1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

 

Hiram H. Ketchum

22nd Infantry 1866-1898

 

1st Lieutenant Hiram H. Ketchum 22nd Infantry, photographed in 1876

Note the "22" on his shoulder knot, next to which is the single silver bar indicating 1st LT

 

 

Hiram Henry Ketchum was born on February 14, 1844 in Ontario, Canada.

At some time he moved to New York, and at the age of eighteen he enlisted as a Private in Company K of the
16th New York Volunteer Infantry, on September 20, 1861. The 16th N.Y.V.I. stood out on the battlefield
because they wore wide brimmed straw hats instead of the normal forage caps or kepis. While with the 16th
Ketchum took part in the battles of West Point, Gaines Mill, Glendale, and Crampton's Pass in 1862. He was present
at the battle of Antietam, though his regiment was held in reserve and did not see action. On September 29, 1862
Ketchum received an honorable discharge from the 16th N.Y.V.I.

On September 10, 1864 Ketchum enlisted as a Private in Company I of the 1st New York Volunteer Engineers,
joining his Company at their station in South Carolina. His Company served in MG John Hatch's expedition up the
Broad River and the subsequent engagement at Honey Hill, and in the later battle of Deveaux's Neck in South Carolina.
On May 30, 1865 he was honorably discharged from the 1st N.Y.V.E.

On February 23, 1866 Ketchum received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the US 13th Infantry,
a position which he accepted on April 30. June of that year found Ketchum detached from 2nd Battalion and camped
with Company C of the 13th Infantry, building a new fort in the Dakota Territory, at the point where the Missouri and
Yellowstone Rivers met. The camp was named Fort Buford, and attacks by hostile Indians began against it the second day
of its establishment. Ketchum and Company C's Commander, Captain William G. Rankin were the only officers at Buford,
in command of about seventy enlisted men. On July 28, 1866, the garrison at Buford was re-designated as
Company C 22nd Infantry, with the official change of the 2nd Battalion of the 13th Infantry to the 22nd Infantry Regiment
coming on September 21 of that year.

Ketchum thus became engaged in the first combat actions of the 22nd Infantry since the War of 1812.

Fort Buford was attacked by the Sioux almost daily during the summer months of 1866 and into the fall. Parties sent out
to cut logs to build the fort were frequently driven back to the fort where battles ensued, often lasting for hours. In December
three civilian wood cutters were killed by Indians near the Yellowstone river, and Lieutenant Ketchum led a force of 60 men,
or nearly the entire garrison, in an attack which drove off the hostiles, his detachment suffering a few wounded in the engagement.

The fort was surrounded and besieged by the Indians throughout the winter of 1866-1867. Denied water from the rivers,
the little garrison had to dig wells within their encampment. Cut off from the outside world, a rumor began that the small camp
was wiped out by the Sioux, with Rankin, Ketchum and all the Soldiers killed, and several major newspapers back in the East
ran the story as if it were fact. Even in April 1867, when Rankin himself appeared in person to deny the story, several newspapers
accused the Army and the government in Washington of covering up the "massacre".

On July 31, 1867 Ketchum was promoted to First Lieutenant. On March 1, 1869 he was appointed the Regimental Adjutant
of the 22nd Infantry, a position he would hold until October 1, 1881. Ketchum was part of the Third Yellowstone Expedition
of 1873. The expedition force was made up of fourteen Companies of Infantry (which included five Companies
of the 22nd Infantry) and ten Companies of Cavalry. The Cavalry was the 7th, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer.
The entire expedition force was under the command of Colonel David Stanley, the Commander of the 22nd Infantry.

Ketchum was accompanying the advance guard of Custer and his Cavalry, during a series of engagements with a large force
of some 300 to 400 Sioux, over a period lasting seven days in August of 1873. On August 11, Ketchum had his horse shot out
from under him during a desperate fight between the Cavalry and the hostiles, during which losses were incurred on both sides.
For his courage that day he received a Brevet promotion to Captain. At a time when the only decoration in the US Army
was the Medal of Honor, a Brevet promotion was a way of recognizing heroism for an act which required less than that
for the Medal of Honor. A Brevetted officer would be accorded most of the privileges of his Brevet rank, with the exception
of the pay scale, though officially he would still be carried in the records at his lesser rank. The Brevet would be noted in his record,
much the same as decorations would be noted in today's records.

In 1881, upon relinquishing the position of Adjutant, Ketchum was assigned to Company E 22nd Infantry. On July 20, 1882
he was promoted to Captain in the Regular Army and given command of Company H 22nd Infantry. He would hold this position
until his retirement. In November 1890 he was given orders to move his Company from Fort Keogh, Montana to Fort Abraham Lincoln,
North Dakota, as troubles with the Indians during the Ghost Dance period of 1890-1891 brought the Indian Campaigns to a final close.
As the troubles subsided, he brought Company H back to Fort Keogh. The official history of the Regiment records the following,
as what was probably the last major exercise of his career:

"August 25,1892.—Company H, Twenty-second Infantry, Capt. H.H. Ketchum, commanding, left Fort Keogh, en route to
Camp Merritt, near Tongue River Agency, Mont., for a tour of duty there, and to relieve company C, Twenty-second Infantry,
from duty at that camp. Arrived August 31. Distance marched, about 90 miles."

During the month of June, 1896, Ketchum brought his Company with the Regiment to its new duty station at Fort Crook, Nebraska.
In April of 1898 the 22nd Infantry left Fort Crook for Tampa, Florida, to begin its excursion to Cuba in the Spanish-American War.
Hiram H. Ketchum did not go with the Regiment, as, in poor health, he was promoted to Major on April 26, 1898 and retired from the Army.
He died a few months later, on August 12, 1898. He had served 32 years in the 22nd Infantry. His obituary in the New York Times
stated that he died at his summer home in Avon-by-the-Sea, New Jersey. The obit further recorded that he had "arrived at Avon recently
with his family, going there for his health from his home at Canandiagua, N.Y." He was 55 years old.

In 1882 Colonel D.S. Stanley, commanding the 22nd Infantry, and under whom Hiram H. Ketchum had been the
Adjutant of the Regiment for twelve years, wrote the following letter expressing his admiration for Ketchum's service
as Adjutant of the 22nd Infantry:

 

 

 

 


Above: At the top left is the signature of Hiram H. Ketchum as 1st Lieutenant of the 22nd Infantry
and Adjutant of the Regiment on the monthly Return of the 22nd Infantry for the
month of March 1874 at Fort Sully, Dakota Territory. At the bottom right is the
signature of Colonel David S. Stanley as Commander of the Regiment. The date
of April 11, 1874 is the actual date that Stanley signed the Return. Except for
Stanley's signature all of the handwriting is by Ketchum, who as Adjutant had to
handwrite each monthly Return in the days before the invention of the typewriter.

 

 

 

The following biography of Hiram H. Ketchum was written in 1892:

CAPTAIN H. H. KETCHUM (Twenty-second Infantry) was a son of Henry and Mary A. Ketchum, who were born in Vermont
in 1806. He received an academic education. Enlisted in 1861 in the Sixteenth New York Volunteers, at the age of seventeen.
He participated in the Peninsula campaign of the Army of the Potomac, and was slightly wounded at Gaines' Mill. He continued
in the field with that army through the Maryland campaign, and was discharged after the battle of Antietam, broken down in health,
owing to his youth. When he regained his health again he enlisted in the First New York Engineers, and was mustered out of service
June 1, 1865.

He was appointed second lieutenant in the Thirteenth Infantry on the 23d of February, 1866, and served at Fort Buford during the
summer of 1866, fighting Indians almost daily during that time. He then served at Fort Dakota until July, 1867. He was promoted
first lieutenant and served at Fort Sully until 1874, when he was appointed adjutant Twenty-second Infantry, by General Stanley.
He served in that capacity over twelve years.

Lieutenant Ketchum was adjutant-general of the Yellowstone expeditions under General Stanley during the years 1871 and 1873;
had his horse killed under him in an Indian fight in August, 1873, at the mouth of Big Horn River, Montana, while serving with
General Custer in the capacity of aide. General Stanley, in a report to the adjutant-general of the army, says, " I have the honor
to state that on the 11th of August, 1873, the troops under my command had a severe engagement with the Sioux Indians
on the Yellowstone River, near the mouth of the Big Horn. The principal fight was between seven troops of the Seventh Cavalry,
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel G. A. Custer, in repelling the attack of at least fifteen hundred Sioux warriors. First Lieutenant
H. H. Ketchum, adjutant of the Twenty-second Infantry, was in the thickest of the fight and had his horse killed under him. His services
were gallant and important." General Custer, in a report to General Stanley, says, " I desire to commend to the brevet major-general
commanding First Lieutenant H. H. Ketchum, adjutant Twenty-second Infantry, acting assistant adjutant-general of the expedition,
but temporarily serving with me, who rendered me great assistance in transmitting my orders on the battlefield. He had his horse
killed under him, and I had my horse shot at the same time."

In 1874 Lieutenant Kctchum was ordered with his regiment to the Department of the Lakes. In 1877 he was adjutant-general
of the troops serving under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel E. S. Otis, Twenty-second Infantry, in quelling riots in
Pennsylvania. He was ordered to Texas with his regiment in the spring of 1879, and served at Fort McKavett and Fort Clark
until the fall of 1881, when he was ordered on recruiting service for two years. He rejoined his regiment in the fall of 1883,
at Fort Lewis, Colorado. He was ordered with his company to quell troubles with the Utes, Navajos, and settlers on San Juan River,
Colorado, in 1883-85. In 1888 he was ordered with his regiment to Fort Keogh, Montana, and participated in the Sioux campaign of 1890-91.

Captain Ketchum has been recommended for brevet rank for Indian campaigns, and has been favorably mentioned
by department inspectors to the inspector-general of the army for efficiency as company commander.

 

Hiram H. Ketchum's decorations

Left to right: Civil War Campaign Medal, Indian Wars Campaign Medal,
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

 

 

 

 

1st Lieutenant Hiram H. Ketchum

Photo from Companions of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
L.R. Hamersly Co. New Yok, 1901

Hiram H. Ketchum is listed in the official Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) record
as Major, 22nd Infantry USA and an original member (Companion)
of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

 

 

Burial:
Forest Lawn Cemetery
Buffalo
Erie County
New York, USA
Plot: Section T

 

     

Left: The grave monument of Major H.H. Ketchum

Above: The lower part of the monument.
The inscription reads:

HIRAM HENRY KETCHUM
1844 -- 1898
MAJOR OF INF'Y U.S.A.
GRANT HIM O LORD ETERNAL REST

 

Grave photos from the Find A Grave website

 

 

 

 

OFFICERS OF THE ARMY AND NAVY (REGULAR) WHO SERVED IN THE CIVIL WAR
Edited by Major William H. Powell U.S. Army (22nd Infantry) and Medical-Director Edward Shippen U.S. Navy
Publisher L.R. Hamersly & Co. Philadelphia. PA 1892 pp 230

Ibid

 

 

Additional Sources:

Official US Army Registers 1866-1898

History of the Twenty-second US Infantry 1904

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

New York Times August 13, 1898

New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center

1st New York Volunteer Engineers

 

 

 

 

 


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