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.
That all was not serious work on the frontier is illustrated by the following item in the Daily Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado, October 10, 1867:
“Company D, of the Second U. S. Cavalry, was encamped south of the city last night. Several of the boys got so tight that they became loose in their language and actions, and forgetting to answer at roll-call, a squad was sent into town to hunt them up. The squad returning with their uproarious companions in charge, is what occasioned the noise and confusion on F street last night, just after the close of the theater. The company left for Fort Laramie this morning.”
The regiment went into winter quarters in 1867 at posts as follows:
Headquarters, Band, Cos. B, C, L – Fort McPherson, Nebraska.
Cos. A, F – Fort Laramie, Wyoming.
Co. D – Fort Phil Kearney.
Cos. E, H, I, K – Fort Russell, Wyoming.
Co. G – Fort Sanders, Wyoming.
Co. M – Fort Sedgwick, Colorado.
The Indian Peace Commission had been constantly endeavoring to settle difficulties with the Indians since the outbreak in the Powder River country in 1865. Because of the violent opposition of the Sioux to the Bozeman Trail, the Commission finally agreed to abandon this route for certain concessions for the extension of the United Pacific Railroad through Wyoming. General Grant finally gave the order on March 2, 1868, for the breaking up of Forts C. F. Smith, Phil Kearney, and Reno. The Sioux attributed the action of the government to fear and immediately began raids to the line of the railroad and south into Colorado. Some of them reached the camps of the Arapahoes on Beaver Creek, and the Cheyenne camps on Pawnee Fork near Fort Larned, and made them believe they could compel the government to abandon the line of the Smoky Hill. There soon started a number of fierce attacks by these tribes upon settlers of Kansas and Colorado.
A detachment from Companies B and C under Captain Spaulding left Fort McPherson, Nebraska, April 22, 1868, on a scout to the forks of the Big Medicine to protect citizens in that vicinity from Indian depredations. They returned April 24, after a skirmish in which at least one Indian was wounded.
Five companies of the regiment were kept almost constantly in the field during the summer and fall on account of the outbreak of the Cheyennes. Companies H and L left Fort Russell and McPherson in September and formed part of the command of Lieutenant Colonel Bradley which went to the relief of Colonel Forsyth’s scouts, who had held out for eight days against a vastly superior number of savages on Beecher’s Island.