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 in
Canada in 1843. 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
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:
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
Adjutant of the Regiment for twelve years, wrote the following letter expressing his admiration for Ketchum's service:
Hiram H. Ketchum is listed in
the official MOLLUS record as Major, 22nd Infantry USA and an
original member (Companion)
of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
Hiram H. Ketchum's decorations
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
Forest Lawn Cemetery
New York, USA
Plot: Section T
Left: The grave monument of Major H.H. Ketchum
Above: The lower part of the
HIRAM HENRY KETCHUM
Grave photos from the Find A Grave website
¹ 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
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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