1st Battalion 22nd Infantry



William Hudson Kell

22nd Infantry 1872-1899


William H. Kell




William H. Kell was born in Steubenville, Ohio on April 18, 1841, the son of John and Mariah Kell.

His father John was a veteran of the War with Mexico. Between 1856 and 1861 John Kell was living in
Franklin, Ohio and formed a company of militia with himself as their Captain. Because of the color of
their uniforms the company was known as the Franklin Greys. When the Civil War began the company was
mustered into federal service as Company F 1st Ohio Vounteer Infantry. On April 16, 1861 John Kell enlisted
in federal service as a Captain and on April 29, 1861 was appointed Captain of Company F 1st Ohio
Volunteeer Infantry.

His son William H. Kell enlisted on April 17, 1861 in Company F 1st Ohio Volunteeer Infantry and served
as a Private in his father's Company. When the Company's temporary service of three months expired
John Kell was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry on August 6, 1861.
His son William enlisted in Company I 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry on September 4, 1862.

On December 24, 1862 John Kell was promoted to Colonel. One week later he was killed in action at the Battle of
Stones River, Tennessee while leading his Regiment from the front. His son William was thus serving under his
father's command again when his father was killed.

William continued to serve in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry until October 20, 1864 when he was transferred to
Company E 18th Ohio Infantry. He finished the war with that unit, being mustered out after the end of the war on
June 10, 1865.

In 1872 William H. Kell wrote to the President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant and requested he be given
a commission in the United States Army. Kell listed his service as an enlisted man during four years of war and
the fact that he was the son of a Regimental Commander who had been killed in action during the war. Grant
agreed to the request and on December 12, 1872 William H. Kell was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant
in the 22nd Infantry.

Kell formally accepted the commission on January 20, 1873 and was officially assigned to Company K 22nd Infantry
with date of rank and assignment of December 12, 1872. He did not immediately join his Company as he was designated
as being on Detached Service and ordered to report to the Superintendent of the General Recruiting Service at New York City,
New York on January 25, 1873. Kell was on Detached Service at Newport Barracks, Kentucky until June 1, 1873 when he
joined Company K 22nd Infantry in the field on the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873.

From July to September 1873 Kell was temporarily attached to Company I. He was absent with leave from February 25
to March 18, 1874. Upon returning from leave he was on Detached Service temporarily attached to Company A at Fort Rice,
Dakota Territory from March 18 to July 4, 1874. He was on Special Duty with Company B at Fort Porter, New York from
July 11 to September 3, 1874. He then rejoined Company K at Greenville, New Orleans, Louisiana and commanded the
Company from December 27, 1874 to January 16, 1875 when he became the Post Adjutant at the Greenville camp and
in February was the Battalion Adjutant at the State House in New Orleans. In April he was back with Company K at
Jackson Barracks, New Orleans.

In May 1875 Kell moved with his Company to Fort Brady, Michigan. In June he moved with his Company to Fort Porter,
New York where he commanded the Company from June 10 to July 28. He was absent with leave from October 1 to 31, 1875.

In May 1876 Kell moved with his Company back to Fort Brady, Michigan. From June 1 to July 11, 1876 he was detailed as
Acting Assistant Quartermaster at Fort Brady.

He was with his Company in the field on the Sioux Expedition from July 14 to July 21, 1876. For the next year he was
with the Company based out of the Camp at Glendive Creek as it carried out forays and escort duty on operations
against the Sioux and Cheyenne in Montana.

Kell was with Company K during the battles at Spring Creek from October 10 to 16, 1876 and was later awarded a Brevet
promotion for his heroic actions during those encounters.

He continued with his Company on operations in Montana into July 1877 when he went on Detached Service temporary duty
with Company E at Chicago, Illinois during the railroad strike there. In August 1877 he was with Company K at Wilkes Barre,
Pennsylvania during the mining strike and from September 3 to September 24 he was on Special Duty at Camp Hancock,
Pennsylvania commanding Company G 22nd Infantry.

In October 1877 Kell was with his Company at Fort Brady. In November he was assigned as Post Treasurer at Fort Brady.
He was on Special Duty at Fort Mackinac, Michigan from April 14 to 26, 1878, June 1 to 8, 1878 and July 16 to 21, 1878.
He was absent with leave from September 3 to November 4, 1878.

On May 9, 1879 he was relieved of his duty as Post Treasurer and from May 19 to June 1 he was on Detached Service at
Vinita, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) as Commander of the Guard there. He rejoined his Company at the Camp near Coffeville,
Kansas where he became the Post Adjutant and Acting Assistant Quartermaster.

On July 30, 1879 Kell joined Company H at Fort McKavett, Texas with a promotion to 1st Lieutenant, his date of rank
officially being June 25, 1879. During September he was on Detached Service at Fort Griffin, Texas. He assumed command
of Company H on October 16 at Fort McKavett and was relieved from command on December 4 at Fort Clark, Texas, the
Company having moved there in November.

In February 1880 he was with his Company at the Camp on Pecos River and in March 1880 he and Company H were back
at Fort Clark. He was absent on sick leave from April 4 to May 24, 1880. From June 29 to August 23, 1880 he was on
Special Duty commanding Company D at Fort McKavett.

On September 8, 1880 Kell assumed command of Company H when Captain Dewitt C. Poole was assigned to recruiting duty.
Kell would command Company H for most of the next three years while Poole was on extended duty with the Recruiting
Service in the Eastern United States.

Kell was on Detached Service on hunting expedition from November 10 to 21, 1880 and again on April 12 to 21, 1881.
He was absent on sick leave from October 20 to December 10, 1881. He moved with Company H to San Antonio, Texas
in March 1882 and was Post Adjutant there from June until July 11. In November 1882 he and his Company moved to
Fort Lewis, Colorado.

He was relieved of command of Company H on October 27, 1883 when Hiram H. Ketchum was promoted to Captain
and assumed command of the Company. Kell took command of Company H from October 22 to November 2, 1884 when
Ketchum was on Detached Service at Fort Bayard, New Mexico.

Kell temporarily commanded Company G from April 17 to 23, 1885. He was also the Post Adjutant at Fort Lewis from
June 6 to 24, 1885. He was absent with leave from August 8 to November 14, 1885. He commanded Company H from
November 14, 1885 to March 31, 1886 while Ketchum was out on leave. From September 28 to October 5, 1886 Kell
was on Detached Service on a hunting expedition.


Three officers of the 22nd Infantry at Lone Lake, summit of Needles Mountain, Colorado ca. 1885.
Left to right: 1st Lieutenant William H. Kell, Captain Charles W. Miner, 2nd Lieutenant Frank B. Jones.

Photo taken by Christian Barthelmess of the 22nd Infantry
From the book   Photographer On An Army Mule  
by Maurice Frink with Casey E. Barthelmess
University of Oklahoma Press 1965




On February 1, 1887 Kell became the Regimental Adjutant of the 22nd Infantry, a position he would hold for the next
four years. On that date he also became the Post Adjutant at Fort Lewis.

On April 17, 1888 he was transferred with the Regimental Staff to Fort Lyon, Colorado. On June 6, 1888 he moved to
Fort Keogh, Montana where he also became the Post Adjutant and in July also assumed the duties of the Post Recruiting
Officer. On July 18, 1889 he temporarily became the Provost Marshall and commanded a group of Indian Scouts out of
Fort Keogh. He was in the field at the camp of instruction from August 18 to September 22, 1889. In October he was
relieved of his duties from the Indian Scouts and as Provost Marshall. He was absent with leave from December 6, 1889
to February 6, 1890.

On February 27, 1890 the Army officially awarded Kell with his Brevet Promotion award to 1st Lieutenant for his
actions during the Battle of Spring Creek in October 1876. Even though Kell had been promoted to 1st Lieutenant
eleven years earlier this Brevet was entered into his record in 1890 in much the same way that today a medal for
valor or meritorious service would be added.


Above: The entry from the Official Army Register of 1895 showing the award of the Brevet to William H. Kell.



From March 7 to April 5, 1890 Kell again temporarily became the Provost Marshall and commanded a group of Indian Scouts
out of Fort Keogh. On February 1, 1891 his term as Regimental Adjutant expired and he was assigned to Company K.


Above: 22nd Infantry Headquarters Orders No. 12 dated February 1, 1891 relieving William H. Kell
of his position as Regimental Adjutant. In the orders Regimental Commander Peter T. Swaine gives
a glowing testimonial to Kell's service as Adjutant.

From Frohne's Historic Military website




On March 16, 1891 Kell appeared before the examining board for promotion and on May 19, 1891 he was promoted to Captain
and given command of Company A 22nd Infantry. He joined Company A at Fort Abraham Lincoln, North Dakota on June 7, 1891.

Kell was assigned to recruiting service on September 1, 1891 at Portland, Maine. While still on this duty he was officially transferred
to Company I which was then at Fort Yates, North Dakota. He remained absent from his Company on recruiting service being stationed
at Concord, New Hampshire in December 1891; at Portsmouth, New Hampshire in April 1892; at Altoona, Pennsylvania in July 1892;
and at Grand Rapids, Michigan in December 1892.

He was relieved from recruiting service on September 30, 1893 and took leave until October 19 when he joined Company I at
Fort Keogh. On November 20, 1893 he was transferred to command of Company C at Fort Keogh.

From April to July 1894 Kell commanded Company C at Helena, Montana in connection with railroad protection duty during the
anticipated troubles with the dissident protesters known as Coxey's Army. He was on Detached Service on a hunting expedition
out of Fort Keogh from September 15 to 20, 1894.

He moved with his Company to Camp Merritt, Montana where he commanded his Company and was also the Camp Commander
from April 23 to October 29, 1895. He was absent with leave from November 10, 1895 to February 8, 1896. From March 15 to 27
he was sick in his quarters at Fort Keogh.

Kell moved with his Company and the Regiment to Fort Crook, Nebraska in June 1896. He commanded 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
on a practice march from August 20 to September 12, 1896. He was absent with leave from November 5 to December 4, 1896.
From early January to March 19, 1897 in addition to commanding Company C he also commanded 1st Battalion.

Kell commanded and led 1st Battalion on a practice march from September 1 to 17, 1897.


September 1, 1897

Company C as the advance guard on a practice march of 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry from Fort Crook to Schuyler, Nebraska, a distance
of about 75 miles. Kell is one of those three officers leading the column but since they all have big mustaches it is unknown which of the
three he is.

Photo by William H. McKay of Omaha, Nebraska.

Courtesy of Ben Justman, Executive Director, Sarpy County Museum





Kell moved with his Company and the Regiment to Tampa, Florida in April 1898 in preparation for
deployment to Cuba at the beginning of the War with Spain. On June 1 he was assigned to Special Duty
as Acting Adjutant General of 1st Brigade 2nd Division of 5th Corps. He occupied this position from June 1 to August 10, 1898.

He sailed with his Company to Camp Wikoff at Montauk Point, New York and left the Camp on August 24, 1898
for Detached Service mustering out Volunteers at Omaha, Nebraska. On October 4 he became the Chief Mustering Officer
for the State of Nebraska and was relieved of this duty on December 6. From December 6, 1898 to January 27, 1899 he
was on leave with a surgeon's certificate for illness.




Special Orders of the
Army Adjutant General
for 1898.

Orders No. 57 and 58
pertain to William H. Kell.

No. 57 relieves Kell of his
duty as mustering officer.

No. 58 grants Kell a
leave of absence.



Kell sailed with Company C on the transport Ohio to the Philippines and from March 1 to April 5, 1899 he commanded
3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry, leading them through several engagements with the insurgents from March 10 to April 5.

On April 5 he was admitted sick into a hospital in Manila. His illness was severe enough for him to be shipped back to the
United States after a few months and on August 13, 1899 he was admitted sick into Letterman General Hospital at the Presidio
at San Francisco, California from the transport Centennial.

On October 9, 1899 Kell was transferred to the U.S. Army and Navy General Hospital at Hot Springs, Arkansas. On November 24
he was in a status of being on leave with orders to report before an examining board at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for retirement.

William H. Kell was officially retired from the Army as a Major on December 15, 1899 with a disability in the line of duty.

He had served twenty-seven years in the 22nd Infantry.

Kell left the hospital at Hot Springs on March 5, 1900.

On April 23, 1904 his retirement was increased to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.


Decorations of William H. Kell




The following passage gives a synopsis of the military career of
William H. Kell. Under the section entitled
Battles, skirmishes, etc.
Kell's participation in engagements during the Civil War is fully
illustrated, noting at one point that Kell was captured by forces
under the Confederate General Joseph Wheeler :



by William H. Powell, Major 22nd Infantry, U.S.A.
Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co. 1890




The following passage gives a few more details about Kell's carreer:


From Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography: G-O by Dan L. Thrapp
Volume 2 of Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography
University of Nebraska Press, 1991 pp. 764




The following excerpt shows four officers from the 22nd Infantry recommended by
President William McKinley for awards of Brevet promotions to Major for their
service during the War with Spain. McKinley sent the recommendations to
Congress who never acted upon them so the Brevets were never awarded.
William H. Kell's name is the fourth one listed:


from March 15, 1897, to March 3, 1899 Vol. XXXI Part II
Washington, Government Printing Office 1909





William H. Kell was recorded as living in Portsmouth Ward 2, Rockingham, New Hampshire in 1900.

He died in New York City on February 9, 1916.



Above: The announcement of the death of William H. Kell
The Evening Post New York, Thursday, February 10, 1916

From NYS Historic Newspapers website




Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County
Plot: Sec: 2, Site: 848


Grave monument for William H. Kell

Photo from the Arlington National Cemetery website







Photo from: Colonel Stanley and Lt. Col. Custer's Expedition on the Yellowstone l873
Written by
David Eckroth
Reviewed by
Dave Eckroth, Howard Boggess, and Mike Penfold A project of the Frontier Heritage Alliance
For the
American Battlefield Protection Program
Program Grant No. (GA-2255-10-008)
April 14, 2013







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