ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
Several incursions of hostile Indians had occurred in the Wind River district of Wyoming during the spring of 1870. Company D under Captain David S. Gordon was ordered to this vicinity from Fort Bridger. On May 4, it went in pursuit of Indians who had stolen some stock. In a running fight for twenty-five miles they finally secured the stock, after killing two Indians and wounding one, and started on the way back to camp. Before arriving there, they met a much larger band and a severe fight ensued. Finally, the Indians were driven away, leaving behind seven dead and several wounded. The company lost Lieutenant Stambaugh killed and Sergeant Brown severely wounded.
On May 17, Sergeant Patrick Leonard and four men of Company C, while searching for strayed stock, encountered about sixty Indians near Spring Creek, Nebraska. After a severe fight of one and one-half hours, the enemy was driven off, leaving one dead and seven wounded, while one of the soldiers was wounded. For their conduct on this day, all the men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry in action.
GENERAL ORDERS No. 21
Headquarters Department of the Platte
Omaha, Nebraska, June 1, 1870
II. On the 15th of May, 1870, Sergeant Patrick Leonard and four men of Company C, Second Cavalry, searching on the Little Blue, Nebraska, for strayed horses, were suddenly surrounded and fired upon by a party of fifty Indians. Private Hubbard and two horses were wounded at the first fire. The Sergeant dismounted his party, giving his horses to be held by the wounded soldier. The Indians immediately charged, but were repulsed with one killed and, it is believed, three wounded. Sergeant Leonard then killed his two wounded horses, and formed a breastwork of them. No sooner was this done than the Indians again charged; were again repulsed and retired with two empty saddles, besides four Indians wounded. Within half an hour they returned for their dead and wounded, and for two hours kept up a series of feigned attacks and desultory sharpshooting. Failing to accomplish anything, they retired. The Sergeant then withdrew his party having had all his horses killed; took under his charge a settler’s family of two women and one child, and started for the lower settlement. Having gone about a mile, he was again surrounded by Indians, who, upon the appearance of a party of surveyors, fled without renewing the attack.
The Sergeant and his party reached Captain Spaulding’s camp between ten and eleven o’clock the same night.
Captain Spaulding commends Sergeant Leonard, Privates George W. Thompson, Hetch Canfield, Thomas Hubbard, and Michael Himmelsbach, all of Company C, Second Cavalry, to the notice of the Commanding General.
By command of Brevet Major General AUGUR
George D. Ruggles,