities, of the present day, the distance as usually travelled is about 450 miles.
|In the summer of 1870 the 17th Infantry, under command of General T. J. Crittenden, went up the Missouri River and part of the regiment took station at Rice, relieving the companies of the 22d at that post. The headquarters and several companies of the 17th were stationed for some time at Sully, and we thus had two regimental headquarters, including bands, at the post, which made it one of the gayest and liveliest posts in the United States. Finally that regiment took station at posts along the river above Sully, and the 22d occupied Sully, under command of the colonel, with Companies A, E, F and H; and Randall, under command of the lieutenant-colonel, with Companies B, C, D and G. Company I was sent to Crow Creek Indian Agency and K to Lower Brulé Agency, which are situated about eight miles apart and about midway between Sully and Randall, Crow Creek on the left and Brulé on the right bank of the Missouri. There those companies constructed with soldier labor substantial one-company posts. At the end of nine months affairs were so quiet at Crow Creek that Company I was withdrawn to Sully, and the military buildings were transferred to the Indian Department for school purposes and to this day are used in that way.||
Officers of the 22nd Infantry
In the fall of 1871 the first expedition to the Yellowstone River, as escort to Gen. T. J. Rosser's surveying party of the projected Northern Pacific Railway, was organized at and started from Fort Rice. The column was composed of Companies D and H, 17th; B, 20th; and A, C, H and I, 22d Infantry; two Gatling guns and twenty-six Indian scouts, all under command of Bvt. Col. J. N. G. Whistler. The transportation consisted of 104 wagons. The expedition marched from Rice, September 9; reached the Yellowstone, at the mouth of Glendive Creek near where the town of Glendive is now situated, October 2; from there returned to Rice, arriving on the 16th, having marched over 600 miles. Some days the marches were short, others as many as twenty miles were made, and from time to time, a day was spent in camp resting. The companies returned to their posts from Rice by steamer, resuming garrison duty and the ordinary detached service until July, 1872, when a larger expedition to the Yellowstone, under command of Bvt. Maj.- Gen. D. S. Stanley, was organized at Fort Rice. General Rosser continued in charge of the engineers. The Headquarters and Companies D, F and G, 22d; A, B, C, F, H and K, 8th; A and F, 17th Infantry, and a detachment of Indian scouts took part in the expedition, which marched from Rice, July 26, arriving at the mouth of Powder River, August 18. On the afternoon of that day General Stanley accompanied by several officers was having a parley with a party of Indians headed by Gaul, who stood upon the opposite bank of the river, when suddenly the Indians treacherously opened fire upon the group; strange to say not an officer was hit. A detachment of troops rallied to the spot and the Indians beat a retreat. Thence the command marched back to Cabin Creek, encountering the Indians in skirmishes; O'Fallon's Creek, August 21 and 22, and arrived at Rice, October 15, except Captain Miner's company, which was detained a few days longer with some of the engineers and then marched to that post. During the summer the troops had marched over 1000 miles. Among the casualties were 1st Lieut. Eben Crosby, 17th Infantry, killed by Indians, October 5, and 1st Lieut. Lewis D. Adair, 22d Infantry, who served gallantly during the war as an officer of Ohio volunteers, died the same day of wounds received at the hands of the Indians. General Stanley's colored servant, Steve, a faithful man, was killed about the same time.
22nd Infantry camp on the Yellowstone
River, near Glendive Creek, Montana
Photo of a contemporary watercolor.
In May, 1873, the third expedition to the Yellowstone was organized at Fort Rice and again commanded by General Stanley. The composition of it was: Troops A, B, C, E, F, G, H, K, L, M, 7th Cavalry; Companies C, 6th; B, C, F, H, 8th; A, D, E, F, H, I, 9th; A, B, H, 17th; Headquarters and B, E, H, I, K, 22d Infantry, and a detachment of Indian scouts. This expedition, accompanied by a large wagon train loaded with supplies, left Rice, June 20, arriving at the point of crossing of the Yellowstone, about fifteen miles above where the town of Glendive is now located, July 31, thence proceeded up the left bank of the river as far as Pompey's Pillar, but not without opposition from the Indians, who evidently had concluded that the surveying had gone far enough. On August 4th, just opposite to where Fort Keogh now stands, they attacked the advance guard, killing the veterinary surgeon, sutler and one soldier of the 7th Cavalry, which dashing regiment pursued the savages for several miles, killing a number of them. On August 11th, the Indians were again encountered by the cavalry opposite the mouth of the Big Horn River and a desperate fight ensued with loss of life on both sides. Lieut. Charles Braden, 7th Cavalry, was severely wounded. Lieut. H. H. Ketchum, adjutant 22d Infantry and adjutant-general of the expedition, who was temporarily with General Custer then commanding the 7th Cavalry, had his horse shot under him. Upon the approach of the infantry the Indians abandoned the field. That night the battalion of the 22d occupied the advance posts and exchanged shots with the Indians, who tried to approach the camp, probably to stampede the horses, mules and cattle herd. During the afternoon of that day the artillery detachment, which was composed of men of the 22d and commanded by Lieutenant Webster, was obliged to shell the timber along the bank of the Yellowstone to dislodge a large body of Indians, who were evidently preparing to impede the next day's march. They were dispersed and seen again only in small parties, one of which fired into the camp at Pompey's Pillar and then beat a hasty retreat, having done no damage. From Pompey's Pillar the expedition marched to the Musselshell river, thence to the Great Porcupine, following it until the Yellowstone was again reached. This was a new and unexplored country and it was a very difficult thing to take a large command and wagon train through it. There was a great deal of hardship, especially from frequently having to drink alkaline water and sometimes having no water at all. The command marched into Fort Lincoln, arriving there September 22d, thence the companies proceeded to their respective stations. They had marched during the expedition over twelve hundred miles and returned in excellent physical condition.
Model 1873 caliber .45/70 Springfield rifle
Standard issue rifle for the 22nd Infantry from 1873-1892
Also known as the "Trapdoor Springfield"
.45/70 caliber cartridges for the Springfield rifle
A large and powerful cartridge, the
.45/70 in the Model 1873 rifle was reasonably accurate
out to a range of about 600 yards.
The following year was a happy one to the regiment, as it was ordered to exchange stations with the 1st Infantry. This was accomplished in July, and stations were taken as follows: Headquarters and Companies D, F, and H, at Fort Wayne (Detroit), Michigan; A, Madison Barracks (Sackett's Harbor), N. Y.; B and K, Fort Porter (Buffalo), N. Y.; C and G, Fort Brady (Sault Ste. Marie); E, Fort Mackinac; I, Fort Gratiot, Mich. This was a new and happy experience for the regiment which had been so long on the northwestern frontier, but it was not to last long without interruption. On the evening of September 16 telegraphic orders came for Companies A, B, D, F, H, I and K to repair without delay to New Orleans to aid in maintaining the peace which had been broken by a complication of affairs, one of the principal elements being the organization known as the White League. The companies were packed and ready to start by midnight, and took the train early on the morning of the 17th, reaching New Orleans on the night of the 20th. It had been intimated that the duty would be of ten days' duration, instead of which it lasted eight monthsuntil May, 1875the battalion quartering from time to time in various parts of the city and at Greenville, one of its suburbs. Companies A and K were for a time at Jackson Barracks. Early in July, 1876, the news of the Custer massacre was flashed through the country, and the 22d Infantry was again placed under marching orders from the lake stations to go to the field. Never before or since were the troops at those stations sent on active service, but it appeared to be the fate of the 22d to remain in repose for short intervals only. On July 4 the companies at Fort Wayne participated in the parade at Detroit; on the 11th, except Company A which remained at Wayne, they left to join General Terry's command at the mouth of the Rosebud, Montana, being joined at Fort Lincoln by the other companies ordered out, the battalion then consisting of Companies E, F, G, H, I and K, Lieut.-Col. E. S. Otis in command. In a few days the steamboat Carroll was sent to take the battalion and a detachment of recruits for the 7th Cavalry to the Rosebud. On July 29, when the boat was passing the mouth of Powder River, the Indians in large number from the right bank of the Yellowstone made a vigorous attack upon it. The troops responded promptly and the boat was landed and two or three companies sent onshore. The fight lasted some time, engaged in by the troops on the boat as well as those on shore, until the Indians were driven back into the hills, with what loss we never knew. Their camp was taken possession of and burned, a few firearms and other trophies being found and taken on the boat. There were two or three soldiers slightly wounded.
On August 1 the battalion arrived at General Terry's camp, where it remained until the 7th. The next day it marched with General Terry's command up the Rosebud. The valley of the lower Rosebud is very rough and the marches were short and difficult. In the forenoon of the 10th there was great excitement, as a heavy dust was seen rising some two or three miles in our front and horsemen riding around. Reports went down the line that we were approaching the hostiles and an engagement was expected within a few a minutes, when W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) with some Indian scouts came within recognizing distance and informed us that General Crook's column was marching down the valley. That night the two columns camped together. The battalion was kept constantly on the march following Indian trails along the Rosebud, Tongue and Powder rivers and affluent streams, then crossed to the north of the Yellowstone and marched to the rugged ridge which divides its waters from those of the Missouri. Seeing no signs of Indians it moved in the direction of Glendive Creek and camped opposite the mouth of that stream on the bank of the Yellowstone, August 31, where the campaign ended. The battalion of the 22d, and Companies C and G, 17th Infantry, having received orders to remain in Montana during the winter, commenced constructing huts for winter quarters, some of the companies being constantly on the road escorting supply trains to the cantonment at the mouth, of the Tongue River now Fort Keogh. In September Companies E and F were ordered to Custer Creek, and early in October they went to Tongue River for station.
On October 10th an escort to a wagon train, consisting of Companies C, 17th, and G, H and K, 22d Infantry, left Glendive for the cantonment on Tongue River; that night camp was made on Spring Creek, about fourteen miles distant. At three o'clock the next morning the camp was attacked, with a galling fire, by a large number of Indians, which attack was repulsed, but the mules became excited and many of them broke loose, over forty of them escaping from the corral, and failing into the hands of, the Indians. The train was so crippled and the Indian force increased so in numbers by recruits, that the command was compelled to return to Glendive. Upon the return of the train, Col. E. S. Otis, the commanding officer at Glendive, reorganized it and on the 14th set out with it for Tongue River, with a command consisting of Companies C and G, 17th, and G, H and K. 22d Infantry. At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 15th, fifteen miles above Glendive, it was attacked by about one thousand Indians, and a desperate fight ensued lasting until 7 o'clock in the evening, during which time the train advanced several miles until, reaching a high plateau, it went into camp. The Indians practised every artifice to capture the train, among other things setting the prairie on fire, through which the troops and train had to pass. Considerable damage was inflicted upon the Indians, but the exact facts were never ascertained. Several men of the escort were wounded, but none killed. Private Donahoe, Company G, who was wounded July 29th, was again wounded in this fight. It was expected that the Indians would renew their attack in the morning, for we knew they were not far distant and by the first light could see them mounted in large numbers on our left flank. Shortly after the journey had been resumed a runner approached and left a written communication upon a hill to the front, which was taken to Colonel Otis by a scout; it read as follows :
I want to know what you are doing travelling on this road. You scare all the buffalo away. I want to hunt on the place. I want you to turn back from here. If you don't I'll fight you again. I want you to leave what you have got here, and turn back from here. I am your friend, "SITTING BULL.
"I mean all the rations you have got and sonic powder. Wish you would write as soon as you can."
The above was written by a half breed well known to the 22d, who had cast his fortunes with Sitting Bull.
Colonel Otis sent word through one of his scouts that he intended to take the train through to Tongue River and would be pleased to accommodate them at any time with a fight. The Indians gathered again as if to commence battle, when presently a party bearing a flag of truce approached our lines and after a parley they concluded that they were tired of fighting and wished to arrange for a surrender. Colonel Otis very graphically describes this fight in his official report, which is published in the annual report of the General of the Army of 1876. In concluding it he says: "I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men. The officers obeyed instructions with alacrity and executed their orders with great efficiency. They fought the enemy twelve hours and fired during that time upwards of seven thousand rounds of ammunition. They defeated a strong enemy who had defiantly placed himself across our trail with the deliberate purpose of capturing the train, and gave him a lesson he will heed and never forget."
Shortly after the return of the battalion to Glendive, Colonel Otis was ordered to duty at regimental headquarters, Brevet Col. A. L. Hough succeeding him in command. In the latter part of December, 1876, Companies E and F participated in General Miles' successful expedition against the hostile Indians who were with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in the Big Horn Mountains. They returned to Tongue River January 18, 1877, having greatly suffered in their camps and marches from the snow and very inclement weather. There were some casualties in those companies resulting from their fights with Indians, the most distressing being the severe wound of Private Bernard McCann, Company F, from which, after great agony, he died the next day.
Coat and hat made out of
Photo from the Marlakins website
Continued on next page.................
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