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.
While Companies D, E, H, and K remained in the field and at Fort Randall and Kearney after the Sioux Expedition, the remainder of the regiment was called out from Fort Riley to quell domestic disturbances in eastern Kansas. Lieutenant Colonel Cooke left that post with six companies of the regiment, including a detachment of Company B, on August 20, 1856, for Lecompton, Kansas.
The trouble between the abolitionists and pro-slavery adherents to decide whether or not Kansas would enter the Union as a slave state had reached a critical point. For the next four months the troops were used to disarm both factions. Upon one occasion the dragoons, along with the First Cavalry, Sixth Infantry, and a battery of the Fourth Artillery, were interposed between an organized force of 2,700 men and the town of Lawrence to prevent that town from being attacked. Through the fine diplomacy of Lieutenant Colonel Cooke it was not necessary to fire upon the mobs at any time during this period.
The companies stationed at Fort Riley were ordered to Fort Leavenworth May 19, 1857, to be nearer the scene of troubles taking place in the eastern part of the state. In July they were again ordered to Lawrence, arriving there on the 17th. Word came there on August 3 that the Cheyenne Indians were about to attack Fort Riley. The Second Dragoons started out at once for the relief of that post, preceded by a detachment of ninety men from the regiment on the best horses under Lieutenant Colonel Cooke. On a hot August day the detachment marched ninety-eight miles in twenty-eight hours, arriving at Fort Riley the next day before noon, only to find that the rumor of attack was false.