Captain Charles Stillman Ilsley, Commander, E Troop and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry

I might say, in the general rush of the bucks, it was impossible for the men to distinguish the bucks from the squaws.

Captain Charles S. Ilsley, Commander, E Troop and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at Pine Ridge Agency, 16 Jan. 1891. Cropped from John C. H. Grabill’s photograph, “The Fighting 7th Officers.”

Captain Charles S. Ilsley, Commander, E Troop and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at Pine Ridge Agency, 16 Jan. 1891. Cropped from John C. H. Grabill’s photograph, “The Fighting 7th Officers.”

Captain Charles S. Ilsley, at fifty-three years of age, was the most senior and one of the two oldest of the captains in the 7th Cavalry.  He had been assigned to the regiment for two decades but was on detached service as Brigadier General John Pope’s aide-de-camp for the first nine years in the regiment.  Thus, he did not participate in any of the regiment’s campaigning during the 1870s.  He returned to the regiment in 1879 and had commanded E troop since that time.[1]

E Troop had its full compliment of officers, non-commissioned officers, and forty-three privates at Wounded Knee, twelve of which were recently assigned from the recruiting depot at Jefferson Barracks, comprising twenty-eight percent of the troop’s junior enlisted soldiers. Captain Ilsley’s first lieutenant, Horatio G. Sickels had served in that capacity for eight years and had been with the regiment since being transferred to it following the battle along the Little Bighorn River just a couple of weeks after graduating from the military academy. The troop’s second lieutenant was Sedgwick Rice, a civilian appointee that had been with the unit since transferring to the 7th Cavalry four years earlier.  The unit’s senior non-commissioned officer was First Sergeant Charles M. Clark, a veteran enlisted man with over twelve years in the saddle with the regiment and at least one enlistment prior to that with the 6th Infantry.[2]

With only one major actively serving with the regiment during the campaign, Captain Ilsley, in addition to commanding his troop, also commanded the regiment’s Second Battalion.  Major Whitside referred to this unit as the nickel battalion, and in addition to Captain Ilsley’s own E Troop, the battalion consisted of Captain Jackson’s C Troop, Captain Godfrey’s D Troop, and Captain Edgerly’s G Troop.  On the morning of 29 December 1890, these units made up the outer cordon around the Indian camp with C and D Troops mounted to the south of the ravine, G Troop mounted on the east side of the road to the Pine Ridge Agency, and E Troop mounted and positioned just west of the hilltop where the light artillery was positioned.  Captain Ilsley positioned himself on the hilltop where he could best view all of his battalion’s elements.  During that day’s fighting, E Troop suffered two men killed, Sergeant R. H. Nettles and Private A. Kellner, and one man wounded, Sergeant J. F. Tritle.  In all, the Second Battalion’s Wounded Knee casualties included four men killed and four wounded, significantly less than the forty-nine casualties suffered in the First Battalion.[3]

Captain Ilsley was the first officer called to testify on 9 January 1891, the third day of Major General Miles’ investigation of Wounded Knee.  He provided the following testimony.

I commanded the 2d Battalion of the 7th Cavalry during the engagement on the Wounded Knee on the 29th of December, 1890.

Q[uestion]: Were your troops so placed on the morning of the battle as to be out of danger from the fire of other troops?
A[nswer]: From my remembrance of the location, E Troop of the Battalion was located out of the danger of fire from others.  G Troop’s position was the safest I regard of all.  D and C, I think their position was such as to receive the fire from other Troops.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

Q: Do you recognize this (handing him the map hereunto appended and marked “A”) as correctly showing the position of your Troops relative to the other Troops just before the engagement commenced?
A: I do not; I don’t remember the position of the reserve marked 1/3d of A and I Troops; otherwise, I recognize it as correct.

Q: What precautions did you take in the pursuit of the Indians to prevent the unnecessary killing of Indian women and children?
A: By cautioning the men whenever I observed that any man was careless in shooting at any Indian running to be careful and not kill any squaws.  I might say, in the general rush of the bucks, it was impossible for the men to distinguish the bucks from the squaws.  After they became scattered, I heard several times men say “Lookout, don’t shoot, that is a squaw.”  I also heard officers make the same remark, and in one particular instance, the entire fire of one Troop was stopped to prevent one squaw, separated from the rest, from being shot; and in passing some wounded Indians lying on a hill some men shouted “Look out, there are some wounded bucks, they are going to shoot.” Some of the other men shouted “Don’t fire, they are wounded squaws.”

Q: You say that the positions of C and D Troops were such as to receive the fire from other troops; please state if they did actually encounter such a fire?
A: That would be impossible for me to state; I was not there; it was the fire from Troops C and D that I referred to; I located myself with the Artillery, Captain Capron, when the fire took place.  Captain Jackson commanded C; Captain Godfrey commanded D; I stood nearest my own Troop – E Troop.

Q: Under all the circumstances attached to the work of the day referred to, do you consider that the disposition made of all the troops was judicious?
A: I don’t think it was.  I think in the disposition of the troops the troops should have been on one side and the Indians on the other.  I don’t refer to the nature of the ground but to the nature of the case.  If General Forsyth received orders to disarm Big Foot’s band right on the ground where the council was held, the flank towards G Troop left open, would have, in my opinion, made the disposition different.  I think then that G Troop should not have been there.[4]

Captain Ilsley’s final answer was perhaps the only critique of Colonel Forsyth’s handling of the affair from any of the regiment’s officers during the course of the inquiry.  A correspondent present early in the morning of 29 December 1890 noted that Captain Ilsley commented on the disposition of troops prior to the outbreak of hostilities that day.  In response to a lieutenant’s query regarding the odd disposition of troops if trouble should occur, Thomas H. Tibbles quoted Ilsley’s reply, “There’s no possibility of trouble that I can see.  Big Foot wants to go to the agency and we’re a guard of honor to escort him in.” Perhaps a week and half of reflection between the battle at Wounded Knee and his testimony at the investigation gave Ilsley cause to second guess his commander’s disposition of troops.  The captain’s remarks that late December morning indicate that he had no such misgivings just prior to the outbreak of hostilities.[5]

Following the close of the campaign, the 7th Cavalry was the first of the Army’s regiments to return from Pine Ridge.  Colonel Forsyth’s Field, Staff & Band–the headquarters of the regiment–and Major Whitside’s First Battalion were the first elements to depart from Rushville, Nebraska, by train on 26 January.  Captain Ilsely’s Second Battalion along with Captain Capron’s Light Battery E, 1st Artillery, followed later that same day.  The regiment’s monthly return succinctly described the Second Battalion’s ill-fated return trip to Fort Riley.

The train containing troops C, D, E & G and Lt Baty E 1st Arty with Det Lt Baty F 4th Arty was wrecked by a collision near Florena, Kans. in which two enlisted men were killed & 2 com. officers & 15 enlisted men were injured.[6]

In the coming days following the accident, newspapers across the country provided greater detail of the tragic crash.

Four troops of the Seventh United States cavalry and one battery of artillery, en route to Fort Riley from the scene of the recent Indian disturbances in South Dakota, comprising the second battalion, under command of Captain Ilsley, were aboard a Union Pacific mixed train of twenty-six cars, including five or six passenger coaches, all heavily loaded with men, horses and accoutrements, drawn by two engines.  This train, southbound, was to have met and passed the northbound Blue Valley afternoon passenger train at a blind siding south of Irving, and thirty-three miles north of Manhattan.  The meeting occurred while the soldier train was moving about fifteen miles an hour, and the other at about double that rate of speed.  The ruin resulting is described as the most complete wreck that can be imagined, and the wonder is, considering the numbers aboard, so few people were killed and injured.[7]

The two officers injured in the wreck were Captain Ilsley and Captain Godfrey.  Ilsley’s injuries were minor and he was reported present for duty at the end of the month, just five days after the accident.  Godfrey received more serious injuries to his shoulder and leg when he jumped from the engine of his train. He spent more than a month in the post hospital at Fort Riley before being placed on sick leave for six months.  Godfrey’s injuries never fully recovered and he limped for the remainder of his life.  Captain Ilsley along with Lieutenant Selah R. H. Tompkins and two enlisted soldiers filed a lawsuit the following November against the Union Pacific Railroad Company seeking an aggregate of $9,500 in damages.  The more seriously injured Godfrey did not take part in the claim.[8]

That Ilsley was proud of the service rendered by his troopers that day is evident in the recommendations and endorsements he made for a number of his soldiers.  Of the nineteen 7th Cavalry troopers awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at Wounded Knee Creek, White Clay Creek, or during the entire campaign, five were from Captain Ilsley’s E Troop: Sergeants McMillian and Austin and Privates Feaster, Sullivan, and Ziegner; all were recommended for their actions at Wounded Knee.  In addition to the Medal of Honor recipients, another non-commissioned officer, Sergeant Tritle, was recognized for his services with the presidential Certificate of Merit.  Both of Ilsley’s lieutenants, Sickel and Rice, received honorable mention from the commanding general of the Army, although Rice was recognized specifically for actions at White Clay Creek.  These eight laudatory commendations made E Troop the most formally recognized unit at Wounded Knee.  They were not, however, the first of the regiment’s soldiers to be recognized for their actions during that winter’s campaign.  By the third week of April 1891, when Ilsley, Sickel, and Rice recommended their soldiers for recognition, six 7th Cavalry troopers and two artillerymen had already received their medals.[9]

Charles Stillman Ilsley, born on 4 August 1837, was the sixth of ten children 0f Nathaniel Ilsley and Betsey Pettingill.  Both parents were natives of Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, the town where they were reared, raised, and married, where all of their children were born and grew up, and where both parents died and were buried.[10]

Nathaniel, born in 1800, was the son of Benajmin Ilsley and Betsey Dole.  He was a craftsman and cabinet maker by trade, a profession in which he was engaged in Portland with his older brother, Benjamin.  Nathaniel’s wife, Betsey, born in 1802, was the daughter of David Pettingill and Mehitable Carle.  The eldest of Nathaniel and Betsey’s children was Nathan, Jr., born in 1823 and died 1873.  Next was Caroline who died in 1840 at fifteen years of age.  The third child was Harriet, born in 1830 and died in 1894.  David was their next child born in 1832 and died in 1886.  Joseph Morrill Pettingill was the fifth child born in 1834 and died in 1907.  Charles, the subject of this post, was born 1837 and died in 1899.  Their seventh child was Daniel, born in 1839 and died in 1904.  The eighth child was Mrs. Caroline Elizabeth Paul, born in 1841 and died in 1914.  The youngest son was George Leonard, born 1844 and died in 1920.  And the youngest child was Elizabeth, known as Betsey, born in 1845.  The mother, Betsey Pettingill Ilsley died in 1846, a few months after the birth of her last child and namesake.  Nathaniel joined his wife in death in 1870.[11]

By 1850 the Ilsley’s eldest son, Nathan, Jr., had relocated to Chelsea, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.  Charles Ilsley resided for a time during the 1850s with Nathan and his wife Alice.  Over the next decade most of the siblings also moved to Chelsea.  Twenty-seven-year-old David Ilsley was living there with six of his brothers and sisters in 1860. Most of the Ilsley children would spend the remainder of their lives in the Boston area.[12]

At the onset of the Civil War Charles Ilsley enlisted as a private in Company C, 71st New York Infantry Regiment, and took part in the first Battle of Bull Run.  He served in the 71st for ninety days mustering out at New York City at the end of July 1861.  Ilsley returned to his father’s hometown of Portland where in December 1861 he was appointed a captain and given command of Company D, 15th Maine Infantry Regiment, which was then being organized in Augusta.  Within two months the regiment was transported, likely by steamship down the east coast, around Florida, to Ship Island, Mississippi.  Ilsley’s unit was engaged in the capture of New Orleans, again at Thibadoux, Louisiana, then at Mustang Island, and at Fort Esperanza, Texas. In November 1863, Ilsley served on the staff of Brigadier General Thomas Ransom as acting assistant inspector general at Brazos Santiago, Texas, until the following April.  He participated in Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Red River campaign of 1864 when he was engaged in battle at Sabine Cross-Roads, Pleasant Hill, and Cane River, Louisiana.  July 1864 saw the 15th Maine transferred to the Army of the Potomac, first at Fort Monroe then to Bermuda Hundred in Virginia.  Ilsley participated in Major General Philip Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley campaign where he was engaged in the third battle of Winchester in September 1864 when the veterans of his regiment were on furlough.   Charles Ilsley served out the remainder of the Civil War as the acting assistant inspector general on the staff of Brigadier General William Henry Seward, Jr.[13]

Following the war, Charles Ilsley transferred to the 5th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment in April 1865 still serving as a Captain in the U.S. Volunteers.  He served on the staff of Brigadier General Francis Fessenden, and as an aide-de-camp to Major General William H. Emory until July 1865 before being mustered out of service at Harper’s Ferry. He received a brevet promotion to captain for “gallant and meritorious services during the war.”[14]

Charles Ilsley requested a commission in the regular Army and was appointed a second lieutenant in the 16th U.S. Infantry in February 1866.  He was promoted to first lieutenant of B Company the same month serving with his unit on reconstruction duty in Macon and later Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as Colonel Thomas Ruger’s acting assistant quartermaster.  In January 1868, Ilsley was placed on detached service as an aide-de-camp to Brigadier General John Pope who was then commanding the Department of the Lakes. While serving in the capacity of an aide, Ilsley was apparently unassigned to a line regiment for almost eighteen months from April 1869 to December 1870 at which time he was transferred to the 1st Cavalry for a week and then the 7th Cavalry.  He was promoted to Captain of E Troop the following summer and remained assigned to that unit for more than two decades.  However, he saw little of the regiment during its active campaigning through the 1870s.  Ilsley continued to serve as General Pope’s aide while that officer commanded the Department of Missouri posted at Fort Leavenworth.[15]

MOLLUS-Mass_RG112_Portraits_160_CHARLES_S_ILSLEY

Captain Charles S. Ilsley, 7th U.S. Cavalry, circa 1885. Photograph from the Massachusetts MOLLUS file, Army Heritage Education Center.

Charles Ilsley finally joined the 7th Cavalry in September 1879 in the Dakota Territory where he served with his troop through most of the next decade.  He was posted to Fort Meade and later Fort Yates while serving in the Department of Dakota.  His troop was transferred to Fort Sill in the Indian Territory in August 1888 for two years before locating to Fort Riley with the regiment’s headquarters just two months before departing on the Sioux campaign of 1890-1891.[16]

Ilsley’s promotion to major came in February 1892 when he was assigned to the 9th Cavalry at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, one of the Army’s colored regiments.  That summer Major Ilsley, in command of six troops of the 9th, took his battalion on summer field exercises to the Powder River in Wyoming. As he neared the town of Suggs he became keenly aware of a disturbance between large cattle ranchers and the local citizenry, the latter believing the cavalry’s presence was to support the cattlemen.  The major tried to assure the local citizens that he has not there to interfere with, or take sides in any conflict they had with the ranchers.  From his camp on the Powder about five miles outside of Suggs, Ilsley was weary of his proximity to a town that he realized was full of rustlers, gamblers, and “notorious outlaws.”  Despite the major’s verbal and written orders that no men were authorized in the town of Suggs, some buffalo soldiers ventured into the local saloons.  On the night of 17 June the cavalry camp was awakened by volleys of gun shots coming from the town.  Bated by racial slurs heaped upon the African American troopers by some of the lower elements of the town, at least twenty of the 9th Cavalry soldiers were in Suggs.  They were retaliating to an altercation from the previous night that erupted over a black trooper’s involvement with a prostitute and a furious white rustler.  The troopers fired numerous volleys first into the air and then into houses and tents when they wounded one civilian.  The soldiers were ambushed on their way out of town, and one trooper was killed and two wounded.  The Suggs affair was just one chapter in the Johnson County Range Wars, in which Major Ilsley and his buffalo soldiers became embroiled in the summer of 1892.[17]

As an aged field grade officer that had spent most of his life in a cavalry saddle, Major Ilsley in his late fifties and early sixties coped with kidney disease.  He was ill for several months in 1895 spending more than five months in the Army and Navy Hospital at Hot Springs, Arkansas.  In December 1896 the cavalry major took command of Fort Duchesne, in the newly admitted state of Utah. Ilsley was with his regiment in Cuba in the summer of 1898, but was sick in quarters during most of the regiment’s fighting.  Following the regiment’s return from the Spanish-American War, Ilsley returned to command of Fort Duchesne.  At the age of sixty-one he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the 6th U.S. Cavalry and appointed commander of Fort Riley.  Suffering from Bright’s disease, a class of kidney ailments, Ilsley requested to be retired rather than take up station in Kansas. The Army approved his retirement effective 8 April 1899, just eleven days after his promotion to lieutenant colonel.  He died nine days later in Salt Lake City.[18]

Charles Stillman Ilsley never married.  His body was returned to Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he was buried next to his brother, David, and sister, Harriett.  Two more of his siblings were laid to rest  by his side in the Woodlawn Cemetery in subsequent years.[19]

Lieutenant Colonel Ilsley was an active member of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a fraternal organization of officers that fought for the Union during the Civil war.  He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution being a descendant, through his mother, of Samuel Carle who had served as a private in Captain Benjamin Hooper’s company, Massachusetts Sea-coast defense.[20]

Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Ilsley is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery and Crematory at Everett, Massachusetts.[21]

A monument marks the graves of five Ilsley siblings buried in Everett, Massachusetts.[22]

Endnotes

[1] Adjutant General’s Office, Official Army Register for March 1891, (Washington: Adjutant General’s Office, 1891), 72; Adjutant General’s Office, “Fort Meade Post Return, September 1876,” National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C., Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 764.
[2] Adjutant General’s Officer, “7th Cavalry, Troop E, Jan. 1885 – Dec. 1897,” Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784 –  Oct. 31, 1912, Record Group 94, (Washington: National Archives Record Administration).
[3] Ibid.
[4] Jacob F. Kent and Frank D. Baldwin, “Report of Investigation into the Battle at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, Fought December 29th 1890,” in Reports and Correspondence Related to the Army Investigations of the Battle at Wounded Knee and to the Sioux Campaign of 1890–1891, the National Archives Microfilm Publications (Washington: The National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1975), Roll 1, Target 3, Jan. 1891, 684-686.
[5] Thomas H. Tibbles, Buckskin and Blanket Days, (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1969), 311.
[6] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C., Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 1014.
[7] Associated Press, “Ill-Fated Seventh,” Abilene Weekly Reflector 29 January 1891, 4.
[8] Calvin P. Godfrey, “General Edward S. Godfrey,” Ohio History Journal (http://publications.ohiohistory.org/ohj/search/display.php?page=1&ipp=20&searchterm=godfrey&vol=43&pages=61-98) accessed 19 Oct 2014; Associated Press, “Soldiers Want Damages,” St. Paul Daily Globe 21 November 1891, 6.
[9] Adjutant General’s Office, “General Order No. 100, Headquarters of the Army, December 17, 1891,” General Orders and Circulars – 1891, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 4-6; United States Congress, “Senate Document No. 58, General Staff Corps and Medals of Honor, July 23, 1919,” 66th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Documents, vol. 14 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919), 420-421.
[10] Ancestry.com, Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
[11] Ibid.; Ancestry.com, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, Year: 1840, Census Place: Portland Ward 3, Cumberland, Maine, Roll: 137, Page: 176, Image: 279, Family History Library Film: 0009702; Year: 1850, Census Place: Portland Ward 3, Cumberland, Maine, Roll: M432_252, Page: 98B, Image: 194; Year: 1860, Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine, Roll: M653_436, Page: 556, Image: 557, Family History Library Film: 803436; Ancestry.com. Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, original source data: Maine State Archives, Augusta, Maine, USA, Pre 1892 Delayed Returns, Roll #: 56.; Ancestry.com, Delaware, Craftperson Files, 1600-1995 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014; Ancestry.com, Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, original source data: Maine State Archives, Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084, Pre 1892 Delayed Returns, Roll #: 56; Ancestry.com, Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013, Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.  The Maine, Death Records indicated that Nathaniel Ilsley died in Portland, Maine, and the Massachusetts, Death Records state that his place of death was Boston, Massachusetts. Both records place his date of death as 19 October 1870.
[12] Ancestry.com, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, Year: 1850, Census Place: Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts, Roll: M432_339, Page: 399B, Image: 339; Year: 1860, Census Place: Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts, Roll: M653_526, Page: 806, Image: 178, Family History Library Film: 803526; Ancestry.com, Massachusetts, State Census, 1855 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
[13] Historical Data Systems, comp., U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009; Guy V. Henry, Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, vol. 1 (New York: D. Van Nostrand, Publisher, 1873), 348.
[14] Historical Data Systems, Civil War Soldier Records; Henry, Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments.
[15] Adjutant General’s Office, Official Army Register for March 1891, 72.
[16] Ancestry.com, U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
[17] United States Congress, “The Brownsville Affray,” 60th Congress, 1st Session, December 2, 1907 – May 30, 1908, Senate Documents in 36 Volumes, vol. 19 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1908), 376-392.
[18] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C., Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 482; Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Register of the Commandery of the State of Massachusetts (Cambridge: The University Press, 1912), 234; Associated Press, “Death of Lieutenant Colonel Ilsley,” The Anaconda Standard, April 18, 1899, 2.Morning, Page 2.
[19] Ancestry.com, Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
[20] MOLLUS, Register of Commandery, 234; Ancestry.com, U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, Volume: 22, SAR Membership Number: 4352.
[21] Dino, pho]to., “LTC Charles Stillman Ilsley,” FindAGrave (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=137022416) accessed 18 Oct 2014.
[22 Ibid.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Captain Charles Stillman Ilsley, Commander, E Troop and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry,” Army at Wounded Knee, posted 19 Oct 2014, accessed _______, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-yR.

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Map of Wounded Knee and Its Maker – Second Lieutenant Sydney Amos Cloman, 1st Infantry Regiment

Lieutenant Sydney A. Cloman's original map of the Wounded Knee BattlefieldAs Major General Miles contemplated an investigation of Colonel Forsyth and the 7th Cavalry Regiment’s actions at Wounded Knee, he knew he needed a detailed map depicting the location of the troops, the Indian council and their village, and the surrounding terrain, particularly the ravine.  Late on 2 January 1891 he ordered Major Samuel M. Whitside back to the scene of carnage along with an engineer.  In a letter to his wife, Whitside described his task.

Monday, January 5th, ‘91.–At midnight Friday, I received instructions to proceed at day light Saturday A.M. with a burial party to the battle ground of Wounded Knee for the purpose of assisting in making a complete map of the ground locating thereon the exact position the Troops occupied from the commencement to the end of the battle.[1]

General Miles similarly ordered Captain Folliott  A. Whitney to the battle ground to count the number of Lakota casualties.  Whitney also mentions a map maker present on the battlefield on the 3rd and 4th of January, “I have not furnished a sketch or map of camp or vicinity, as Major Whitside arrived about noon to-day and informed me had an officer with him for this purpose.”[2]

2nd Lieut Sydney A. Cloman at the Pine Ridge Agency on 13 January 1891.

2nd Lieutenant Sydney A. Cloman at the Pine Ridge Agency on 13 January 1891.[3]

The map maker was a young second lieutenant just over eighteen months out of the Military Academy. Twenty-three-year-old Sydney Amos Cloman served several roles during the course of the Pine Ridge campaign.  He was the most junior officer in the 1st Infantry Regiment serving in G Company.  His regiment’s commander was Colonel William R. Shafter, and his company commander was Captain Frances E. Pierce.  The regiment departed from Angel Island, California, on 4 December and slowly made their way by train from the Pacific Ocean.  On 10 December newspapers reported, “Colonel Shafter, with headquarters band and the entire regiment, has been ordered to take station at Fort Niobrara,” Nebraska. For the purposes of making a map of the Wounded Knee battlefield, General Miles appointed Lieutenant Cloman acting engineer of the Division of the Missouri.[4]

Perhaps the most well known photograph of Sydney A. Cloman is of him sitting astride a horse on the killing fields of Wounded Knee surrounded by dead Lakota members of Big Foot's Band.[9]

Perhaps the most well known photograph of Sydney A. Cloman is of him sitting astride a horse on the killing fields of Wounded Knee surrounded by dead Lakota members of Big Foot’s Band.[5]

Cloman’s completed map was one of the principal pieces of evidence during the Wounded Knee Investigation, and was used as a reference by most every officer that testified. The sketches that Cloman made at the beginning of January formed the basis of a detailed map that General Miles used in his annual report to the secretary of war that he rendered in fall of 1891.

Lieut. S. A. Cloman's map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot's Band, Dec. 29th 1890.

Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, Dec. 29th 1890.

Lieutenant Cloman’s role during the campaign was not limited to that of an engineer.  He later was given command of a company of Indian Scouts.  Cloman gained recognition during the campaign when he made the arrest of the Lakota youth responsible for killing Captain Edward W. Casey on 7 January 1891.  Cloman caught up with the alleged murderer, Plenty Horses, almost five weeks after Casey’s killing, and almost a month after the campaign officially ended.  The infantry lieutenant provided a detailed account of the arrest in the following report.

PINE RIDGE, SOUTH DAKOTA,
Feb. 19, 1891.

To the Camp Adjutant.
Sir:
In accordance with verbal orders from the Camp Commander, I broke camp at this place on the morning of the 7th inst., and marched down the White Clay Valley with my troop (“C”) of Ogalalla Indian Scouts.  From the nature of the roads, the wagons could be moved only at a very slow gait, so that while en-route we had time to visit all the Indian lodges in the valley as far as we went.  While going down I stopped at the lodge of Corn Man, whose grandson Plenty Horses or Plenty Little Bear, murdered Lieut. Casey some time since.  I found the lodge occupied by the aforesaid Plenty Horses and two other young bucks, who refused to come out of the tepee or hold any communication with us.  No arrest was attempted at this time. I camped for the night at a point near the mouth of No Water Creek, about six miles from the White River.  The stop here was imperative as the roads beyond were as yet unbroken and practically impassable for loaded wagons.  After making camp I rode down to the place where No Water was said to be living, but found no one there.  Early the next morning I left with a detachment of eight men and visited the Ogalalla and Brule villages on a small tributary of the White Clay and about one mile from it.  I was there told that No Water and his sons had formerly lived there, but had a few days before moved up the creek about two miles.  I then sent a messenger back to the troop with orders to break camp and follow us, while the detachment and myself went on up to No Water’s place.  We found this located in the vicinity of two log houses and two or three tepees in a thicket on the White Clay.  In reply to our questions, No Water’s wife stated that she had two boys, but that they were both at the agency getting beef.  About this time one of them stuck his head out of the tepee, I arrested him, but could not find the other one.  I afterwards found out that he is living in Red Cloud’s camp near the Agency.  This arrest was made without any trouble or excitement whatever.  The man said he did not know us, but when I showed him that I was an officer, he obeyed me implicitly.  By this time the company had come up, and we proceeded without further stop to Corn Man’s Lodge.  I had noticed that a great many bucks were absent at the beef issue, and after consultation with my older non-commissioned officers, I had determined to make the arrest of the murderer of Lieut. Casey at once if possible.  Leaving wagons and prisoner in the road with a guard of six men, I moved the company around in rear of the five tepees occupied by Corn Man’s band.  I then took six men, two of them dismounted beside myself and went around in front of the lodges.  I entered each lodge in succession with the other two men, and finally found Plenty Horses in the last tepee, telling him that we had to arrest him, but that he would not be hurt in any way if he would submit quietly.  He seemed surly, but promised to obey.  Leaving him with the other two men, I started to remount my horse, when the man broke away and started for his tepee.  We ran after him and caught him as he was going through the door.  He was then mounted on a horse belonging to one of the scouts, and brought with us to Pine Ridge Agency, where I turned both men over to the Camp Commander.  There were only three men besides Plenty Horses in the Indian camp at the time the arrest was made, and they looked on without showing any excitement or anger whatever.  The grandfather of Plenty Horses accompanied me to the Agency at his own request, and told me his grandson’s story of the murder.  It differs in several respects from the newspaper version.  Three men who were with Plenty Horses at the time he shot Lieut. Casey, are also in Corn Man’s camp.  Another man who was with him is a half breed, the son-in-law of Red Cloud, and is now in Red Cloud’s camp.
I met no Indians on the trip who wished to enlist in the service as either scouts or foot soldiers.  Many of the young Brules said they wanted to get Short Bull’s advice on the subject, and would await his return from Washington.
Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
S. A. Cloman, 2d Lt. 1st Infy.,
Com’g. Tr. “C”, I. S.[6]

Cloman’s report was forwarded through Colonel Shafter and Brigadier General Brooke to Major General Miles who endorsed the report commenting, “Lieutenant Cloman is entitled to great credit for the manner in which he executed my instructions.”  Commanding General of the Army Major General John M. Schofield concurred with General Miles and recognized Cloman in General Order No. 100 the following December.[7]

2d Lieutenant Sydney A. Cloman, 1st Infantry, commanding Troop C, Ogallalla Indian Scouts: For the excellent judgment and discretion with which he executed the instructions of Major General Miles in the arrest, at White Clay Creek, South Dakota, of the Indian Plenty Horses.[8]

Sydney Cloman, at fifty-five years of age, died shortly after World War I.  In his retirement he wrote a popular narrative of his service in the Philippines titled, Myself and a Few Moros, published shortly after his death.  Cloman’s official military record was recorded in the 1925 Annual Report of the West Point Association of Graduates.  It describes his unusual career as a military attache, his rare resignation of his commission, and his return to service during the Great War.

Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Amos Cloman, circa 1919.

Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Amos Cloman, circa 1919.[9]

As a Major, U. S. Volunteers, in 1898, he sailed to the Philippines on the first expedition and remained until 1901. In 1903 he was appointed a member of the General Staff upon its organization, a selection which to all those who knew him seemed quite a matter of course. Then came an interesting mission to Venezuela, Columbia and Panama, followed by an assignment as Military Attache and Observer with the Russian Army in Manchuria in 1904-5 during the Russo-Japanese War. In 1907 he was appointed Military Attache to the United States Embassy in London, which gave him his opportunity for seeing the Turkish Counter Revolution of 1910 and, on a mission, of visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone.
His service in London over, he was placed in command of the Guard at the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1912-14 in San Francisco and was appointed the War Department representative to it. This took him to Australia, New Zealand and the Malay States as a member of a commission. Garrison duty followed to his resignation in January, 1917, as a Major of Infantry.
Upon the entrance of the United States in the World War, he returned to the army as a Lieutenant Colonel. After organizing and commanding the 159th Depot Brigade, he served in the St. Mihiel campaign as an Assistant Chief of Staff of the 1st Corps, and during the campaign in the Argonne, and the Heights of the Meuse he was Chief of Staff of the 29th Division. With the Armistice he was assigned as Assistant Finance Officer, Member of the Board of Contracts and Adjustments, and Chief of the Administrative Liaison Bureau until May, 1919, when he returned to the United States and, at his own request, was placed on the retired list as a Lieutenant Colonel.
He received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Croix de Guerre, the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the Order of Stanislaus of Russia, the Order of Danilo of Montenegro and was an officer of the Legion of Honor.[10]

Following his death on 12 May 1923, his widow, Mrs. Flora Clement Cloman, held a memorial service at their residence in Burlingame, California.  Then, per the colonel’s wishes, his body was taken to the Fort Mason dock and out to sea for burial.[11]

Endnotes

[1] Samuel L. Russell, “Selfless Service: The Cavalry Career of Brigadier General Samuel M. Whitside from 1858 to 1902,” Masters Thesis, (Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2002), 144.
[2] Foillet A. Whitney, report dated 3 Jan 1891, from National Archives “Sioux Campaign, 1890-91,” 824.
[3] Denver Public Library Digital Collection, “Gen. Miles & staff during late Indian War at Pine Ridge Agcy.” (http://cdm15330.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15330coll22/id/24030) accessed 27 Sep 2014.
[4] Omaha Daily Bee, “Another Disposition of Troops,” 11 Dec 1890.
[5] Richard Erodes, Wounded Knee, Crazy Horse [9 of 33 Slides], Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University (http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3498222) accessed 27 Sep 2014.
[6] Sydney A. Cloman, reported dated 19 Feb 1891, from .National Archives “Sioux Campaign, 1890-91,” 1165-1168.
[7] Ibid., 1170.
[8] Adjutant General’s Office, “General Order No. 100, Headquarters of the Army, December 17, 1891,” General Orders and Circulars – 1891, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 9.
[9] Sydney A. Cloman, Myself and a Few Moros (Garden City, N. Y.: Double Day, Page & Company, 1923), ii.
[10] John R. M. Taylor, “Sydney A. Cloman,” from Fifty-sixth Annual Report of the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, June 11, 1925 (Saginaw, Mich.: Seaman & Peters Printers and Binders, 1925), 109.
[11] San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, “N and Gray Company,” Microfilm publication, 1129 rolls, Researchity.,San Francisco, California.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Map of Wounded Knee and Its Maker – Second Lieutenant Sydney Amos Cloman, 1st Infantry,” Army at Wounded Knee, posted 27 Sep 2014, accessed date ___________, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-xc.

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First Lieutenant William Wallace Robinson, Jr, Adjutant, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry

They turned like a flash of lightning almost, throwing off their blankets, all of them grasping their rifles, and fired a volley into the men to the direction of the battery.

First Lieutenant William W. Robinson, Jr., at target range camp at the Fort Riley, Kansas in 1888.

First Lieutenant William W. Robinson, Jr., at target range camp at the Fort Riley, Kansas in 1888.

At forty-four years of age, First Lieutenant William W. Robinson, Jr., was the oldest of the lieutenants in the 7th Cavalry.  He had been with the regiment for over fourteen years since being transferred from the 3rd Cavalry as a second lieutenant the day after the Little Bighorn battle.  This put him in the awkward position of being junior to a number of newly promoted 7th Cavalry first lieutenants who graduated from the Military Academy several years after him.  He was promoted to first lieutenant two months after his transfer and assigned to D Troop. Lieutenant Robinson’s troop commander, Captain Edward S. Godfrey, graduated from West Point just two years prior to Robinson but had been advanced to captain fourteen years sooner than would Robinson due to the effect Little Bighorn had on the army’s regimental promotion system within the 7th Cavalry.

In late November 1890 as the regiment prepared to deploy to Pine Ridge, Lieutenant Robinson had been commanding D Troop for almost two years, as Captain Godfrey was on detached service at Fort Leavenworth.  Robinson was deeply chagrined when Godfrey was released from his service with the Tactical Board and caught up with the regiment at Pine Ridge on 6 December to assume command of the troop.  The awkward situation did not escape notice of the regiment’s commander, as Colonel James W. Forsyth commented the same day in a letter to his daughter, “Robinson is disgusted because the arrival of Godfrey leaves him without a troop.”  Forsyth solved the dilemma by appointing Robinson the acting adjutant of his 2nd Battalion commanded by Captain Charles S. Ilsley.[1]

Lieutenant Robinson was the fourth officer called to testify on 9 January 1891, the third day of Major General Miles’s investigation into the Wounded Knee affair.  After being duly sworn, Robinson provided the following statement concerning his personal observations at Wounded Knee.

The Battalion of which I was Acting Adjutant was ordered to deploy mounted so as to form a cordon of troops in connection with the 1st Battalion around Big Foot’s band of Indians.  E Troop, commanded by Captain Ilsley, who was also Battalion Commander, is correctly located on the map (handed to him), as are also the rest of the troops.  After watching this disposition for a time, the Battalion being adjusted, and I having no particular duties to perform, of my own accord I rode down among the Indian tepees and volunteered to assist Captain Varnum in searching the tepees.  While receiving and carrying away the arms that were found, we found two bucks in one of the tepees, who refused to come out, in disobedience of the order that had been given.   I took both of them and conducted them out, placing them inside of the interior guard that had been placed about the other bucks.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

This guard consisted, as I observed, of Troops K and B, drawn up something in the form of a V, with the apex of the angle towards the Hotchkiss gun.  The apex at that time was not open, but was covered by men in dispersed order about from 2 to 3 feet apart.  As I placed the two Indians inside, a sergeant of the 7th Cavalry called out to me “Lieut. Robinson,” pointing to one of the bucks in the crowd that had not up to this time been disarmed, “that buck or that Indian has a rifle concealed under his blanket.”  I called the sergeant to come up to me, and immediately reported this fact to Major Whitside, who was at the time within a few feet of me.  He told me to have the sergeant identify the Indian.  I called the sergeant up to me.  He endeavored to identify him, but was unable to do so, as he was lost in the crowd.
Just at this moment, the man, who seemed to be most conspicuous, a ghost dancer, and dressed in that costume, commenced his chant or incantation and immediately after, turned and started deliberately to the rear, that is away from the direction of the battery, followed at first by about 8 or 10 of the bucks.  I immediately realized that they were trying to make a break away from the troops, but not even then anticipated firing from their guns.  I put spurs to my horse, had my bridle in my right hand, but did not draw my pistol, anticipating no firing from them.  I rode hastily to within 3 or 4 feet of this ghost dancer, with my left hand motioned them back to where they belonged.  They turned like a flash of lightning almost, throwing off their blankets, all of them grasping their rifles, and fired a volley into the men to the direction of the battery.  The instant I saw them draw their rifles I called to the men on my right, I being between the men and the Indians, “Look out, men, they are going to fire.”  Lieut. Mann was on my left at this time and gave the same order about the same instant.  I dashed through the line of men, realizing that it was no position for a mounted man, passed around in rear of this interior guard, and galloped up the hill to the rear of the battery and was a careful observer of all that occurred until the end of the engagement, dismounting and going to the crest of the hill.
I observed especially that the bucks, who escaped being killed or wounded ran at once towards their tepees, among their women and children. Before the firing had commenced, I had observed the children, of all ages especially, playing among the tepees, and had commented upon it as a favorable indication, saying that it was a proof to me that there was no hostile intent on the part of the Indians.  When I saw these bucks running into their own village, it occurred to me that the fire, which was directed towards them, must necessarily be fatal to a great many of their women and children, as even from my position, with all the experience I have had with Indian affairs, and I have been associated with them since I was 8 years old, I could not possibly at 3 or 400 yards tell a squaw from a buck when running.
During the fight at different times I heard officers several times caution their men not to fire upon women or children or in any manner injure the wounded bucks, and rode down once myself and cautioned the men on that point.
It is asserted, I understand, that a Hotchkiss gun was fired before our men had had an opportunity to clear the ground.  I know positively that this was not true because I placed myself immediately in rear of the left gun on the line as soon as I could dismount and get to the crest.  I heard Captain Capron give the order to the man who was holding the lanyard to remove the friction primer, evidently fearing that the man might get nervous and discharge the gun before he had orders; and no Hotchkiss gun was fired until our men, whom had been around the Indians, had had ample time to get out of the way.
I observed no firing on the part of any of our men, which I considered endangered the lives of other men of the command, and I believe our dead were killed and wounded by Indian bullets, and after what I observed on the part of the Indians and their magazine guns I was not at all surprised at our loss, except that it was not greater than it was.[2]

Lieutenant Robinson’s fifteen-year-old son, Edward Winsor, accompanied his father on the campaign to the Pine Ridge Agency, and, unbeknownst to the lieutenant, his son followed the 2nd Battalion to Wounded Knee on the evening of 28 December.  This made him an unlikely participant during hostilities the following morning and certainly the youngest combatant on the side of the government.  The Salt Lake Herald highlighted this extraordinary occurrence in an article three weeks later.

Lieutenant Robinson, of the Seventh cavalry, has his little boy of sixteen years with him.  At Wounded Knee the boy was in the thickest of the mess and not being armed, he quickly ran to where a soldier had fallen, grabbed his gun and fought like a tiger to the end.  After that his place has ever been on the skirmish line and the lad’s coolness and nerve under fire shows him a born soldier.[3]

Writing less than a year later, Captain Allyn Capron, commander of Light Battery E, 1st Artillery, whose Hotchkiss steel mountain rifles wreaked havoc on the Lakota in the Indian village and the ravine at Wounded Knee, provided additional detail of young Edward Robinson’s role at the Wounded Knee and Drexel Mission fights.

He was in the thickest of the fight and advanced, carbine in hand, with the dismounted cavalry, coolly delivering his fire and setting an example worthy of emulation. Again at Drexel Mission, S.D., on December 30, 1891 [sic: 1890], my attention was called to the lad who, with a number of cavalrymen, had taken a position on the reverse side of a slight rise, where they were firing against the Indians, who were advancing. A greater part of the men in his immediate vicinity had fallen back, while he, with a few, maintained their position until the line was reformed. His conduct was superb and worthy of the highest praise.[4]

Concerning Lieutenant Robinson’s actions at the Drexel Mission fight, Major Guy V. Henry in his official report recorded, “Horses of the 7th Cavalry were met south of the Mission Building rushing to the rear.  Lieutenant Robinson of the 7th was endeavoring to stop them.”  In this same action, Captain Godfrey recorded that, “One private horse the property of 1st Lieut. W. W. Robinson, Jr., 7th Cavalry [was] wounded.”[5]

A month after the regiment returned from the campaign Colonel Forsyth recommended Lieutenant Robinson and four other lieutenants be given honorable mention from the Adjutant General of the Army for their actions in both battles; he was not accorded such honors when Major General Schofield recognized many officers and troopers from that winter’s campaign.[6]

San Francisco, California.
March 1st., 1896.

Brigadier-General James W. Forsyth,
United States Army.

General:
Referring to our recent conversation relative to the operations of the 7th Cavalry, then under your immediate command at Drexel Mission on the 30th day of December 1890, I regretfully submit for your use, if desired, the following statement of the incidents which fell under my personal observation that day, viz:
While halted at Drexel Mission, I chanced to observe several of the half-breed scouts, who were standing in front of the Mission, engaged in what seemed an excited conversation. I asked them the cause, and one said to me, (the others confirming it), that they had heard several shots which seemed like cannonading to the north of us, and in the general direction of the trend of the valley of the creek towards White River. I listened for a moment but heard nothing. Then seeing that you had mounted and was riding towards the command, I hastily mounted my horse and joined you. You will no doubt recollect that I reported to you what had been told me by the scouts, and you replied that one or more officers had already informed you that they had heard cannonading to the north. You appeared to reflect for a moment or more as to the cause of the same, and according to my recollection, concluded that it must be either Carr’s command or the Leavenworth Battalion under Col. Sanford, and that they had met the Indians of Two Strikes, Little Wound and Red Cloud’s bands, who had as we then knew, left the agency the day before and “taken the war path”, as was evident from the fact of their having made an attack upon Major Guy V. Henry’s wagon train early that morning, and having fired and burned the school house near the Mission, (the school taught by the wife of Interpreter Philip Wells, who was with our command and wounded the day before at Wounded Knee).
After reflection, you decided that it was your duty to move forward and reconnoitre, and for this purpose, you first ordered Capt. Miles Moylan to take his own troop and advance down the valley. This order he started to obey when you added another troop, and directed Major Whitside to follow, and support him with the other two troops of the 1st Battalion, saying at the same time, that you would follow the movement with the 2nd Battalion, Capt. Ilsley commanding, and of which I was acting Battalion Adjutant. Accordingly we moved out in that order, the 2nd Battalion following at a distance of about 300 to 400 yards.
Following down White Clay creek, we reached a crossing thereof at a distance of about one and one half miles from the Mission. The 1st Battalion crossed it, and defiled somewhat to the left, up a rather deep cut ravine. As our horses were suffering for water, and it was thought there might be hard work before us, Capt. Ilsley gave the order “to water”. The first platoon of the leading troop was in the creek, when quite a brisk musketry fire was heard to our front and slightly to the left. We at once moved forward at a gallop and deployed right front into line of skirmishers, having dismounted and left our led horses under cover. We thus took position on the crest of a ridge and the valley of the creek to the north and north east. We were thus in echelon with the 1st Battalion to our left and front, but I did at no time in this part of the engagement, see the details of the deployment of that Battalion.
We held this position for a long time, just how long I am not able to say, but until all firing had ceased in front of us and for some time after, I had cautioned the gunner of the Hotchkiss piece of Capron’s Battery, which that day was also with our Battalion, not to fire at objects in the distance, unless I ordered him to, saying “it is simple waste of ammunition and making unnecessary noise which may call out all the Indians back at the agency”, as I was aware of the fact that it was not intended or desired to bring on a general engagement. About this time as I was moving along the ridge, In rear of and near our skirmish line, I met the Rev. Mr. Cook, of Pine Ridge, whose acquaintance I had made at the agency, and asked him “what in the world are you doing here?” He replied, “I am trying to stop this unholy war”. I passed him and saw no more of him that day.
From our position on the crest of the ridge referred to, I could see across the creek to the right and right front, and well to our right rear as also to the summit of the slope to our left rear. Sometime after the engagement opened, I observed groups of mounted Indians riding in from that direction, and concluded then, and am yet of the opinion that those to our front were considerably re-inforced by young warriors from the agency. Under this belief and to prevent any surprise from our left rear, I suggested to Capt. Ilsley the posting of a picket on a knob of a high hill a few yards in rear of the left flank of the 2nd Battalion, and he sent Lieut. Sickel there with a detachment of troop E. Shortly after this you will remember that you came down along our skirmish line accompanied by Lieut. McCormick, and I invited your attention to this picket, and also said to you that I thought “it was all over in that quarter, as I had not seen an effective shot fired in the last half hour”. No shots had been received from our right, right front from across the creek, or right rear, and all that I had witnessed thus far had come either from another ridge to the north of our left flank or from the brush in the bottoms of the creek about opposite our center. I arrived at the conclusion which seemed logical, viz:- that there had been a mistake made regarding the reported cannonading of the morning, and that we were simply being opposed by Two Strikes, Little Wound and Red Cloud’s bands, somewhat re-inforced as before stated, and that it was the interposition of the warriors of these bands to prevent our further approach down the valley upon their encampment and their women and children. I remember that you and Capt. Ilsley, Adjutant McCormick and I discussed this matter for some moments, while standing near the Hotchkiss gun before referred to, and that you then and there gave the order to Adjt. McCormick to withdraw the 1st Battalion, at the same time directing Capt. Ilsley to hold his position and cover the first until it had retired, and then quietly retire to a position to be selected later. This was done and the led horses of the 2nd Battalion were sent back through the ravine, following the wagon road by which we had marched up to a position in rear of that taken by the 1st Battalion, and on the north side of White Clay creek, near the crossing before referred to.
It seems now that the retirement of the 1st Battalion encouraged the Indians in the belief of their strength, and caused them as the 2nd was about to retire, to make quite a vigorous attack upon its left flank. Just as I mounted my horse to retire with the line, I found myself quite fully exposed to the fire of, as I judged, about a dozen Indians on the hills to our left and front, and by one of these shots, Private Clette [sic: Franceschetti] of troop G was killed about ten feet from me.  Several comrades were near him attending him, and one of them handed me his carbine. I could perhaps have brought the body off on my horse without being hit, if I had thought of it, and should certainly have tried it if I had realized then that otherwise it would be abandoned, but I regret to say it did not occur to me to do so. He was dead before I left, and in riding down through the ravine, I was exposed to an enfilading fire to which the dismounted command was not, and it is somewhat doubtful if I could have gone slowly through there encumbered with this dead body. However I have never forgiven myself for not making the effort, nor shall I ask you to do so.
The 2nd Battalion retired quietly and in good order, repelling the attack as it came, and taking up its second position on the outer edge of the plateau overlooking the creek bottom, and on the right of the 1st Battalion. A short time after taking this position, I looked for the led horses of our Battalion, and seeing that they were in rear of our line and yet north of the creek, I rode down to see if the creek could be easily crossed between the regular crossing near the old and partly dilapidated bridge not safe to use. I found that it had cut banks on either side from five to seven feet high all along between the bridge and the bluff which it washed, and that the only practicable crossing was at the ford below the bridge, where we had with some crowding, been able to cross in sets of fours on our way up, and the water frozen over and of uncertain depth. I therefore reported this fact to you as I chanced to meet you before seeing Capt. Ilsley, but you told me then, as I recollect, not to sent the horses over yet. A few moments later however, we observed that they had crossed over, and the column was proceeding farther to the rear than necessary, and rather more rapidly, and you directed me to bring them back and put them in their proper position, but on the south side of the creek. This I proceeded to do as promptly as I could, but I was riding the same horse that I had ridden from early morning till late at night of the day before, and he seemed to move as if he was nearly exhausted. I spurred him vigorously and overtook the column of led horses, at a distance, I should judge, of about one mile; in the meantime meeting Major Henry’s command just before I overtook the led horses. I remember that the head of his column was announced and I saw it approaching before I left the line. In riding over this ground I encountered no Indians, nor saw or heard any signs of them on the east side of the creek. Had there been any there, it seems to me it would have been natural for them to fire upon the led horses and their holders or at me. I do not believe there was an Indian in that locality, no matter what fantastic theories may be, or may have been indulged in by critics who were not there at all.
I would state that when I overtook the column of led horses, I had no trouble in countermarching them, as soon as I could make my orders understood, and that in returning, I moved back at a trot, my orders promptly and cheerfully obeyed by the men. A sergeant was with them whose name I am not now able to recall, but who gave the orders, if any one, to retire to that distance, I have never known.
To assert that the command was surrounded by Indians, as I understand has been done, would be, it seems to me, to assert the falsity of my preceding statements, but my statements are not based on theories, but facts as I witnessed them, and I will venture to say, would be supported under oath by those who were witnesses to the facts referred to.
Between the first position and the second, I rode three times (thro’ the ravine) between the time the order was given to retire, and with the exception of the enfilading shots that were fired from the left front of the first position, no obstacle was interposed.
I would state further that I have read your statement of this days [sic] operations, and regard it as clear and correct, and moreover, I saw and observed carefully, a map said to have been produced by Col. Heyl, Inspector General, and found it to be grossly incorrect in my opinion, and almost criminally defective, in failing to show accurately all of our positions, of showing ground to be occupied by Indians which were never so occupied, and details evidently obtained by ex-parte statements what did not exist in fact.
Furthermore, in closing, I would say that while I have not now, and never have had any desire to detract from the good record of the Battalion of the 9th Cavalry, which came so promptly to our support when ordered to do so, must add that I saw them file off to the right and left of our second position, taking possession of the high ridges, yet I did not see them dismount, or hear or see them fire a shot.
I would state further, that when the command was first ordered to retire, I had no idea whatever that we had been forced to do so, or that there would occur thereby any danger of a disaster. I regarded the reconnaissance as terminated, and the withdrawal as wholly justified by the desire not to prolong a useless, or bring on a general engagement with the Indians in front of us, and perhaps thereby bring out to the fight those who were yet encamped near the agency, viz: several thousand friendly Ogallalas.

I am General, respectfully,
{signed} W. W. Robinson, Jr.
Capt. & Asst. Quartermaster, U. S. Army.[7]

Born on 2 April 1846 at Amherst, Ohio, William Wallace Robinson, Jr., was the third of five children of William Wallace and Sarah Jane (Fisk) Robinson. She was the daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Bowen) Fisk, and he the son of John and Rebecca (Merritt) Robinson.  Together William and Sarah had five children, three that survived to adulthood: Edward Lorenzo, who died at the age of eight in 1851; Leonora Calista, born in 1844 and later married to Brevet Brigadier General Hollon Richardson; William Wallace, the subject of this post; Herbert Fisk, born in 1857; and Inez Euseba, who died in 1864 three weeks shy of her fourth birthday.[8]

The senior William W. Robinson, educated at Norwich University Military College, was serving as a professor and co-founder of the Cleveland High School and Academy at the time of his name sake’s birth. Shortly thereafter the elder William enlisted in the Ohio volunteers when President Polk and Congress declared war with Mexico in May 1846.  He was following in the footsteps of his father, John Robinson, who had served as a lieutenant during the War of 1812, had fought at Sackets Harbor and Plattsburg, and had been severely wounded at Stone Mill.  William Robinson was quickly elected an officer in company G, Third Ohio Volunteers, and served as the unit’s captain through the campaigns of Matamoras, Carmargo, Monterey and Buena Vista.  After the war, William returned to life as a civilian and relocated the family variously to California, Minnesota, and ultimately settled in Sparta, Wisconsin.  At the onset of the Civil War the elder Robinson was appointed the lieutenant colonel of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry, and went on to command the regiment and later the Iron Brigade with distinction.  He led his regiment at Ganesville, where he was wounded, and at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and commanded the brigade at Gettysburg and periodically during General Grant’s Overland Campaign including battles at the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor. Wallace resigned in July, 1864, due to weariness and the effects of his earlier wounds. Later in civil life he served as the U.S. Consul to Madagascar under the Grant administration.[9]

Cadet William W. Robinson, Jr., at West Point circa 1868.[10]

Declining a brevet promotion to brigadier general, the elder Robinson instead was able to secure an appointment for his son to the United States Military Academy.  The younger Robinson entered West Point in July 1864, but left six months later so as to see action before the end of the Civil War.  Eager to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, eighteen-year-old William Robinson enlisted, with his parents permission, in his father’s old 7th Wisconsin Regiment in March 1865 and saw action as a private in Company E at Gravelly Run, White Oak Road, Five Forks and Appomattox.  The younger Robinson mustered out of the volunteers in July 1865 in time to return to West Point that same summer.  Graduating thirty-second of thirty-nine from the class of 1869, Robinson was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd Cavalry.[11]

Heading west to join his regiment, Robinson saw duty against Apache Indians from posts like Fort Seldon, New Mexico, and Camps Goodwin and Grant in the Arizona Territory. Writing in September 1871 to the Indian Commissioner, Second Lieutenant Robinson provided his opinion of the Aravapa Apaches that had been involved in a recent outbreak near Camp Grant.  “The general reputation for honesty of the Apache tribe is poor; but these people, as I have before stated, gave no cause of complaint until their final outbreak, the causes of which it would, perhaps, be well to consider before condemning all.” Robinson went on to write, “I do not consider the statements of a few citizens that some of these Indians had committed depredations a sufficient proof to warrant the indiscriminate murder of a whole band….”  Some critics of Wounded Knee might consider the young lieutenant’s words an ironic foreshadowing of the actions of the 7th Cavalry two decades later.[12]

Robinson’s service with the 3rd Cavalry saw him posted to Wyoming, the Dakotas and Nebraska at Forts Russell and McPherson and Camps Robinson and Collins. He was involved in excursions against Ute and Sioux Indians during this time and was in the field in the summer of 1876 with General Crook’s Rosebud campaign before being transferred to the 7th Cavalry and promoted to first lieutenant that August when he joined his new regiment at Bismarck.  He was active in campaigning with the 7th Cavalry in the Dakota territories for the next eleven years taking station at Forts Lincoln, Abercrombie, Totten, Bufford, and Meade before the regiment located to Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1887.[13]

While serving with the 7th Cavalry in the Dakota territories, Robinson served as the Regiment’s Quartermaster from 1883 to 1887, a position that provided him the equivalent pay of a captain, and would form the bases for the later half of his military career. Five months after Wounded Knee, Robinson requested and received an appointment to Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, which took him out of the regimental army and placed him under the Quartermaster Bureau where he served for the next two decades. In this capacity, he served at various posts across the country from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, from Denver, Colorado, to Buffalo, New York, and from the Presidio at San Francisco, California, to Fort Lawton near Seattle, Washington.[14]

Colonel William W. Robinson, Jr., U.S. Army Quartermaster Department.

Colonel William W. Robinson, Jr., U.S. Army Quartermaster Department.

From the west coast Robinson oversaw the U.S. Army Transport Service from 1896 to 1901, providing the movement of cargo during the Spanish-American War.  Despite his requests to be sent to the front during the war, his position in Seattle overseeing transport to Alaska and the Philippines was too crucial to afford his reassignment.  Promoted to Major in 1900, Robinson was next assigned to Honolulu, Hawaii, until finally being sent to the Philippines in 1902, where he served the campaigning army supplying almost two hundred military outposts.  Robinson returned to the United States in 1904 when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and served as the Chief Quartermaster for the Department of Dakota and later the Department of the Great Lakes.  His final active duty promotion came February 1910, at which rank he served for two months as Assistant Quartermaster General before retiring in April at the age of 64.[15]

In 1904, Congress authorized the President to promote all retiring Civil War veterans to the next highest rank from which they last served on active duty.  Because of his service as a private in company E, 7th Wisconsin Infantry, at the close of that war, Robinson was promoted to brigadier general on the day of his retirement.[16]

Within two months of graduation from the academy, Robinson married his Sparta hometown sweetheart, Miss Ella Lucina Winsor, the twenty-one-year-old step-daughter of Henry M. Harrington.  Bearing the hardships of an army wife in the frontier, she bore him three children: Ella Nora, born in 1873 at Fort Laramie, Wyoming territory; Edward Winsor, born in 1875 at Sparta, Wisconsin; and Mae Josephine, born in 1880, also at Sparta.  Through Robinson’s many assignments across the west, Ella remained in Sparta more often than not, and the marriage did not last.  William and Ella divorced sometime during the 1880s.  The 1900 census records Ella Robinson living with her two daughters.  The son, Edward, a child-veteran of the battles of Wounded Knee and Drexel Mission, was at that time serving as a captain in the Philippines in the U.S. Volunteers’ 35th Infantry Regiment.[17]

William Robinson married in August 1887 Miss Minnie Lane TenEyck, the thirty-seven-year-old daughter of Brevet Major Tendor and Martha (Hascall) TenEyck.  William and Minnie spent the remainder of their lives together residing at their retirement home in Seattle.  They had no children.[18]

News article from the 28 October El Paso Herald detailing the funeral cortege of Captain Edward W. Robinson.

News article from the 28 October El Paso Herald detailing the funeral cortege of Captain Edward W. Robinson.

In 1912, the retired general received the devastating news that his son, Captain Edward W. Robinson of the 13th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, and the fourth generation of Robinson men to serve his country in uniform, died of a ruptured appendix while on duty at Fort Bliss, Texas.  His body was returned by train to his father in Seattle with all the pomp and circumstance that only a military cortege can provide.  In addition to his parents and sisters, Edward was survived by his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Crowell Robinson, ten-year-old daughter Catherine May, and seven-year-old son Edward Gordon.[19]

Ella Winsor Robinson, William’s first wife, died in 1916 in her hometown of Sparta having never remarried.  Their eldest daughter, Ella Nora or “Nellie” had a son, Roland, out of wed-lock, and by 1910 was an inmate in the Monroe County Insane Asylum in Sparta.  Her son died in 1923 and she in 1959.  The Robinson’s youngest daughter, Mae Josephine, married Jason P. Williams, and lived for decades in Juneau, Alaska, where he worked for the U.S. Forestry service.  They had two sons, Donald and Dean Williams.  Mae’s husband died in 1954 and she in 1966.[20]

Headstone of Brigadier General William Wallace Robinson, Jr., and his wife, Minnie Lane Ten Eyck, at Arlington National Cemetery.[22]

With the coming of America’s entry into the Great War in 1917, at the age of seventy, the retired general returned to Washington, D. C., to offer his services to the War Department; while there he fell ill.  Brigadier General, retired, William Wallace Robinson, Jr., died in Walter Reed Army Hospital on 24 March 1917 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery three days later.  His second wife, Minie TenEyck Robinson joined him in death six years later and was buried by his side.[21]

 


[1] General Forsyth’s Diary, 4.
[2] Jacob F. Kent and Frank D. Baldwin, “Report of Investigation into the Battle at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, Fought December 29th 1890,” in Reports and Correspondence Related to the Army Investigations of the Battle at Wounded Knee and to the Sioux Campaign of 1890–1891, the National Archives Microfilm Publications (Washington: The National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1975), Roll 1, Target 3, Jan. 1891, 692-695.
[3] J. G. Warren, Salt Lake Herald, “Capt. Allyn Capron,” (Salt Lake City: January 19, 1891), 2.
[4] Allyn Capron, in letter dated 23 Dec 1891 quoted in The Sparta Herald, “Sparta Boy’s Promotion,” (Sparta, Wis.: March 20, 1899), 2.
[5] NARA, Army Investigations of the Battle at Wounded Knee, 1792; Adjutant General’s Officer, “7th Cavalry, Troop D, Jan. 1885 – Dec. 1897,” Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784 –  Oct. 31, 1912, Record Group 94, (Washington: National Archives Record Administration); George W. Collum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., vol. 3, (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891), 140.
[6] James W. Forsyth, James W. Forsyth Papers, 1865-1932, Series I. Correspondence, Box 1, Folder 1 – Box 2, Folder 49, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraray, Yale University Library.
[7] William W. Robinson, Jr., to Brigadier General James W. Forsyth dated 1 March 1896, James W. Forsyth Papers, 1865-1932, Series I. Correspondence, Box 1, Folder 1 – Box 2, Folder 49, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraray, Yale University Library.
[8] Frederick Clifton Pierce, “Fiske and Fisk Family: Being the Record of the Descendants of Symond Fiske, Lord of the Manor of Stadhaugh, Suffolk County, England, from the time of Henvy IV. to Date, including all the American Members of the Family.” (Chicago: Press of W. E. Conkey Company, 1896), 427-428.
[9] H. O. Brown and M. A. W. Brown, Soldiers and citizens’ album of biographical record [of Wisconsin] containing personal sketches of army men and citizens prominent in loyalty to the Union. Also a chronological and statistical history of the civil war and a history of the Grand Army of the Republic; with portraits of soldiers and prominent citizens. (Chicago: Grand Army Publishing Company, 1890), 553-556.
[10] Paul Johnson, “Gen. William W. Robinson, Jr.,” Johnson Family War Veterans (http://www.newnorth.net/~johhnson/cw/wwr_jr.html) accessed 23 Sep 2014.
[11] United States Military Academy Association of Graduates, Forty-eighth Annual Report of the Association of Graduates at West Point, New York, June 12th, 1917 (Saginaw, Mich.: Seamann & Peters, Inc., Printers and Binders, 1917), 111.
[12] Ibid.; W. W. Robinson, Jr., letter dated 10 Sep 1871, as recorded in the Board of Indian Commissioner’s Peace with Apaches of New Mexico and Arizona, Report of Vincent Colyer, (http://library.brown.edu/cds/repository2/repoman.php?verb=render_xslt&id=1227634538575563.xml&view=1226416901875000.xsl&colid=55) accessed 23 Sep 2014.
[13] USMA AOG, Forty-eighth Annual Report, 112.
[14] Ibid., 112-113.
[15] Ibid., 113-114.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Wisconsin Vital Record Index, pre-1907, Madison, WI, USA: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services Vital Records Division, vol. 2, page 9; Ancestry.com, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, Year: 1860, Census Place: Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin, Roll: M653_1424, Page: 171, Image: 177, Family History Library Film: 805424; Year: 1870, Census Place: Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin, Roll: M593_1729, Page: 170A, Image: 343, Family History Library Film: 553228; Year: 1880, Census Place: Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin, Roll: 1439, Family History Film: 1255439, Page: 78B, Enumeration District: 028; Year: 1900, Census Place: Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin, Roll: 1808, Page: 8B, Enumeration District: 0108, FHL microfilm: 1241808; ; Jerome A. Watrous, The Minneapolis Journal, “Soldiers Thru Three Generations,” (Minneapolis: October 31, 1903), 11.
[18] Ancestry.com, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, Year: 1880, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Roll: 185, Family History Film: 1254185, Page: 461B, Enumeration District: 017, Image: 0317; Year: 1900, Census Place: Seattle Ward 8, King, Washington, Roll: 1745, Page: 8A, Enumeration District: 0115, FHL microfilm: 1241745; Year: 1910, Census Place: Chicago Ward 7, Cook, Illinois, Roll: T624_247, Page: 3A, Enumeration District: 0398, FHL microfilm: 1374260.
[19] El Paso Herald, “Capt. Robinson Dies at the Post,” 25 Oct 1912; El Paso Herald, “Son of Gen. W. W. Robinson Dies,” 26 Oct 1912; El Paso Herald, “Shriner Parade Waits Upon Funeral Cortege,” 28 Oct 1912.
[20] Ancestry.com, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, Year: 1910, Census Place: Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin, Roll: T624_1729, Page: 2A, Enumeration District: 0142, FHL microfilm: 1375742; Year: 1930, Census Place: Juneau, First Judicial District, Alaska Territory, Roll: 2626, Page: 13B, Enumeration District: 0020, Image: 652.0, FHL microfilm: 2342360; Ancestry.com, Washington, Deaths, 1883-1960 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008; Ancestry.com, Wisconsin Death Index, 1959-1997 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007; Ancestry.com, Oregon, Death Index, 1898-2008 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000, Oregon State Library, Oregon Death Index 1931-1941, Reel Title: Oregon Death Index L-Z, Year Range: 1951-1960, certificates 481 and 5299.
[21] Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962, Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92, The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland; The Washington Post, “To Have Military Burial,” 26 Mar 1917.
[22] Paul Johnson, “Gen. William W. Robinson, Jr.,” Johnson Family War Veterans (http://www.newnorth.net/~johhnson/family/military/wwrjr.html) accessed 24 Sep 2014.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “First Lieutenant William Wallace Robinson, Jr, Acting Adjutant, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry,” Army at Wounded Knee, posted 10 Oct 2014, accessed date __________, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-xk.

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E Troop, 7th Cavalry Regiment, Muster Roll

Muster Roll of Captain Charles S. Ilsley’s Troop E of the Seventh Regiment of Cavalry, Army of the United States, (Colonel James W. Forsyth,) from the 31st day of October, 1890 to the 31st day of December, 1890. [Names in bold are believed to have been present at the battle of Wounded Knee.  Those annotated with * were wounded in action, those annotated with § were killed in action or died of wounds, and those annotated with ¥ were awarded the Medal of Honor or the Certificate of Merit.]

Captain Ilsley, Charles S.: Commanding troop.

First Lieutenant Sickel, Horatio G.: On leave of absence since Sept. 19, ’90 per paragraph II Special Order 129 Headquarters Department of Missouri Sept.16, ’90, and is extended per paragraph 3 Special Order Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant General’s Office. Oct 21, ’90 further extended 3 days per paragraph 7 Special Order 257 Headquarters of the Army Adjutant General’s Office, Nov. 3, ’90. Rejoined troop Nov. 5, ’90. On duty with troop.

Second Lieutenant Rice, Sedgwick: On leave of absence from Nov. 6 to Nov. 22, ’90, per paragraph II Order 153 Headquarters Department of Missouri Nov. 4, ’90. Sick in quarters from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4, ’90, contusion right knee contracted in line of duty.  On duty with troop.

First Sergeant Clark, Charles M.: Enlisted on 30-Aug-88 at Fort Meade, Dakota Territory, by Lt. Bracom.  Entitled to Re-enlisted Pay!

Sergeant Whitbrick, Lot: Enlisted on 28-Aug-86 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, by Lt. Craig.  On detached service at Fort Riley, Kans. Since Nov. 24, ’90 in charge of post garden per paragraph 2, Order 207 Ft Riley, Kansas Sept. 19, ’90.

¥ Sergeant Austin, William G.: Enlisted on 24-Jan-87 at New York, New York, by Lt. Wheeler.  On furlough from Sept. 5 to Nov. 4, ’90 per endorsement Headquarters Department of Missouri Aug. 25, ’90. Joined troop at Fort Riley, Kansas, Nov. 4, 1890. Granted a Medal of Honor.

* ¥ Sergeant Tritle, John F.: Enlisted on 11-Sep-88 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Huggins.  Sick in Hospital “severe perforating gunshot flesh wound, right shoulder.”  Wounded in engagement with Hostile Sioux Indians Dec. 29, ’90 at Wounded Knee Creek S. Dak. Granted a Certificate of Merit June 18, ’91.

Corporal Sham, Robert B.: Enlisted on 4-Jan-90 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Capt. Dodd.  Entitled to Re-enlisted Pay!

Corporal Healy, Thomas: Enlisted on 26-Apr-86 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Capt Ewers.

Corporal Glennon, James: Enlisted on 8-Jun-89 at Camden, New Jersey, by Lt. Heyl.

Corporal Johnson, Andrew: Enlisted on 26-Mar-88 at Davenport, Iowa, by Lt. Lovell.  Relieved from daily duty Post Canteen Nov. 24, ’90.  Appointed Corporal from Private per Order 89 Headquarters 7 Cav December 8, ’90.

Trumpeter Fries, Elmer: Enlisted on 3-Aug-88 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Lt. Scott.

Trumpeter Myers, Allen: Enlisted on 26-Jul-90 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Capt. Kendall.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters 7 Cav at Pine Ridge Agency, S. D. Dec. 6, ’90.  Appointed Trumpeter from Private per Order 18 troop Dec. 13, 90.  Joined troop at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, Dec. 6, ’90.  Due U.S. Laundry 25 cents.

Farrier Sheridan, Joseph B.: Enlisted on 27-Jul-88 at Camden, New Jersey, by Lt. Heyl.

Blacksmith Sutor, Oliver: Enlisted on 28-Oct-90 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Hamilton.  Assigned as horse shoer to troop per telegraphic instructions dated Headquarters Recruiting Station Dec. 12, 90.  Joined troop at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 17, ’90.  Appointed Blacksmith from Private per Order 19 troop Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. D. Dec. 18, 90. Due U.S. Laundry 22 cents.

Saddler Donahoe, John: Enlisted on 20-Oct-86 at Fort Meade, Dakota Territory, by Lt. Hare.

Wagoner Humphreys, Michael J.: Enlisted on 26-Mar-90 at Brooklyn, New York, by Capt. Boyle.  Appointed Wagoner from Private to date Nov. 1, per Order 16 troop, Ft. Riley Kans. Nov. 10, 90.

Private Allen, William: Enlisted on 31-Dec-89 at St. Louis, Missouri, by Capt. Kauffman.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters 7 Cav at Pine Ridge Agency, S. D. Dec. 6, ’90. Joined troop at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, ’90.

Private Arrick, Clarence S.: Enlisted on 5-Sep-88 at Cleveland, Ohio, by Capt Kellogg.  Reverted from Trumpeter to Private per Order 18 troop Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 13, ’90.

Private Becker, Henry B.: Enlisted on 1-May-88 at Detroit, Michigan, by Capt Loud.  Relieved from extra duty by verbal order of post commander.

Private Beard, James H.: Enlisted on 17-Aug-88 at Chicago, Illinois, by Capt Goodwin.  Relieved from litter bearer by verbal order of post commander.

Private Caldwell, Eugene S.: Enlisted on 25-Apr-89 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Lt. Dodd.

Private Carroll, Peter C.: Enlisted on 16-Aug-88 at Springfield, Massachusetts, by Capt. Ropes.  Relieved from litter bearer by verbal order of post commander.

Private Clark, Charles F.: Enlisted on 21-Feb-89 at Cleveland, Ohio, by Capt. Heiner.  To forfeit to the U.S. $2.00 of his pay per Order 53, Fort Riley, Kans. Nov, 12, ’90. Deducted Nov. Rolls ’90.

Private Cook, Charles: Enlisted on 21-Mar-88 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Huggins.  Relieved from daily duty by verbal order of Post Commander.

Private Curren, Patrick J.: Enlisted on 17-Aug-88 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Capt. Miller.  To forfeit to the U.S. $2.00 of his pay per Order 53, Fort Riley, Kans. Nov, 12, ’90. Deducted Nov. Rolls ’90.

Private Davis, Joseph A.: Enlisted on 12-Nov-88 at Newark, New Jerey, by Lt. Carter.

¥ Private Feaster, Mosheim: Enlisted on 23-Oct-89 at Cleveland, Ohio, by Capt. Carpenter.  To forfeit to the U.S. $3.00 of his pay per Order 255, Ft. Riley, Kans. Nov. 14, ’90.  Deducted Nov. Rolls ’90. Granted a Medal of Honor.

Private Finney, Burton W.: Enlisted on 14-Apr-90 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by Capt. Dodd.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28, per Order 88, Headquarters 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, ’90.  Due U.S. Laundry 61 cents.

Private Finney, Charles L.: Enlisted on 14-Apr-90 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by Capt. Dodd.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28, per Order 88, Headquarters 7 Cav Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, ’90.  Due U.S. Laundry 89 cents.

Private Fonsleth, Harry: Enlisted on 20-Oct-87 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Lt. Scott.  On furlough since Nov. 1, ’90 per endorsement Headquarters Department of the Mo. Oct. 29, ’90.  To forfeit to the U.S. $2.00 of his pay per Order 224 Fort Riley, Kansas, Nov. 2, ’90.

Private Furman, Everet D.: Enlisted on 26-May-90 at Buffalo, New York, by Capt. Van Opsdah.  Assigned to troop per paragraph I Order 92, Headquarters 7 Cav, Dec. 17, ’90 to date Nov. 28, ’90. On detached service at Fort Riley, Kansas, since Nov. 29, ’90. Due U.S. Laundry 80 cents. Due U.S. for jacket stores 35 cents.

Private Gale, John: Enlisted on 11-Feb-87 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Lt. Scott.

Private German, Henry: Enlisted on 5-Sep-88 at Detroit, Michigan, by Capt. Loud.  Relieved from litter bearer by verbal order of post commander.

Private Harris, Zachariah T.: Enlisted on 26-May-88 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Huggins.  To forfeit to the U.S. $1.50 of his pay per Order 256 Fort Riley, Kans., Nov. 15, ’90. To Forfeit to the U.S. $5.00 of his pay per Order 257 Ft. Riley, Kans., Nov. 26, ’90. Deducted Nov. Rolls 90.

Private Hayden, Francis H.: Enlisted on 8-May-89 at Brooklyn, New York, by Capt. Boyle.

Private Hug, Gottfried: Enlisted on 7-Sep-87 at St. Louis, Missouri, by Capt. Smith.

Private Imhoff, Jospeh: Enlisted on 17-Oct-89 at Detroit, Michigan, by Lt. Lockett.

Private Jones, Albert J.: Enlisted on 1-Sep-90 at Detroit, Michigan, by Lt. Lockett.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters. 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop Dec. 6, ’90 at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Due U.S. Laundry 49 cents.

Private Keating, Patrick: Enlisted on 3-Jan-88 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Capt. Miller.

Private Kemp, Willis A.: Enlisted on 19-Oct-89 at Cleveland, Ohio, by Capt. Carpenter.  Relieved from litter bearer by verbal order of post commander.

Private Klein, Michael: Enlisted on 17-Jan-87 at Cincinnati, Ohio, by Lt. Hunter.

Private Livingston, Henry: Enlisted on 5-Jan-87 at Cleveland, O. by Lt. Vernon.  On special duty as Asst. Cook since Nov. 27, 1890.

Private Lockwood, John W.: Enlisted on 27-Aug-90 at Cleveland, Ohio, by Capt. Carpenter.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters. 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop Dec. 6, ’90 at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Due U.S. Laundry 75 cents. Due U.S. for subsistence stores 17 cents.

Private Marr, George: Enlisted on 23-Jul-88 at Springfield, Massachusetts, by Capt. Ropes.

Private May, Patsey: Enlisted on 10-Jan-90 at Cincinnati, Ohio, by Capt. Haines.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters. 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop Dec. 6, ’90 at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Due U.S. Laundry 75 cents.

Private McCarbrey, Michael: Enlisted on 4-Jan-87 at Boston, Massachusetts. by Capt. McKeever.

Private McDowell, James: Enlisted on 26-Mar-88 at Annapolis, Maryland, by Capt. Smith.

Private McKibbin, Harold H.: Enlisted on 19-Sep-90 at Hagerstown, Maryland, by Capt. Rogers.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters. 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop Dec. 6, ’90 at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Due U.S. Laundry 65 cents.

Private Moran, Michael: Enlisted on 4-May-89 at Chicago, Illinois, by Capt. Porlan.

Private Penninger, Theodore: Enlisted on 3-Aug-88 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Huggins.

Private Porris, John B.: Enlisted on 12-Sep-88 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Huggins.  On special duty as Cook since Nov. 27, 1890.

Private Reese, Wilfred D.: Enlisted on 7-Oct-90 at Buffalo, New York, by Capt. Wilson.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters. 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 6, 90.  Joined troop Dec. 6, ’90 at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Due U.S. Laundry 36 cents. Due U.S. for subsistence stores 41 cents.

Private Risse, Joseph: Enlisted on 17-Feb-87 at Fort Yates, Dakota Territory, by Capt. Haley.

Private Smith, James A.: Enlisted on 20-Jul-88 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Lt. Scott.

Private Steine, Allen M.: Enlisted on 22-Oct-88 at St. Louis, Missouri, by Lt. Guilfoyle.  Sick in Hospital. From Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 90. “Gonorrhea” not contracted in line of duty. Sick in Hospital. From Nov. 8 to Nov. 23, ’90. “Retention of urine” not contracted in line of duty. Absent sick at Fort Riley, Kans, since Nov. 24, 90.

¥ Private Sullivan, Thomas: Enlisted on 20-Sep-89 at Newark, New Jersey, by Lt. Carter.  Granted a Medal of Honor.

Private Sullivan, Tim: Enlisted on 10-Apr-90 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Capt. Kendall.

Private Tague, John V.: Enlisted on 21-Apr-90 at Providence, Rhode Island, by Capt. Thompson.  Relieved from detail duty in post garden by verbal order of Post Commander.

Private Thompson, Harry: Enlisted on 22-Jul-90 at Camden, New Jersey, by Capt. Rogers.  Assigned to troop to date Nov. 28 per Order 88 Headquarters 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency S. Dak. Dec. 6, ’90. Absent sick at Fort Robinson, Neb. From Dec. 2 90 to Jan’y 3 91 with incised wound back of right hand con. In line of duty.

Private Young, Edward: Enlisted on 11-Jul-88 at Newark, New Jersey, by Lt. Carter.

¥ Private Ziegner, Hermann: Enlisted on 21-May-86 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Capt. Parke.  Transferred from troop I, 7 Cav. Per paragraph I Order 84 Headquarters 7 Cav. Fort Riley, Kans., Nov 20, 90. Joined troop at Ft. Riley, Kans., Nov. 20, ’90. On special duty as troop clerk since December 1, 1890.

Attached

Sergeant Bengs, August H.: Enlisted on 28-May-87 at Fort Buford, Dakota Territory, by Lt. McGinnegle.  Troop L, 7 Cav. Attached to troop E, 7 Cav. since Sept. 9, 90, per paragraph I Order 67 Headquarters 7 Cav. Sept. 9, 90.

Discharged General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office

Private Busk, Ingebigt L.: Enlisted on 26-Aug-87 at St. Louis, Missouri, by Capt Smith.  Discharged at Fort Riley, Kans., Nov. 25, 90 per paragraph 2 Special Order 150 Headquarters Department of Mo Oct 30, 90. under provisions of General Order 80 of Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statements forwarded by registered mail to Wichita Falls, Texas. Receipt received. Character “Excellent.” Single Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $15.32. Pay due as Corporal from July 1 to Aug 31 and as Private from Sept 1 to Nov. 25, 90. On furlough from Sept 1, 90 to Nov. 25, 90, per paragraph 6, Special Order 114 Headquarters Department of Missouri Aug. 25, 90.

Private Foster, Charles: Enlisted on 8-Sep-87 at Chicago, Illinois, by Capt. Hennesee.  Discharged at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. D. Dec. 7, 90, per paragraph 2 Special Order 161 Headquarters Department of Mo Nov. 21, 90, under provisions of General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statement forwarded by registered mail to 53 Locust Street, Chicago, Ills. Receipt received. Character “Good” Single. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $9.35. On furlough from Sept. 7 to Dec 7, 90 per paragraph 6 Special Order 114 Headquarters Department of Missouri, Aug. 25, 90.

Private German, George H.: Enlisted on 9-Sep-87 at Detroit, Michigan, by Capt. Loud.  Discharged at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec 8, 90 per paragraph 2 Special Order 161 Headquarters Department of Mo Nov. 21, 90 under provisions of General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statement forwarded by registered mail to Junction City, Kans. Receipt received. Character “Good” Single. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $57.56. Pay due as Sergeant. from Sept 1 to Sept 19 both inclusive and from Sept. 20 to Dec. 8, both inclusive as Private. On furlough from Sept. 16 to Dec. 8, 90 per paragraph 6, Special Order 114 Headquarters Department of Missouri Aug. 25, 90.

Private German, Walter L.: Enlisted on 9-Sep-87 at Detroit, Michigan, by Capt. Loud.  Discharged at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. D. Dec. 8, 90 per paragraph 2 Special Order 168 Headquarters Department of Mo, Dec. 6, 90 under provisions of General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statement forwarded by registered mail to 212 West 2nd Street, Sedalia, Mo. Receipt received. Character “Good” Single. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $21.27. On furlough from Sept. 16 to Dec. 8, ’90 per paragraph 6 Special Order 114 Headquarters Department of Missouri Aug. 25, ’90.

Private Segerbund, Charles: Enlisted on 12-Sep-87 at Chicago, Illinois, by Capt. Hennesee.  Discharged at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 11, ’90, per paragraph 2 Special Order 161 Headquarters Department of Mo Nov. 21, 90 under provisions of General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statement forwarded by registered mail to St. Charles, Ills. Receipt received. Character “Excellent” Single. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $30.94. Pay due as Corporal. from Sept. 1 to Sept. 19, ’90 both inclusive and from Sept. 20 to Dec. 11 both inclusive as a Private. On furlough from Sept 16 to Dec. 11, 90 per paragraph 6, Special Order 114 Headquarters Department of Missouri, Aug. 25, 90.

Private Schroder, William: Enlisted on 12-Sep-87 at St. Louis, Missouri, by Capt. Smith.  Discharged at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 11, ’90 per paragraph 2, Special Order 163, Headquarters Department of Mo Nov. 26, ’90 under provisions of General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statement forwarded by registered mail to Fort Riley, Kans. Receipt received. Character “Excellent” Single. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $18.37. On furlough from Sept. 16 to Dec. 11, ’90 per paragraph 6, Special Order 114 Headquarters Department of Missouri, Aug 25, 90.

Private McCaughna, George B.: Enlisted on 13-Sep-87 at Detroit, Michigan, by Capt. Loud.  Discharged at Camp at Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Dec. 12, 90 per paragraph 2 Special Order 161 Headquarters Department of Mo. Nov. 21, ’90 under provisions of General Order 80 Adjutant General’s Office. Discharge and final statement forwarded by registered mail to Junction City, Kans. Character “Excellent” Single. Receipt received. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $7.59. On furlough from Sept. 16 to Dec. 12, ’90 as per endorsement Headquarters Department of Missouri, Sept 2, ’90.

Died

§ Sergeant Nettles, Robert H.: Enlisted on 20-Jun-86 at Fort Meade, Dakota Territory, by Lt. Wilkinson.  Killed in action against Hostile Sioux Indians at “Wounded Knee Creek” S. Dak. Dec. 29, 1890. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $26.79. Due soldier retained $54.30. Buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery, S. Dak. 31 Dec. 90 Grave No. 13.

§ Private Kellner, August: Enlisted on 19-Sep-09 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, by Lt. Hughes.  Killed in action against Hostile Sioux Indians at “Wounded Knee Creek” S. Dak. Dec. 29, 1890. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind $13.10. Due soldier retained pay $13.33 1/3 <General Order 85 Adjutant General’s Office. ’90> Buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery, S. Dak. 31 Dec. 90 Grave 14.

Transferred

Corporal Spring, Thomas: Enlisted on 3-Aug-88 at Cleveland, Ohio, by Capt. Kellogg.  Transferred to troop B, 7 Cav. As a private per Order 84. Headquarters 7 Cavalry Fort Riley, Kans., Nov. 20, 1890. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind June 30, 90. $15.15. Hossay value of clothing drawn since last settlement $2.56. Character “Very Good.” Single.

¥ Sergeant McMillan, Albert W.: Enlisted on 15-Aug-87 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, by Lt. Fountain.  Transferred to the H.Q. Staff and appointed Sergeant Major of the regiment to date Dec. 30, 90 per Order 95. Headquarters 7 Cav. Camp at Pine Ridge Agency S. Dak. Dec. 30, 90. Due soldier for clothing not drawn in kind to date Dec. 31, 90 $26.06. Character “Excellent” Single.

Deserted

Private Farrell, George D.: Enlisted on 18-May-89 at Chicago, Illinois, by Capt. Nowlan.  Reverted from Wagoner to Private to date Nov. 1, 90 per Order 16 troop Fort Riley, Kansas Nov. 10, 90. Deserted at Fort Riley, Kans. Nov. 12, ’90. Due U.S. for Ordnance and Ordnance stores $13.50.

 

The Recapitulation and Record of Events Page of A Troop, 7th Cavalry Regiment’s Muster Roll of December, 1891.

The Recapitulation and Record of Events Page of E Troop, 7th Cavalry Regiment’s Muster Roll of December, 1891.

Record of Events Which May Be Necessary or Useful for Future Reference at the War Department, or for Present Information.

The troop performed the usual garrison duty at Fort Riley, Kansas form Nov. 1 to Nov. 23, 90 inclusive. In the field since Nov. 24, ’90. Left first by rail, arrived at Rushville, Neb. Nov. 26, ’90. Marched overland Nov. 26, ’90, camped at Water Lake. Distance marched 12 miles. Marched from Camp at Water Lake Nov. 27, to Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. Distance marched 16 miles. Total Miles marched 28. In camp at Pine Ridge Agency from Nov. 27 to Dec. 28 ’90. Left Camp at Pine Ridge Agency and marched to “Wounded Knee Creek” S. Dak. distance 17 miles.

The troop was engaged with hostile Sioux Indians at “Wounded Knee Creek” S. Dak. December 29, 1890. Two men killed and one wounded and 2 horses killed in action. The troop left camp at “Wounded Knee Creek” S. Dak. 4 P.M. the 29th inst. and marched to Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. arriving there at about 11 P.M. the 29th inst.

The troop was engaged with Hostile Sioux Indians in “Bad lands” about 9 miles north of Pine Ridge Agency, S. Dak. December 30, ’90. One horse slightly wounded in action.

In Camp at Pine Ridge Agency.

Source: Adjutant General’s Officer, “7th Cavalry, Troop E, Jan. 1885 – Dec. 1897,” Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784 –  Oct. 31, 1912, Record Group 94, (Washington: National Archives Record Administration).

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “E Troop, 7th Cavalry Regiment Muster Roll,” Army at Wounded Knee, posted 17 Sep 2014, accessed _______, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-xu.

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Private Frank T. Reinecky, D Troop, 7th U.S. Cavalry – Killed in Action

My men killed three bucks and I had one man killed and one wounded. –Lieutenant Tommy Tompkins

"The Cavalier. The young soldier and his horse on duty at camp Cheyenne," by J. C. H. Grabill, 1890, Deadwood, Dakota.

“The Cavalier. The young soldier and his horse on duty at camp Cheyenne,” by J. C. H. Grabill, 1890, Deadwood, Dakota.  Privates in the 7th cavalry at Wounded Knee were equipped like the trooper pictured.

On the morning of 29 December 1890, Frank T. Reinecky, a private in Captain Godfrey’s D Troop, was mounted with his troop on the south side of the ravine.  He had little more than a year left on his five-year enlistment, making him one of the more experienced privates in the unit.  When some of the fleeing Indians crossed the ravine and headed to the southerly Wounded Knee Road that led to the Pine Ridge Agency, Reinecky was on the line. Captain Godfrey relocated the unit south of a hill to avoid the line of fire from Indians, other troopers, and the Hotchkiss guns.  Reinecky also was likely a part of the firing line that Godfrey initiated when he stated, “I know the men did not aim deliberately and they were greatly excited. I don’t believe they saw their sights. They fired rapidly but it seemed to me only a few seconds till there was not a living thing before us; warriors, squaws, children, ponies and dogs—for they were all mixed together—went down before that unaimed fire, and I don’t think anything got nearer than a hundred yards.”[1]

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the position of C and D Troops, December 29, 1890.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the position of C and D Troops, December 29, 1890.

As there was only one man killed in D Troop, Second Lieutenant Tommy Tompkins must have been referring to Private Reinecky’s death when he stated in a letter to his father, “I was detached with twelve or fourteen men and had quite a little time. My men killed three bucks and I had one man killed and one wounded.”  According to a New Year’s Day article in the Omaha Bee listing the soldiers’ causes of death at Wounded Knee, Reinecky was shot in the head.  Tompkins described the action where Reinecky was likely killed in his testimony at General Miles investigation of Wounded Knee, “I was ordered down to the ravine to the left to hold the ravine and stop the Indians from firing into the rear of our line as they had been doing.  There were a number of the Indians in the ravine; my men killed three bucks that I know of.”  Private Reinecky and his comrades were buried two days later next to the Episcopal Church at the Pine Ridge Agency.[2]

The Evangelical Parish of Dierdorf, Prussia listing Franz Anton the son of Wilhelm Moritz Reineck and Katharina Heer.[6]

The Evangelical Parish of Dierdorf, Prussia listing Franz Anton the son of Wilhelm Moritz Reineck and Katharina Heer.[4]

Reinecky’s given name was Franz Anton Reineck.  He was born on 6 January 1858 at Dierdorf in the Kingdom of Prussia, what today is known as the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.  His father was Wilhelm Moritz Reineck, a thirty-four-year-old tailor and native of Dierdorf, and his mother was Katharina Heer from Wissen thirty-five kilometers to the north.  Wilhelm and Katharina were married in Dierdorf six years earlier and had  a four-year old daughter, Katharina Maria, when Franz was born. Wilhelm was the son of a locksmith, Johann Friedrich Reinecke and his wife, Anne Elisabethe Schroeder.  Katharina was the daughter of a cultivator, Simon Heer and his wife, Maria Chatharina Marzheuser.[3]

In 1866, Wilhelm left his family and emigrated to America, perhaps to establish himself in his new country before bringing his wife and children across the ocean.  He settled in the village of Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio, working again as a tailor and anglicizing his name to William M. Reineck.  Before joining her husband in America, Katharina died in April 1871. Her two teenage children made the trip alone in September of that year, arriving in New York City aboard the ship Ohio, also anglicizing their names to Catherine and Frank. Within two years of his children’s arrival, William married twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Deuble, the daughter of German emigrants who was working as a domestic servant for the Reverend George S. Davis in Ravenna, where the Reverend married the couple at his home.  William and Sarah had at least five children over the next decade including Henry, who died in 1877; William who died in 1875, the same year he was born; Mrs. Bertha Mahoney, born in 1877; George Davis, born in 1879, and Frederick, born in 1883.  By 1880 neither of William’s children from Germany, by then of adult age, were living with their father and step-mother.[5]

Abandoning the life of a butcher, Frank T. Reineck, enlisted 11 January 1887 at Cleveland, Ohio. His recruiting officer, Lt. Vernon, recorded his name as Reinecky and signed him up for five years in the cavalry.  Stating that he was twenty-seven years of age, two less than actual, Frank Reinecky also stated that he was born at Long Island, N. Y, rather than his native Dierdorf, Germany.  He had blue eyes, blond hair, a fair complexion, and stood five feet, seven and a half inches in height.  Reinecky was assigned as a private in Captain Godfrey’s D Troop, 7th Cavalry.[6]

Letter from the War Department to the Commissioner of Pensions verifying the Private Frank T. Reinecky was killed at Wounded Knee.

Letter from the War Department to the Commissioner of Pensions verifying that Private Frank T. Reinecky was killed at Wounded Knee.[7]

Following his death at Wounded Knee, William Reineck filed for a dependent father’s pension in July 1891, stating that his son was never married, had no children, and that he, William, had never remarried.  He provided official documents from the Evangelical Parish of Dierdorf proving that he was married to Katharina Heer and that Franz Anton was their son.  He also stated that he had no income and no one to support him, even though seven years later he was still working as a tailor and was living in Ravenna with his second wife and three of their children, including his eldest daughter, Bertha, and her husband, Henry Mahoney, a rail road brakeman.  William died in January 1903, and his wife, Sarah, applied for the unpaid balance of his $12-per-month pension providing proof that she had been married to William Reineck for the past thirty years.[8]

More than three years after William Reineck’s death, his son’s body was disinterred in October 1906 and  moved to Fort Riley, home of the 7th Cavalry Regiment in 1890, where Private Frank T. Reinecky was buried in the post cemetery along with most of his fallen comrades from Wounded Knee.[9]

Private Frank T. Reinecky is buried at the Fort Riley Post Cemetery.[10]


Endnotes:

[1] Adjutant General’s Officer, “7th Cavalry, Troop D, Jan. 1885 – Dec. 1897,” Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784 – Oct. 31, 1912, Record Group 94, (Washington: National Archives Record Administration); Edward S. Godfrey, “Cavalry Fire Discipline,” Journal of Military Service Institution of the United States, Volume XIX,” (Governor’s Island: Military Service Institution, 1896), 259.
[2] Selah R. H. Tompkins, letter to Colonel Charles H. Tompkins, Carroll, as quoted by John M. Carroll in The 7th U.S. Cavalry’s Own Colonel Tommy Tompkins: A Military Heritage and Tradition (Mattituck, N. Y.: J. M. Carroll & Company, 1984), 74; Omaha daily bee., January 01, 1891, Part One, Image 1, (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99021999/1891-01-01/ed-1/seq-1/) accessed 4 Nov 2013; Jacob F. Kent and Frank D. Baldwin, “Report of Investigation into the Battle at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, Fought December 29th 1890,” in Reports and Correspondence Related to the Army Investigations of the Battle at Wounded Knee and to the Sioux Campaign of 1890–1891, the National Archives Microfilm Publications (Washington: The National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1975), Roll 1, Target 3, Jan. 1891, 697-698.
[3] Adjutant General’s Office, The National Archives, Pension Application Certificate No.: 338377, Pensioner: William M. Reineck, Stack area: 18E3, Row: 5, Compartment: 2, Shelf: 4. Research conducted by Vonnie S. Zullo of The Horse Soldier Research Service; Ancestry.com, Germany, Select Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014, FHL Film Number: 489978.
[4] William M. Reineck Pension File.
[5] Ibid.; Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010, Year: 1880, Census Place: Ravenna, Portage, Ohio, Roll: 1059, Family History Film: 1255059, Page: 381A, Enumeration District: 128, Image: 0419; Year: 1870, Census Place: Ravenna, Portage, Ohio, Roll: M593_1258, Page: 455B, Image: 508, Family History Library Film: 552757.
[6] Ancestry.com, U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, 1885-1890, L-Z, image 309, line 34.
[7] William M. Reineck Pension File.
[8] Ibid.; United States Federal Census,Year: 1900, Census Place: Ravenna, Portage, Ohio, Roll: 1314; Page: 9B, Enumeration District: 0090, FHL microfilm: 1241314.
[9] Dakota County herald., October 05, 1906, Image 1, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010270500/1906-10-05/ed-1/seq-1/ accessed 11 Dec 2013.
[10] Jana Mitchell, photo., “Frank T. Reinecky,” FindAGrave, (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=59152423) accessed 3 Aug 2014.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Private Frank T. Reinecky, D Troop, 7th U.S. Cavalry – Killed in Action,” Army at Wounded Knee, posted 5 August 2014, accessed date __________, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-uS.

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