COLONEL HARNEY BECOMES DEPARTMENT COMMANDER IN TEXAS

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.

us5e2cv61After the death of General Brooke, the Department Commander in Texas, Colonel Harney of the Second Dragoons was acting commander during much of the year 1851. By redistributing the troops and building new posts he succeeded in stopping most of the incursions of the Indians. There was an expedition sent out in June to investigate the Indian villages along the Brazos River, and Company I, under Captain Sibley, was the escort.

Captain Hardee, with Company C, made a census of the Indians in Texas during the summer of 1851. There were not nearly so many of them as it was generally believed, as he enumerated only 3,952 who lived along the Texas border. In this same expedition Captain Hardee succeeded in inducing the Indians to give up prisoners in their possession. During this year the troops were also called upon to disarm parties of filibusters operating on both sides of the Rio Grande. One of these, under a Mexican named Carvahal, crossed the border several times, but was beaten back and finally arrested by the soldiers. In October, Sergeant John F. Schmidt with a detachment from Company C conducted a scout near Fort Inge so successfully that he was complimented by the Department Commander.

On February 5, 1852, Corporal Stanger and ten men of Company C were sent from Camp Drum on the Rio Grande to chastise a marauding band of Indians. After a rapid pursuit of two days he overtook the savages and routed them, killing three, wounding one, and recovering much stolen property.

During 1852, the companies in New Mexico traveled several hundred miles per month on arduous field service pursuing Navajo and Apache Indians. The most prominent affairs took place at Laguna Jornado del Muerto January 25. Lieutenant Pleasanton, with Companies D, E, and K, attacked a large band of Apaches, putting them to rout. The dragoons had five men killed.

During the year 1853, Forts Croghan, Graham, and Worth were abandoned in Texas. At the end of the year the companies in that state were stationed as follows: Company A at Fort Mason, B at Fort Belknap, C at Fort Chadbourne, F at Fort McKavett, G at Fort Terrett. Company I was temporarily at Camp Cottonwood, New Mexico, but later returned to Fort Belknap, Texas, for station.

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