KanColl: The Kansas
Historical Quarterlies

Extracts from Diary of
Captain Lambert Bowman Wolf

edited by George A. Root

May, 1932 (Vol. 1, No. 3), pages 195 to 210
Transcribed by lhn; HTML editing by Name withheld upon request
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.


     THE manuscript here printed comprises the experiences and observations of a cavalryman on the plains of Kansas during the four years preceding the Civil War. For the most part his troop was engaged in protecting Colonel Johnston's survey of the southern boundary line of Kansas, patrolling the Santa Fe Trail, and guarding the United States mails.

     While this account is in the form of a diary, some of the entries apparently were expanded somewhat at a later date. The manuscript in the possession of the Kansas State Historical Society was presented in 1905 by A. J. Hoisington, of Great Bend, who had received it from Captain Wolf. It is a typewritten copy, presumably made from the original either by Mr. Hoisington or Captain Wolf. In sending the copy to the Society Mr. Hoisington said: "Captain Wolf's diary contains largely more of his experiences and what he saw during his soldier life on the plains than is recorded in the foregoing, but so far I have been unable to secure from him a complete copy."

     All efforts to locate Captain Wolf's original and complete diary have proved fruitless. Apparently it went the way of so many personal records of the early days and was lost or destroyed.

     Capt. Lambert Bowman Wolf was born June 2, 1834, at Evansburg, Coshocton county, Ohio. He was of the fourth generation of Wolfs descended from German-born ancestors, and was reared on the farm where he was born. From 1856 to 1861 he served in Company K, First U. S. cavalry, serving with his troops on the plains of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Indian Territory, and on a trip to Utah during the Mormon war. Upon the breaking out of the Civil War he became captain of Company E, 142d Ohio volunteer infantry. He was discharged September 2, 1864, at Camp Chase, Ohio. In April, 1885, he returned to Kansas and settled in Ness county, where he engaged in the harness and saddlery business. He was twice married, first to Sarah Jane Loos, who died September 22, 1892, and next to Mrs. Emeline Waterbury, a pioneer settler of Great Bend. He died in Ness City August 29, 1918.




     December 20, 1856, enlisted at Newcomerstown, Ohio, as a recruit in Capt. George H. Stewart's [1] [Steuart] Co. K, then 1st U. S. cavalry, Col. E. V. Sumner [2] (Bull of the Woods) commanding, and sent to Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Mo.

     April 1, 1857, three hundred of us recruits were loaded on the Amizon, a big sidewheeler off the Mississippi, and sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where we arrived on the 15th. During this trip we had our first experience of short rations, caused by delays when stranded on Missouri river sandbars.

     May 10, received orders for Companies C, I, F and K, First U. S. cavalry, and E and K of the 6th U. S. infantry, to go on a campaign under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph B. [E.] Johns [t] on. [3]

     May 16, everything in readiness, the command formed in line and orders for a summer's campaign read to us, in substance to wit: That we escort and guard the government surveyors while they run the now south line4 of Kansas and establish the southwest corner thereof. On this expedition the stake hauler for the surveyors was killed by the Kiowa Indians and his mule team taken off by them. He got too far from his infantry escort while driving around some bluffs and draws near the Cimarron river. Our Mexican cattle herder was shot by one of our own horse guards, being mistaken for an Indian. Two of our men died from scurvy.

     Nov. 14 we marched into Fort Leavenworth -- back again -- a rusty but hearty appearing command.

     March 18, 1858, Companies F and K, First cavalry, and E and H, Sixth infantry, under command of Capt. Hendrickson, [5] of Co. H,

1. George H. Steuart was a native of Maryland; cadet Military Academy, July 1, 1844; brevet 2d lieutenant, 2d dragoons, July 1, 1848 ; 2d lieutenant Nov. 11 1849 ; 1st lieutenant 1st cavalry, Mar. 3, 1855 ; captain Dec. 20 1855 ; resigned Apr. 22, 1861 (Brig. Gen. C. S. A., 1861-1865). -- Heitman s Historical Register and Dictionary U. S. Army, v. 1, p. 922.

2. Edwin Vose Sumner, born in Boston Mass., Jan. 30, 1797. He entered the army in 1819, as 2d lieutenant of infantry. Served in the Black Hawk Mexican and Indian wars. Was governor of New Mexico, 1851-'53. In 1855 was promoted colonel of 1st cavalry and made a successful expedition against the Cheyennes. Was in Kansas during the territorial troubles. In 1861 he was sent to relieve Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston in command of the Department of the Pacific, but was recalled the following year to the command of the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac. At his own request in 1863 he was relieved, and being appointed to the Department of the Missouri, he was on his way thither when he died at Syracuse, N. Y., Mar. 21, 1863. -- Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, v. 5, p. 750.

3. For short sketch of Joseph E. Johnston, see footnote, Kansas Historical Quarterly, Feb., 1932, P. 106.

4. See Kansas Historical Quarterly, Feb., 1932, pp. 104-139, "Surveying the Southern Line of Kansas, from Journal of Col. Joseph E. Johnston," edited by Nyle H. Miller.

5. Thomas Hendrickson was a native of Pennsylvania; became a 2d Lieut. 6th infantry in 1838; 1st Lieut. 1840; served in Mexican War, receiving rank of brevet captain for gallant and meritorious services; made captain 1853; major 3d infantry 1862, and served with distinction in Civil War. Retired 1863. Died Oct. 24, 1878. Army and Navy Register, Hamersley, P. 506.


Sixth infantry, ordered to escort supply trains to Col. Johnston [6] at Fort Bridger, [7] Utah, said supplies being hauled by cattle trains and located at Fort Laramie and unable to proceed safely on account of Indians. [8]

     March 20, Col. Huffman [9] joined us and took command.

     June 3 we passed through the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains.

     June 10 we arrived at Fort Bridger during a heavy snowstorm. Found that Col. Johnston's command had been living on quarter rations of jerked beef.

     June 13 the Second dragoons took up line of march for Salt Lake City under command of Col. Cook[P. St. George Cooke].

     June 14 the peace commissioners10 arrived and they, with the balance of Col. Johnston's command, start for Salt Lake City.

     August 21, w e start on return to Fort Leavenworth -- that is, Companies F and K, First cavalry, under Capt. Dessashore," he being senior officer of our battalion, via Bridger's Pass and Fort Laramie.

     September 1, we pass through Bridger's Pass, going into camp in a beautiful dead pine grove with splendid water and grass. This pass reminds much of the valley between the double hump of a dromedary. It has no resemblance to the South Pass.

     September 2 we awoke with 6 inches of snow on the ground. It snowed on us all day as we marched and it was very disagreeable marching. Lieut. D. D. Bell [12] and John Hootinger went out on a hunt yesterday -- no news from them this evening.

     September 17, at Fort Laramie. Here we learn that Bell and Hootinger were seen at the bridge on Ham's Fork, [13] heading for

6. Albert Sidney Johnston (1803-1862). He was in command of the Department of the Pacific. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Confederate army and was killed at the battle of Shiloh.

7. In 1843 James Bridger built a trading post in the valley of Black's Fork of Green river, Utah Territory (now Wyoming), to catch the emigrant trade going west. This post was commonly known as Fort Bridger. In 1853 the Mormons captured the post and held it until the winter of 1857 abandoning it on the appearance of the United States army, but not until they had burned everything inflammable on the site. J. Cecil Alter, James Bridger -- A Historical Narrative, pp. 176-178, 244-263.

8. This was during the time of the Mormon War. Live stock and provisions sent to Utah for the subsistence of the United States army had been captured, stolen or burned by the Mormons, and the army had been reduced to scant rations, suffering many privations during the severe winter that followed from lack of proper food and clothing. -- Bancroft, History of Utah, pp. 512-522.

9. William Huffman, native of New York, who had a long and distinguished military service. Was in Mexican and Civil Wars, and was brevetted major-general in 1865 for distinguished service. -- Hammersley, Army Register, p. 514.

10. L. W. Powell ex-governor and senator-elect, of Kentucky, and Major B. McCulloch, a soldier of the Mexican War, were sent to Utah as peace commissioners.
11. William David De Saussure.

12. David D. Bell, born in Ohio. 1st. Lieut., 1st cavalry. Died Dec. 2, 1860. -- Hamersley, Army Register, p. 292.

13. Ham's Fork a small river of Uintah county, Wyoming, runs southeastward and unites with the Black Fork of Green river. Lippincott's Pronouncing Gazetteer of the World, v. 1, p. 1357.


Fort Bridger. They got lost and four days were without rations. They obtained rations from the parties who met them, enough to last them into Fort Bridger. October 4, arrived at Fort Kearney. October 5, leave for Fort Leavenworth.

     October 18, joined by Bell and Hootinger -- great rejoicing therefor by Co. K.

     October 20 finds us going into quarters at Fort Leavenworth.

     November 25. It appears we are not to winter at Fort Leavenworth, as to-day we start on a march to Fort Riley.

     November 30, we arrive at Fort Riley. Since we started last March we have traveled over 2,300 miles and feel almost like ourselves and horse were one animal.

     I will now give you a favorite song with the men during the winter of 1858-'59. It is entitled


Come, all Yankee soldiers, give ear to my song; It is a short ditty, 'twill not keep you long; It's of no use to fret on account of your luck, We can laugh, drink and sing yet in spite of the buck. Chorus: Dary down, dary down, &c. Sergeant, buck him and gag him, our officers cry, For such trifling offenses they happen to spy; Till with bucking and gagging of Dick, Tom and Bill, Faith! the Mexican ranks they have helped to fill. Chorus.

The treatment they give us, as all of us know, Is bucking and gagging for whipping the foe; They buck us and they gag us for malice or for spite, But they are glad to release us when going to fight. Chorus. A poor soldier's tied up in the sun or the rain With a gag in his mouth till he's tortured with pain; Why, I'm blest! if the eagle we wear on our flag In its claws shouldn't carry a buck and a gag. Chorus.

     Eighteen hundred and fifty-nine carries me into [what is now] Barton county, with its tragic scenes indelibly impressed upon my mind.

     The winter of 1858-'9 at Fort Riley passed away as also have our daily drills, both mounted and foot. These, with other usual camp duties, prevented all ennui. But we are restless, are longing for a campaign on the broad prairies -- a change of some kind. Garrison duty becomes monotonous, the more especially to those who, like ourselves, have tasted the wildness of plain and mountains.


     May 25, the monotony is broken with great rejoicing. We, the cavalry, have received orders to prepare for a campaign, nothing further known.

     June 10, Companies F, H and K, First cavalry, under command of Capt. E. V. Dessashore, [14] captain of Company F, start for the Santa Fe Trail (Cimarron) Crossing of the Arkansas river. Capt. Walker's [15] G company, he commanding, is detailed to escort an English lord into the buffalo range northwest of Fort Riley and join us on the Arkansas river near the location of old Fort Mackey. [16] Our summer's work is to guard emigrants on the Santa Fe Trail.

     June 17 finds us going into camp near what is known as Doc Beach's [17] ranch on Cow creek. The Doctor has quite a trading station here, his stock consisting of "Dead Shot" whisky, sugar, flour, and bacon. This is also a mail station and post office.

     June 19, we cross Walnut [18] creek a little west of Allison's [19] big ranch (the regular old trail crossing). The ford has a fine pebbly bottom. We have not seen any Indians, but rumor says they are just a little further on.

     June 20, a fine soaking rain and we had just got nicely on the move when it came down in torrents. We pass Pawnee rocks, cross

14. William D. De Saussure.

15. William S. Walker, a Mexican war soldier; captain 1st cavalry 1865; resigned 1861.

16. Fort Mackay was located at the crossing on Arkansas river in present Ford county, and named for Col. A. Mackay, Q. M. D. It was about six or eight miles from present Dodge City, and was established Aug. 8 1550, by Col. E. V. Summer, after a treaty talk had been held there with the Indians. The fort was built of sod, covered with poles, brush, sod and canvas. The soldiers quartered there gave it the name of "Fort Sod," and later Fort Sodom. It was known as Camp Mackay until June 26, 1851 when the name was changed to Fort Atkinson. Sept. 22, 1853 the fort was abandoned. It was temporarily reoccupied in June 1854, but on October 2 following was permanently abandoned and the buildings destroyed to prevent their occupancy by the Indians. -- Green's Kansas Region, p. 22 ; Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, p. 78 444; v. 8, p. 489; v. 9, p. 567, 576; v. 12, p. 226; Blackmar's History of Kansas, v. 1, pp. 656, 657.

17. Beach's Ranch or Trading Post was built on Cow creek, Peketon (Rice) county, about 1858 or 1859, by Asahel Beach and his son, Dr. A. J. Beach. It was on the line of the Santa Fe Trail, about one mile south of present Lyons, or near old Atlanta. A post ,Office was established at the ranch April 1 1859, called Beach Valley, with Doctor Beach Postmaster. The territorial legislature of 1859 authorized Asahel Beach et al. to build a bridge across the Arkansas. The following year Beach Valley was incorporated by Asahel Beach, Dr. A. J. Beach and Samuel Shaff, and was the county seat of Peketon county, 1860, the county commissioners being the incorporators. Asahel Beach was a brother of Moses Y. Beach, of the New York Sun, and came west from Leavenworth. Dr. A. J. Beach was a surgeon of the 9th Kansas, 164. Smoke houses were erected on the ranch and buffalo meat was cured for the eastern market. The ranch was abandoned in 1864, about the time of an Indian battle near by. -- Laws, Kansas 1859, 1860, 1861; U. S. Official Register, 1880-'83; Historical Society, Archives Department, original documents.

18. There were two crossings of walnut creek in present Barton county, one a short distance east of present Great Bend on the Santa Fe Trail and the other slightly to the north, on the road from Fort Harker to Fort Larned. The old trail crossing was 278 miles from Independence, Mo., and near site of Fort Zarah of later date.

19. Allison's ranch or trading station was built by Allison of Independence, Mo., in 1857. It was located at the mouth of the Walnut, about 100 yards from the crossing of the creek, on the east side and on the north side of the road. It was merely a trading post, no attempt being made at agriculture or stock raising. Allison died suddenly at Independence and the ranch was rented to George Peacock. -- Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, pp. 487, 489; v. 10, p. 665.


Ash 20 creek, going into camp on the west bank of Pawnee Fork. Rumor has 1,000 painted warriors 40 miles up the river waiting our appearance.

     June 25 finds us going into camp on the Arkansas river near where old Fort Mackay used to be.

     June 29, Lieutenant Col. Johnston, our old commander in 1857, comes into camp with the Santa Fe mail. He is now inspector general of forts and troops and on his way to New Mexico.

     July 4, a gill of whisky for each man, and some horse racing, to celebrate the day.

     July 8, the first Indians in camp or seen -- 3 bucks and 1 squaw.

     August 2. A terror of a rain last night. Many hats are short this morning, even the bass and tenor drums took trips down the river and we are a wet and sorry looking set generally.

     August 3. Tahosan, the head chief of the Kiowas, with his squaw and three of his braves, visit us. They go into camp about 100 yards above our camp.

     August 20. Capt. Walker, with his Co. G, joins us. Several of his men have the scurvy.

     August 28. Two mules gone, so Lieut. D. D. Bell, with a detachment of one sergeant and four men, is sent after them.

     August 21 [31]. In the afternoon Lieut. Bell and party return, bringing with them 3 Indians and 4 mules, two of which belonged to the mail route. The Indians played "good Indian," were given flour, sugar and bacon and were sent on their way rejoicing. Yes, the mules were found running loose!

     September 1. Co. H sent to Pawnee [21] Fork to guard contractors of the mail station there.

     September 14. In the morning we break camp and start for Fort Riley.

     September 17 finds us at Pawnee Fork camping with H Co. The mail station builders have not reported yet. H Co. men report two large camps of Kiowa and Comanche Indians on the Walnut desiring to make a treaty with Uncle Samuel.

     September 18. Just before leaving camp, Big Pawnee, second chief of the Kiowas, came into our camp and traveled with us to Walnut creek, then went to his own camp located on the south side

20. Ash creek, first known as Crooked creek, was crossed by Santa Fe Trail about 91/2 miles northeast of old Fort Larned. Name probably suggested by ash and elm that shaded the creek. -- Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, p. 120.

21. Pawnee Fork, first known as Pawnee creek or river, was a little over 302 miles from Fort Osage, on the Missouri river. -- Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, p. 120.


of the creek (between what is now -- 1900 -- known as the old John Cook farm, and the bridge next west of it.)

     September 19, on the Arkansas river, east of Allison's ranch, myself and four others made a still hunt for buffaloes and got two good ones. Capt. Dessashore this morning, before leaving camp, held a powwow with Tahosan, Pawnee, and Buffalo Hump (a Comanche chief). Buffalo Hump desired to make a treaty. Capt. Dessashore told him to go back to Texas.

     September 21 finds us lying in camp on Cow creek [22] below Beach's ranch resting and cleaning up.

     September 22. Last night midnight express from Allison's ranch brings word that Pawnee, with part of his band, threaten the ranchmen's lives. G and K Co.'s were immediately ordered to the ranch, leaving Cow creek at 2 a. m. Arriving near the ranch just as the sun peeped over the eastern horizon, half a mile from the ranch, Lieut's D. D. Bell and Baird galloped ahead of the command to the ranch. The Indians were all gone except Big Pawnee, and him they took prisoner. When we came up they had disarmed him. The officers held a council and decided to have Pawnee guide them to the Indian camp. A dismounted soldier had Pawnee in charge. He was instructed to take Pawnee to get his pony, which was tied to a wagon in the rear of the ranch. He was taken to it. The pony had been so frightened as to pull hard on the lariat and Pawnee could not untie it. He asked the soldier for his sheath knife to cut the lariat. The knife was handed to Pawnee, who cut the lariat and quickly threw the knife under the wagon, mounted the pony, gave a great yap and was off like the wind towards the bluff northeast. Lieutenants Bell and Baird, being still mounted, took after him, also R. M. Peck, [23] of Co. K. Peck's horse being very fleet soon passed the lieutenant's and overtook Pawnee and then turned and asked Baird if he should shoot him. "No," said Baird, "I want to talk with him." Peck veered off, Baird came up and asked Pawnee to halt. Pawnee, with an ugly defiant face, said "Bah," and went on. Baird stayed with him, dropped his revolver in front of Pawnee and commanded him to halt. Pawnee, yet more sarcastic, repeated his "Bah, bah." Baird tried him again but no good, so dropped

22. Cow creek, present Rice county, first known as Cold Water, a point on the Santa Fe Trail, slightly more than 246 miles from Fort Osage. -- Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, p. 119. 23. Robert Morris Peck was from Covington, Ky., at which place he enlisted in Co. E, First U. S. cavalry. After five years' service as a private soldier on the plains of Kansas, he became a wagonmaster in the Army of the Frontier. For many years after the close of the Civil War he was a citizen of Leavenworth and Baxter Springs. He was a frequent contributor to the National Tribune, Washington, D. C., mostly on frontier history. -- Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, p. 43.


off a little and shot him in the head. (Now, right then, our winter's trouble and our next summer's campaign commences.) At the crack of the revolver Baird's horse ran away. Peck then took after him and caught it. Lieut. Bell came up, found Pawnee dead and rode back and reported to Capt Walker. [24] Fearing the bluffs were full of Indians an express was sent after the balance of the command. Pawnee's body was brought in and buried just under the break of the bank about 40 or 50 yards above the Santa Fe Trail ford.

     September 23, at 7 a. m., Capt. Dessashore arrives with the balance of the command. While they are at breakfast the officers decide to go to the Indian camp. Breakfast over we moved for the Indian camp, found it; that is the place, but the Indians were gone. We then moved a few miles up the creek. As the first detachment had but one day's rations left the officers decided to return, so that evening we camped by Allison's ranch.

     September 24 the mails for Santa Fe arrived and demands an escort to Pawnee Fork. Lieut. E. Otis, [25] of F Co., and 25 men detailed for that duty. Evening finds us in camp on Cow creek.

     September 25, we have a wagon and team in camp with three days' rations for Lieut. Otis' detachment. In the evening we camp on the Little Arkansas.

     September 26 we laid in camp. An express arrived from Lieut. Otis informing us that one hour after the mail left him and it was getting dark, they being on the "dry route," [26] they were attacked by the Indians and the conductor and one of the drivers (being brothers and on their last trip) were killed. The other driver shot the Indian that was trying to tangle the mules. That created a powwow and the driver escaped in the darkness. He was badly wounded, but got in with some Mexicans and reached Lieut. Otis' camp next morning. Otis and his detachment buried the men as best they could. The mules, bedding, and rations were all gone, the male [mail] scattered. Otis had the latter gathered up and brought it back to Beach's ranch on Cow creek.

24. William S. Walker was born in Pennsylvania. Served in Mexican War and was brevetted captain in 1847 for gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Chapultepec. Made captain of 1st cavalry in 1855. Resigned May 1, 1861. Hamersley's Army Register, p. 837.

25. Elmer Otis was born in Massachusetts. Was made 1st Lieut., 1st cavalry in 1856; captain, 1861; major, 1864 ; brevet colonel, 1865 ; lieutenant colonel, 1876. Died Aug. 18, 1897. -- Hamersley's Army Register, p. 674 ; Heitman's Register, p. 762.

26. The "dry route" was a short cut on the Santa Fe Trail, running in a southwesterly direction from the vicinity of old Fort Zarah, past Fort Lamed and striking the Arkansas river close to site of Fort Dodge. This route encountered water in but one place, at Coon creek, some fifteen miles beyond Fort Larned. -- Great Bend Register, Jan. 22, 1880; Map of Kansas, by Ado Hunnius, 1869.


     September 27, in the evening, Lieut. Otis and his men join us; men and horses jaded, and foregoing account confirmed. A detachment of ten men from each company, 40 in all, and 2 noncommissioned officers, under command of Lieut. Eli Long, [27] of Co. H, with rations to supply them until more supplies could be sent them from Fort Riley, was sent back to Beach's ranch to escort the mail to the Santa Fe crossing of the Arkansas and remain out 40 days unless sooner relieved.

     October 2 finds our command entering Fort Riley.

     October 7. Company K ordered to Pawnee Fork to relieve Lieut. Long. An express has just arrived from Long reporting that Allison [Peacock] had been shot by Satank, [28] the war chief of the Kiowas. Particulars of the report as follows: Satank, with 3 or 4 of his braves, called on Allison [Peacock] ; found him alone at his ranch on the Walnut with a sick man lying on a bunk in the ranch building. Now Indians dread sick people and so Satank told Allison [Peacock] there were some soldiers coming by way of Pawnee Rock and asked him to take his glass, go on top of the ranch, and see if he could tell who they were. Allison [Peacock], believing the Indian, got on top of the ranch, adjusted his glass and was in the act of putting it up to his eye when his eye caught Satank pointing his gun at him. Instantly understanding his danger he started to whirl about face exclaiming, "Satank, you damned son of a bitch," when crack went Satank's gun and Allison [Peacock] fell dead on the top of his own ranch. The sick man rolled up in the covers of his bed and over the back side and then down under his bed. The Indians then came in the ranch, gathered up a few things and then

27. Eli Long was born in Woodford county, Ky., June 16 1837, and died in New York Jan. 5, 1903. He was graduated from the military academy at Frankfort, Ky., in 1855, and received an appointment in the 1st United States cavalry in 1855. Was in the Cheyenne expedition in 1857 and served through the Civil War, being several times wounded, and was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. Retired as major general in 1866. -- The Americana, v. 9.

28. The late James R. Mead, of Wichita, credits Satanta with the killing, giving the date as September 9, 1860. (See Kan. Hist. Cols., v. 10, pp. 664, 665.) The late Robert M. Wright, of Dodge City, in his "Frontier Life in Southwestern Kansas," published in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, pp. 48, 49, names Satank as the guilty one:

     Satanta, or White Bear, was born about 1830, and for about 15 years before his death was recognized as second chief in the Kiowa tribe, the first rank being accorded to his senior, Satank. Satanta's eloquence in council won for him the title "Orator of the Plains." lie was one of the signers of the Medicine Lodge treaty in 1867. He committed suicide in Texas state prison, October 11, 1878, by throwing himself from an upper story of the hospital. -- Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, v. 2, p. 469.

     Satank, or Sitting Bear, was born about 1810 in the Black Hills region. He became prominent at an early age, and was credited with being one of the principal agents in negotiating the final peace treaty between the Kiowas and Cheyennes about 1840. His name heads the list of signers of the noted Medicine Lodge treaty in 1867. Sometime during 1871 Satank was arrested for a murderous attack on a wagon train in Texas in May of that year, in which seven white men lost their lives, and in an attempt to escape his captors was shot and killed by troops surrounding him. He was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Sill. -- Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, v. 2, p. 513.


lit out. Long's detachment soon coming up took the sick man on to Beach's ranch. The detachment buried Allison [Peacock] at his ranch before starting on. The foregoing story of the killing of Allison [Peacock] is the substance of the story as related by the sick man, and I believe it mainly true.

     Our captain is now at Leavenworth on short leave. The company has gone to work getting ready.

     October 14 finds Company K on the move for Pawnee Fork, Capt. G. H. Stewart returning the 12th.

     October 21, during the day we met Lieut. Long with his command on his way to Fort Riley. The 10 men of our Co. who were with him rejoin our Co. with much grumbling. Their horses are badly used up.

     October 22 we arrive at Pawnee Fork, a location for a Fort is selected and we go into camp on the site of the location.

     October 23, plans are made for the horse and cattle stable, also for officers' and company quarters, all of which are to be built of sod cut with spades by members of our company. Our stable is to be 100 feet square on the inside, wall 12 feet high and 3 feet thick at bottom and 2 feet thick at top, with a large gate in the south wall. Our detachment left at Beach's ranch join us, bring the mail with them.

     October 30. Everything has been passing off smoothly and nice. Our corral is growing apace. We are having lots to do with not much rest -- heavy guards at night with lots of work through the day. This morning, just as we got ready to eat our breakfast, three citizens came into our camp reporting that 15 Kiowas had driven them in. Boots and saddles sounded, leaving our hot coffee. In 10 minutes 20 of us, under command of Lieut. D. D. Bell, were moving lively southwest for the Arkansas river. Three miles from camp we overhauled 2 Kiowa Indians with six ponies -- they were made "good Indians" and the ponies brought into camp. In the shield of the first one killed we found 27 bunches of different human hair, supposedly his trophies. We now carry our arms with us, always prepared for any surprise.

     November 3, two men, one woman and two children, the youngest one 3 months old, who were on their way from New Mexico to the states, came into our camp and will await the escorts going to Beach's ranch before going on. They report that the Kiowas had attacked them at the Santa Fe crossing (of the Arkansas), took their oxen and cow and plundered their wagon of eatables and clothing;


had one of the men bound ready to torture when a friendly party of Cheyennes put in their appearance, released the man and made the Kiowas give back the oxen and cow, with a part of the clothing and provisions, sending the travelers on their way, thankful for their release.

     November 21, orders received by special express from Fort Leavenworth for us to leave 30 men, under command of Lieut. Bell, to garrison the fort, and escort the mails east and west, and also guard the mail station now built here (below our location and at the Santa Fe crossing of Pawnee Fork). Our corral about completed and officers' and company quarters well along. A supply train from Fort Riley arrives being escorted by a detachment of the Sixth infantry.

     November 26. Our company starts for Fort Riley, taking the 30 horses belonging to the detachment left behind. We kill buffalo for beef to take with us, leaving the beef cattle with Lieut. Bell.

     November 27 finds us camping on the Arkansas river below Allison's ranch. We find the ranch occupied by the parties that the Kiowas ran off early in the fall. We left with them three broken-down horses.

     November 30 finds us in camp on Big Turkey [29] creek with no wood except that we brought with us from Cow creek. The weather is, and has been during the past few days, most beautiful.

     December 1. Zounds, boys; we've got it this morning. Sure it would freeze the horn of a brass monkey, remarked Kelly, (an old veteran), and I thought it might do it, for a blizzard had come upon us about midnight and I thought it a howling success. No breakfast, formed line, shot 7 horses that were so chilled could not get up, started out by twos from the right, trot march for Cottonwood creek. [30] Seven of us got there in formed line, the balance strung back along the trail, some not getting in until after dark, a frozen set. The captain had his left cheek and ear, hands and feet badly frozen, Rogers his hands and feet, "Pickles" Houston's hands frozen and the sight of his left eye ruined.

     December 4, in the evening, finds us ensconced in quarters at Fort Riley and the frozen men in the hospital being tenderly cared for by good old Doe. Madison. [31] Houston lost the sight of his eye and was discharged with a pension of $8 per month.

29. Now known as Turkey creek, McPherson county. This stream has several branches -- Dry Turkey creek, Spring Turkey creek and Running Turkey creek.

30. Cottonwood creek, Marion county, 192 miles from Independence, Mo.

31. Thomas C. Madison, a native of Virginia; major and surgeon, 1856; resigned August 17, 1861; surgeon, C. S. A., 1861-65. -- Heitman's Register, v. 1, p. 683.


1860 -- Major J. Sednic's [Sedgwick's] Campaign After the Kiowa and Comanche Indians. Remained at Fort Riley all winter.

     May 15 finds Companies F, G, K and H, under command of Major John Sednic [Sedgwick] [32] all of the First U. S. cavalry, moving out of Fort Riley on a campaign after the Kiowa and Comanche Indians (to punish them for their murderous depredations during the past winter, all caused by, or at least commencing with, the killing of Pawnee by Lieutenant Baird at Allison's ranch on the Walnut last fall). We pass through Junction City, composed of half a dozen houses that were mostly dugouts, camping 14 miles above, on the northeast bank of the Smoky Hill river.

     May 18, we pass through Salina, a thriving young town with a fine valley to spread out in. To-day 3 Delaware guides join us. -- Falleaf, Bullet and Dead Shot.

     May 20 finds us in the buffalo range. This evening Lieut. Taylor's horse pulled his picket pin and ran off with the buffalo and we never saw him again.

     May 21, had a 41-mile march, camping on the Walnut creek (at old military road crossing 5 miles northwest of now Great Bend) a mile, about, above the Kiowa camp ground of last fall. The major walked us alternate hours. It was dry and hot and he came near losing some of his men by thirst. On this day's march we passed through what is now known as Cheyenne Bottom. [33]

     May 23 finds us camped below Fort Larned. Our detachment left here last fall is relieved by two companies of the Second infantry.

     May 25 we draw our pack mules and are joined by Captain

32. John Sedgwick, American soldier, born Cornwall, Conn., Sept. 13, 1813. Served in Seminole War in Florida; Mexican War; Civil war, besides many engagements against hostile Indians. Shot by a Confederate sharpshooter during battle of Spottsylvania, May 9, 1864. -- The Americana, v. 13.

33. Cheyenne Bottoms, Barton county, "within a few miles of the geographical center of Kansas, is a huge basin. The floor of this basin embraces an area approximately the size of the Sea of Galilee or 64 square miles. During the major portion of the last half century the basin has been dry, with the exception of a few ponds . . . . Two wet-weather streams flow into it, they being Blood creek from the northwest and Deception creek from the north. During August, 1927, heavy rains caused high-water conditions in those creeks sufficient to create a lake of approximately 16,000 acres in the eastern portion of the basin. Extensive rainfall during the summer of 1928 caused a rise in the lake and at one time the water was 18 inches deeper than at any time during 1927. The water area of the lake was increased to almost 20,000 acres." In fall of 1927 steps were taken by the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission to convert the lake into a national bird preserve the lake at the time being literally alive with countless numbers of ducks, geese, shore birds and gulls. Measures were introduced in congress look ing to the establishment of a federal game preserve. The lake was also alive with fish, probably from the overflow of some streams, as none were placed there by the Kansas Fish and Game Department. In 1929 a bill passed congress making an appropriation of $250,000 and work was started toward acquiring a title. During 1930 evaporation caused by a severe dry spell materially reduced the waters, and in 1931 during a protracted drouth, it was feared the lake would go dry.

     The federal government definitely intends going ahead with plans for establishing a game preserve. -- Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Department, report, 1927-'28, pp. 33-36 ; Topeka Daily Capital, Nov. 6, 1931.


Steele's [34] command of two companies of the Second Dragoons, making our command now 6 mounted companies, about 500 men. Wagons and tents are turned in to the quartermaster.

     June 3 finds us camping about 3 miles below the Santa Fe crossing of the Arkansas.

     June 4 we cross the river and point for the Cimarron river.

     June 7 finds us camping on the Cimarron.

     June 9 finds us camping on Granet [?] Fork of the Canadian, not far from the North Fork of the Canadian.

     June 15 is another hot day; a march of 40 miles and we go into camp on the North Fork of the Canadian, near one of our old camps in 1857.

     June 22 finds us camping at the F. X. Aubrey crossing [35] of the Cimarron river.

     June 25 finds us camping on Bear creek, still on the Aubrey trail.

     June 28 finds us camping on the north side of the Arkansas river by the Aubrey crossing, 56 miles from our camp on Bear creek.

     July 3, still in camp, resting and to let our horses recuperate on the good grass. Our supply train reports today, and not any too soon, as some of our companies are out of flour.

     July 9 we camp in the bottom just west of Bent's new fort at the Big Timbers [36] of the Arkansas river. Capt. Steele, with a detach ment of 100 men and guided by a volunteer Cheyenne Indian, were sent in pursuit of a party of Kiowas in the vicinity of here and the Smoky Hill river, leaving last night at 12 m. with 2 days' rations.

     July 11, Col. Bent informed the Major that Satank, chief of the

34. William Steele, who resigned May 30 1861 and became a brigadier general, C. S. A. Died Jan. 12, 1885.Heitman's Register, v. 1, p. 919.

35. Aubrey trail and crossing of Cimarron. This trail started at Fort Aubrey, on Arkansas river, in present Hamilton county, Kansas, and according to a map by Ado Hunnius, made in 1869, ran in a southwesterly direction, leaving Kansas on west line of state at about township 28 or 29, range 42 west near present Bear creek, Stanton county. The trail crossed the Cimarron river a short distance south of old Camp Nichols, Indian Territory (present Oklahoma), where it joined the Santa Fe Trail.

36. The Big Timbers of the Arkansas was one of the most famous places in the whole plains region in early days. From the vicinity of Council Grove in eastern Kansas to the mountains the old trail up the Arkansas was practically treeless except at this one point. Pike, in 1806, was the first to note the groves at Big Timbers, and here he noted signs of Indians, for even at that early period the site was a favorite wintering place for the peoples of the plains. There is reason to believe that in early years the Big Timbers extended over thirty miles along the river. The trees were very large cottonwoods, standing in open groves without underbrush on the bottom lands also up the numerous small islands in the river. George Bent states that about 1853 the Big Timbers were only about five miles long by two miles broad. The same year Gunnison and Beckwith passed up the Arkansas, and they described Big Timbers as a section of the river about 24 miles in length, on the islands and banks of which more than the usual amount of cottonwood grew. The Cheyennes called this place Tall Timbers in early days, but after 1833 they called the grove, or the upper end of it, "Red Shin's Standing Ground." The upper end of Big Timbers was set down by Gunnison and Beckwith as about 13 miles by the old trail, below the mouth of the Purgatoire. William Bent is said to have had a trading house there as early as 1844. Another trader, Thorpe, had a trading house there in 1846. By 1863 the last of the big trees had disappeared. -- George Bird Grinnell, in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 15, pp. 82-85.


Kiowas, had been there just before our arrival and learning of our proximity he, with his family and a few warriors, pulled for the north. Lieut. Stewart with 20 men were immediately dispatched in pursuit.

     July 12, report from Lieut. Stewart 5 miles north they discovered 5 Indians, gave them chase but a stern chase is often a hot one and so was this. Twenty miles and Capt. Steele's command sighted the detachment, took them for Indians, gave chase and the two parties were near coming together before the mistake was seen. Result: The Indian braves got away, less 2 that were killed. Satank's squaws and children were captured, 15 of them altogether, and brought into camp. Lieut. Baird,37 the slayer of Pawnee, got an arrow clinched in his upper jaw. The last we heard of him he was on his way to New York from St. Louis to have it extracted.

     July 13, we move camp 3 miles up the river. The squaws and papooses were turned over to Bent for safe-keeping and to exchange for the depredations of last winter.

     July 14, a party of 80 of us are sent under command of Capt. Dessashore on a scout up the Purgatory [38] creek, called Picketwire.

     July 18, after fruitless wandering over bluffs, through ravines and over prairies, we have rejoined the command where we left it, discovering nothing but a very old Indian camp and some bear tracks.

     July 20, in the forenoon, Bent was issuing government annuities to the Apaches and Arapahoes who are now camped near his fort. A band of Cheyennes is also encamped here. In the afternoon I spent about two hours taking in the sights and appreciated it. There are now about 3,000 Indians here and they make quite a representation of the original settlers of this continent.

     July 23 finds us camping where our supply train came to us.

     July 26, Lieut. Bayard [Baird], with an escort, starts for the states to have the arrow point extracted. We leave the Arkansas river, striking northeast for the Smoky river.

     July 30 finds us camping on the east side of the Smoky river.

     August 2. Our route has been down the Smoky. In the afternoon we cross a fresh, plain Indian trail, leading to the north. "Bullet" says, "Major, Indian one day." The Major answered,

37. Absalom Baird born in Washington Pa., 1824 ; cadet military academy ; had long list of promotions in the military service, and was made a brigadier general during the Civil War. Retired Aug. 20, 1888. -- Heitman, Historical Register, v. 1, pp. 182-183.

38. Purgatory river or creek, is a tributary of the Arkansas and is designated on old maps as the First Fork. It was known among the Spaniards of New Mexico as the river of the souls in purgatory. The stream was noticed by Pike, who noted it on his map as the 'First Fork. It joins the Arkansas near present La Junta. Spaniards had two names for the stream -- Rio Purgatoire and Rio de las Animas. Picketwire is a corrupted English form in use later. Thwaites, Early Western Travels, v. 16, pp. 62, 74.


"Bullet, where is that water?" And Bullet replied, "Right around there," directing to a point about 2 miles ahead of us. We camped by the water ponds. August 3, we move down the river. There is some swearing done because we do not follow up the Indian trail we crossed yesterday; but to no purpose.

     August 5, Capt. Steele is sent with 3 companies for two days' farther march down the river and to join us at Pawnee Fork. Sedgwick takes the balance of the command and that evening late camps on the Walnut, about 5 miles west of now Great Bend.

     August 7, we pass Pawnee Rock and camp on Ash creek.

     August 8, we camp one mile west of the mouth of Pawnee Fork. Our commissary train from Fort Larned joins us here. News from Bent's Fort is that he, Bent, gave up the prisoners to their tribe. He sent an express after us, who was overtaken 25 miles from the Fort, shot, scalped, and left for dead, but some friendly Cheyennes found him and took him back to the Fort. This occurred 2 days after we left there. Further, we learned that Capt. Sturgis, [39] who had a command out after the Kiowa and Comanche Indians, from Fort Cobb, Texas, crossed our trail on the Smoky, following up that Indian trail Bullet pointed out to us the next day after we made our trail. He had a two day's fight with the Indians, badly defeating them in the first day's fight, camping on the battle ground. We also received orders from Washington to cease hostilities against the Kiowa and Comanche Indians and Sedgwick to take the four companies of the First cavalry and repair to the Big Timbers of the Arkansas river in the vicinity of Bent's New Fort, there to establish a Fort to be named Fort Wise. [40] Capt.Steele and command joined us this evening.

39. Samuel Davis Sturgis colonel Aug. 10, 1861, for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of Wilson's Creek , Mo., and brevetted major general in 1865 before being mustered out of volunteer service. Became colonel of 7th cavalry, May 6. Died Sept. 28, 1889. -- Hammersley's Army Register, p. 790; Heitman's Historical Register, v. 1, p. 934.

40. The original post was located near Bent's Fork on the Arkansas River and was called Fort Wise. Established June 29, 1860. Name changed June 25 1862. This site was abandoned in June 1867, and the present one selected on the north bank of the Arkansas River two and one-half miles below Purgatory River. -- Hammersley's Army Register, Forts, etc., p. 142.

Fort Wise originally was Bent's New Fort, built in 1853, near "Big Timbers" and occupied by Bent as a trading post a military post. It was at once garrisoned and in the spring of 1860 the name was changed to Fort wise, in honor of the governor of Virginia. In 1860 the troops began to build a new post one mile west of Bent's stone fort and on the exact suite of Bent's log houses which he had occupied during the winter of 1852-'53. When the Civil War began, Governor Wise joined the Confederates, and Fort Wise was renamed Fort Lyon, in honor of General Nathaniel Lyon, killed at Wilson Creek, Mo. In 1866 the Arkansas began cutting away the bank and threatened to destroy Fort Lyon, and New Fort Lyon was built twenty miles further up the river, two miles below the mouth of the Purgatory. -- Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, p. 487.


     August 28 brings us to Bent's Fort and we go into camp in a nice little river flat just west of it. We find quite a few Cheyennes and Arapahoes camped near us, the Indian prisoners all given up as before stated.

     August 29, I visited Bent's Fort and saw his scalped messenger, above described. He is a pitiable sight. Each arm had received arrow wounds. His revolver had failed him entirely. The Indians closed in on him, tomahawked him from the rear and then scalped him. His hair was all gone, less a small strip behind his right ear. The tomahawk wound on the top of his head was nearly healed up, a thin gauzy skin had grown over the scalp part, his arm wounds were slowly healing, so that now he can feed himself. He remarked that when well he would lift some of their hair.

     September 10, business commences building Fort Wise. A little more scouting is done by detachments, but to no purpose.

     January 1, 1861. By this time the officers' and company headquarters are occupied, with the four corral stables completed. And well it is so as we get a terrible blizzard. I remained with my command at Fort Wise through the summer and until November, when R. M. Peck, David Killinger, John Ward, John Huggins and your humble servant received our discharges.

     After the death of Gen. Lyon, Fort Wise was no more the name as Lyon supplanted the name of Wise.

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