KIDDER MASSACRE

From:
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.

The most prominent affair in point of losses to the regiment during the year 1867 was the massacre of Second Lieutenant Lyman S. Kidder and ten men of Troop M. While en route to join Troop F at Fort Laramie, this officer was sent with ten men and a guide to carry dispatches to Colonel Custer, who was operating between the Platte and the Smoky Hill Rivers. On July 22, the party was surrounded by a large body of Indians near Beaver Creek, Kansas, and all the detachment killed. Colonel Custer decided to look for Lieutenant Kidder’s party, and, leaving the forks of the Republican River, turned south, and soon found a broad trail in the uplands. First, coming upon a dead horse, they traveled along a ravine for a short distance, where they discovered a dead soldier and his horse. Turning to the left and crossing a valley, they found where Lieutenant Kidder’s party had camped for the night. Following the trail into the tall grass of the bottom land, one mile from the river, they found the massacred soldiers, the bodies having been scalped, burned, and pierced with arrows. Colonel Custer buried the men on the spot. Lieutenant Kidder’s father came there in February, 1868, and rescued his son’s body for burial at another location.

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