LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

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Kansas' Participation in the Civil War

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Fort Riley, Kansas Cavalry UnitIn proportion to population, Kansas furnished more troops to the Union army during the great Civil War than any other loyal state. This is not surprising when the character of the men who made the state is considered. Most of the pioneers were nurtured in an atmosphere opposed to slavery. When they established their homes in the Territory of Kansas they were compelled to undergo a long struggle with the slave power, and when the slave states attempted to secede from the Union, the men of Kansas felt they had an old score to settle -- an old wrong to avenge. Under all calls for volunteers from April 15, 1861 to December 19, 1864, the quota of Kansas was 16,654 men, while she furnished 20,097. These volunteers were divided into seven regiments of infantry, nine of cavalry, and three batteries of light artillery. In addition to these organizations there were two regiments of colored infantry and an independent colored battery accredited to the state.

 

The first infantry was organized under the call of President Lincoln dated May 8, 1861 and was mustered into the U.S. service at Leavenworth on June 3, with the following officers: Colonel George W. Deitzler; Lieutenant-Colonel Oscar F. Learnard; and Major John A. Halderman. Soon after the muster it was ordered to Missouri, marched through Boonville, Springfield and Clinton, and joined General Lyon's forces at Grand River. It took part in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, August 10, 1861, where it lost in killed and wounded. over half the number of men actually engaged, winning the commendation of the Union commanders. The regiment was then employed until the following October in guarding the lines of the Hannibal & St. Joseph and the Missouri Pacific railroads. In February, 1862 it was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, where the men received a ten day's furlough, and early in May was ordered to join the army at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee During the summer it was engaged in opening and guarding the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and in October moved to Corinth, Mississippi, where it was assigned to the advance in pursuit of the retreating Confederates. On February 1, 1863, it was mounted by order of General Grant, and then employed in the vicinity of Vicksburg, guarding roads, etc. The regiment was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth on June 17, 1864, except the reenlisted men, who had been organized into a veteran battalion at Bovina, Mississippi, May 28, 1864. This battalion was mustered out at Little Rock, Arkansas, August 30, 1865. While in the service, the First Kansas traveled over 6,000 miles and participated in 30 engagements. The casualties of the regiment amounted to 97 killed, 34 died of wounds, 94 died of disease, and 210 were discharged for disability.

 

The Second Infantry was a three months regiment organized under the call of April 15, 1861, for 75,000 men. It was mustered in at Kansas City, Missouri, June 20, 1861, and was mustered out at Leavenworth on the last day of the following October. Of this regiment, Robert B. Mitchell was colonel; Charles W. Blair, lieutenant-colonel; William F. Cloud, major. Immediately after the muster, the regiment was ordered to Missouri and joined Sturgis' brigade at Clinton. Early in July it joined the First Kansas and the two regiments were formed into a brigade under command of Colonel Deitzler. Subsequently, it joined General Lyon's forces and took part in the Battle of Wilson's Creek. It participated also in engagements at Forsythe, Dug Springs, Paris, Shelbina and Iatan, all in Missouri. The casualties were 5 killed; 8 died of wounds; 1 missing, 2 died of disease, and 7 discharged for disability.

 

The Second Cavalry was the outgrowth of several companies that were organized in Wyandotte and adjoining counties late in the year of 1861. These companies were consolidated with Nugent's Missouri Home Guards and on March 27, 1862, the regiment was organized as the Second Kansas Calvary, with Robert B. Mitchell as colonel; Owen A. Bassett, lieutenant-colonel; Charles W. Blair, major.

 

Battle of Wilson's CreekThe main portion of the regiment was mustered out at Little Rock, Arkansas, April 21, 1865, and the veteran battalion at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, June 22, 1865. Its first service was in the Indian Territory. In August it was ordered back to Fort Scott, Kansas, where it received orders to assist in the pursuit of Colonel Coffey's command. At Coon Creek, Missouri, August 23, the regiment encountered some of Shelby's men and a sharp skirmish ensued.

 

Later it was engaged at Newtonia, Marysville, and some minor actions, and at old Fort Wayne, a portion of the regiment made a brilliant charge, capturing four pieces of artillery. After that most of the service was along the border until the winter of 1863-64, when it moved into Missouri and Arkansas. It formed part of General Steele's expedition to Little Rock, participated in the battles of Cane Hill, Prairie Grove and Cabin creek, and won a reputation for valor, skill in scouting, etc. While in the service the Second cavalry lost 51 killed, 13 died of wounds, 8 were reported missing, 94 died of disease, and 91 were discharged on account of disability.

 

 

 

Vintage Fort Leavenworth, KansasTwo regiments designated as the Third and Fourth were projected in the fall of 1861, but they were consolidated as the Tenth infantry in the spring of 1862.

 

The organization of the Fifth Cavalry was commenced in the summer of 1861. Its active service began in July, when Companies A and F left Fort Leavenworth for Kansas City, Missouri, and a few days later joined Colonel Weer's expedition to Harrisonville, where Company F lost one man killed. Hampton P. Johnson, who had been selected for the colonel of the Fifth, was killed at Morristown, Missouri, September 16, 1861, though the adjutant-general's report gives his name as colonel when the regiment was mustered in at Barnesville, Bourbon County, December 31, 1861. Powell Clayton was the lieutenant-colonel and James H. Summers was major.

 

Early in 1862 the regiment was reorganized and on March 7 Lieutenant-Colonel Clayton was promoted to the colonelcy. Some time was spent in drilling while in camp at Fort Scott, and in May, Colonel Clayton led an expedition to destroy forage and other supplies south and west of Helena, Arkansas. The Fifth participated in the Battle of Helena and a number of other engagements, and was engaged in the military operations around Pine Bluff. Lieutenant Young of Company L, and Lieutenant Greathouse of the First Indiana, were sent with 100 picked men to destroy the bridge at Long View, 40 miles below Camden, and they performed the duty in such a way as to win the praise of their superior officers. After the Battle of Camden the greater portion of the duty of the regiment consisted of scouting, picketing roads, guarding railroad lines, etc. A portion of the Fifth was mustered out at Leavenworth on December 2, 1864, and the veterans were mustered out at Devall's Bluff, Arkansas, June 22, 1865. The casualties of the regiment were 41 killed, 12 died of wounds, 221 died of disease, and 114 were discharged for disability.

 

Under authority from General Nathaniel Lyon, the work of organizing three companies of cavalry to guard the Kansas border was commenced. It was soon discovered that three companies would not he sufficient and eight were organized and formed into a regiment, which was mustered into the U.S. service as the Sixth Kansas Cavalry on September 10, 1861, at Fort Scott. Of this regiment William R. Judson was colonel; Lewis R. Jewell, lieutenant-colonel; and William T. Campbell, major. For several months after its organization, the Sixth was kept busy running down and disbanding guerrilla bands along the border and taking part in the actions at Newtonia and old Fort Wayne. In December, 1862, it was raised to a full cavalry regiment, after which it was employed in Arkansas and the Indian Territory for the greater part of the time it was in service. Part of the Sixth was with Colonel Doubleday's expedition into the Indian country, and the entire regiment was with Colonel Weer's expedition into the Cherokee Nation. The last service of the regiment was in Arkansas. A portion of it was mustered out on March 22, 1865 at Devall's Bluff, Arkansas, and the remainder of it at the same place on the 18th of the following July. The regiment lost 76 killed, 19 died of wounds, 5 were reported missing, 123 died of disease, and 118 were discharged for disability. In the adjutant-general's report, the historical sketch of this regiment says "Kansas lost a greater number of men killed in action and died of wounds, in proportion to the number of troops furnished, than any other loyal state -- the percent being over 61 per 1,000 -- whilst the Sixth lost a greater number than any other cavalry regiment of Kansas troops, its loss being nearly 80 per 1,000 of the whole number enlisted."

 

Charles Ransford JennisonThe Seventh Cavalry was mustered in at Fort Leavenworth on October 28, 1861, with Charles R. Jennison as colonel; Daniel R. Anthony, lieutenant-colonel; and Thomas P. Herrick, major. While all the Kansas troops were sometimes called "Jayhawkers," the name was especially applied to this regiment, which was usually referred to as "Jennison's Jayhawkers." Jennison resigned on May 1, 1862 and was succeeded by Albert L. Lee, who was promoted to brigadier-general, and when the regiment was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth on September 29, 1865, Thomas P. Herrick was in command, having been promoted to the colonelcy. Immediately after being mustered in the regiment was ordered to Missouri. On November 11, 1861, a detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony met and defeated a force of guerrillas under Upton Hays on the Little Blue River. In this action, Hays' force outnumbered Anthony's 4 to 1. The winter was spent in western Missouri, and from January to March, the regiment was in camp at Humboldt, Kansas.

 

It was then ordered to join General Halleck's army at Corinth, Mississippi, where it was employed for some time in guarding working parties on the Mobile & Ohio railroad. It engaged the enemy at Jacinto, Rienzi and Luka; took part in the skirmishes at Bear Creek and Buzzard Roost; joined General Grant at Grand Junction; was in the fights at Tuscumbia, Town Creek, Pontotoc and several minor actions, and was constantly employed in scouting and skirmishing from May 9, 1863, until Jan. 8, 1864. After the men received their veteran furlough the regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee and soon afterward was sent back to Mississippi. It took part in the battle of Tupelo, July 14-15, 1864, then returned to Memphis, and in September was ordered to St. Louis. It was an active participant in the Price Raid, after which it was stationed in Nebraska until ordered to Fort Leavenworth for the muster out. The Seventh lost 55 men killed, 9 died of wounds, 161 were discharged for disability, 98 died of disease, and 2 were reported missing. 

 

 

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