Corporal Horace Ross Forrest, B Troop, 7th Cavalry – Killed in Action

Harry R. Forrest was a twenty-four-year-old corporal in Captain Varnum’s B Troop at Wounded Knee with two and a half years of experience in the Army and that unit.  As with the other six soldiers in B Troop that were killed in action or later died of wounds, Forrest likely suffered his fate early in the battle during the melee surrounding the Indian council circle.  According to the Omaha Daily Bee, he was killed by a head wound.[1]

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.

Born Horace Ross Forrest about 1866 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he was the second of six children and the only son of Barclay and Jane Forrest.  Barclay was a twenty-six-year-old carpet weaver from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1863 when he married thirty-one-year-old Jane Krewson Hansberry, the daughter of Josiah and Mary (Krewson) Hansberry.  In addition to their son, Horace, Barclay and Jane had five daughters: Mrs. Lizzie Bowers, born about 1864, Mrs. Della Bowers, born on 14 June 1867, Elnora born about 1872, Carrie born about 1874, and Mary born in April 1882.[2]

Captain Varnum completed the inventory of Corporal Forrest's personal effects upon the unit's return to Fort Riley.  He forwarded them onto the corporal's parents at Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Captain Varnum completed the inventory of Corporal Forrest’s personal effects upon the unit’s return to Fort Riley. He forwarded them onto the corporal’s parents at Ambler, Pennsylvania.[4]

Horace, or Harry, was enlisted on 9 April 1888 by Lieutenant Hoyle at Camden, New Jersey.  He indicated that he was twenty-one years of age and a farmer from Bucks County.  Standing at five feet six inches, Harry had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.  He joined B Troop at Fort Riley, which was then under the command of First Lieutenant Gresham.[3]

Corporal Forrest was buried along with his fallen comrades in the Episcopal Cemetery at the Pine Ridge Agency on New Year’s eve, 1890.  Shortly after he was killed in battle, his sister, Mrs. Della Bowers, gave birth to a son on 18 February 1891.  She named him Horace Ross in memory of her recently deceased brother. Captain Varnum inventoried Corporal Forrest’s personal effects and forwarded them to his parents along with $8.70 of pay the Army was required to retain and $10.77 for clothing not drawn.[5]

Barclay Forrest filed for a pension for his son’s service related death in March 1893.  Jane Forrest died ten years later on 4 April 1903; she was not alive when in October 1906, the corporal’s remains were removed from Pine Ridge and reburied at Fort Riley, Kansas.  The fallen cavalry trooper’s father died on 20 August 1910.[6]

Corporal Harry R. Forrest is buried in the Fort Riley Post Cemetery.[6]


[1] Adjutant General’s Officer, “7th Cavalry, Troop B, Jan. 1885 – Dec. 1897,” Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784 –  Oct. 31, 1912, Record Group 94, (Washington: National Archives Record Administration); Associated Press, Omaha daily bee., January 01, 1891, Part One, Image 1, accessed 4 Nov 2013.
[2],  United States Federal Census [database on-line],  Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009, Images reproduced by FamilySearch; Year: 1850, Census Place: Penn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: M432_820, Page: 157A, Image: 322; Year: 1860, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 23 Precincts 11-12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: M653_1174; Page: 987, Image: 555, Family History Library Film: 805174; Year: 1870, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 23 District 76, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: M593_1410, Page: 227B, Image: 459, Family History Library Film: 552909; Year: 1880, Census Place: Churchville, Bucks, Pennsylvania, Roll: 1106, Family History Film: 1255106, Page: 504B, Enumeration District: 157; Year: 1900, Census Place: Ambler, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, Roll: 1444, Page: 2A, Enumeration District: 0255, FHL microfilm: 1241444.
[3] Adjutant General’s Office, Final Statements, 1862-1899, “Forrest, Harry R.,” at Fold3, accessed 28 Dec 2013.
[4] Ibid.,
[5] 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 37, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: 1478, Page: 3A, Enumeration District: 0953, FHL microfilm: 1241478;
[6], U.S. Military Burial Registers, 1768-1921 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007, Original data: Burial Registers for Military Posts, Camps, and Stations, 1768-1921, Microfilm Publication M2014, 1 roll, ARC ID: 4478153, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92, National Archives in Washington, D.C.; National Archives and Records Administration, U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000, Roll Number: T288_158, Image: 2428.
[6] Jana Mitchell, photo., “Corp Harry R Forrest,” FindAGrave, accessed 23 Dec 2013.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Corporal Horace Ross Forrest, B Troop, 7th Cavalry – Killed in Action,” Army at Wounded Knee, last updated 29 January 2014, accessed date ____________,

About Sam Russell

I am a fifth-generation retired Army officer with twenty-nine years of commissioned service. I have been researching the frontier Army for over eighteen years and am interested in documenting the lives of the soldiers that participated in the battle of Wounded Knee using primarily official reports, diaries, letters, newspaper articles and other primary source documents. My interest in Wounded Knee stems from my kinship to one of the principal participants. I am the great-great-grandson of Samuel M. Whitside, who was a major and battalion commander at the battle. I welcome and encourage comments on posts and pages and am always interested in any new primary sources. If you have copies of letters, diaries, etc, from participants and are willing to share, please contact me. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and should in no way be construed as official Army or U.S. Government positons.
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2 Responses to Corporal Horace Ross Forrest, B Troop, 7th Cavalry – Killed in Action

  1. Faith Davis says:

    My great-grandfather, William Jefferson Davis Jr. was a private in Troop ‘K’ of the 7th. He was WIA at Wounded Knee. His name is mentioned in official reports. He is also mentioned in the memoir of the surgeon who treated the casualties nearby. He was transferred to Ft. Robinson where he was discharged on July 4, 1891; his lower right leg was amputated. He later lived in the Soldier’s Home in Washington before returning to his home in Mine Run, Va. He died in 1945 and is buried in a nearby church graveyard. I have his discharge as well as copies of all his pension correspondence that the V.A. had kept on file up until at least the mid 1990s.


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