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Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Military History
Produced by Ted and Carole Miller.

Part 1:
Military History | Death of Logan Fontenelle
Part 2:
The Rebellion | Proclamation
Part 3:
First Infantry (afterward First Cavalry)
Part 4:
Second Nebraska Cavalry
Part 5:

First Battalion Nebraska Veteran Cavalry
The First Regiment in Nebraska.

Part 6:
The Curtis Horse
Part 7:
The Curtis Horse (cont.)
Part 8:

Public Acknowledgment | The Distinguished Soldiers
Department of the Platte

Part 8


A joint resolution of the Territorial Legislature, approved by the Governor January 25, 1864, expressed the sentiment of the Legislature toward the soldiers in the following words:

WHEREAS, A wicked and uncalled-for rebellion now devastates a large portion of our beloved country, threatening its very existence, and whereas, our brave men have, at their country's call, gone to fight her battles and preserve the institutions of our fathers, therefore,

Resolved, That the thanks of the people of this Territory are due and are hereby tendered through their Legislative Assembly to the brave men who have gone from our Territory to battle for the preservation of our country. That we look with pride and satisfaction upon the record our soldiers have made since the war of the rebellion was inaugurated and that their unsurpassed bravery on every field, from Fort Donelson, where the blood of Nebraska first mingled with the crimson tide of the brave of other States, who consecrated with their lives the first great victory of the war, down to the heroic defense of Cape Girardeau, where the sons of our Territory, almost unaided, achieved one of the most brilliant and decisive victories that will adorn the annals of the present struggle, a record which commands the admiration of the world, and places us under a debt of gratitude to those brave men which we can never repay.

Resolved, That our warm and earnest sympathies are extended to the friends and relatives of the gallant dead of our Territory, who gave up their lives that their country might live.

The resolutions were duly authorized to be transmitted to Gen. John M. Thayer, Col. Robert R. Livingston and Lieut. Col. M. T. Patrick, to be by them communicated to the men in the field.

During the first session of the Thirty-ninth Congress, 1866, the following bill was passed:


"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of War be and is hereby instructed to examine, adjust and allow the expenditures and liabilities of the Territory of Nebraska, made and incurred in the year 1864, for the pay, equipment and maintenance of territorial troops in the suppression of Indian hostilities, and protection of the lives and property of citizens of the United States, exposed to the attack of Confederate tribes; and the amount so allowed, when approved by the proper accounting officers of the treasury, shall be paid into the Territorial Treasury by a warrant payable to the order of the government of that Territory, and shall be in full for ail claims in the premises on the part of said Territory, or the troops thereof: Provided, That no allowance shall be made for troops beyond the companies called out by the government of said Territory in that year, and placed under the General commanding the troops of the United States in that Territory. Nor shall any rate of pay or expenses of any kind be allowed higher or greater than those allowed by law to like troops regularly enlisted in the service of the United States, and the sum of $45,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated. Approved, July 27, 1866.


In this connection, it might not be out of place to mention briefly the honors subsequently paid to prominent actors in Nebraska's war history. Gen. Thayer and Mr. Tipton were sent to the United States Senate upon the admission of Nebraska as a State. Alvin Saunders, the war Governor, and Hon. A. S. Paddock, Secretary of State, were honored in a like manner. Col. Livingston was nominated for Congress on the Democratic ticket, but the political preponderance was too great the other way. Col. Sapp afterward moved to Council Bluffs, and was sent to Congress from that district.

While speaking of the civil war, the important part taken in it by the women of Nebraska must not be overlooked. Although their work lay at home instead of in the field, they labored none the less devotedly in the interests of their country than did their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, who, by the accident of sex, were called upon to take up arms in its behalf. When the Sanitary Fair took place in St. Louis in 1864, the earnest efforts of Nebraska women resulted in the contribution of a large amount of money and supplies, estimated at $10,000. In the spring of 1865, active preparations were made to take a leading part in the approaching fair at Chicago. A concert given at the Herndon House, Omaha, February 15, netted over $400 for the purpose. Contributions flowed in for the cause from all over the Territory, and a special department in the fair was assigned to Nebraska, which was presided over by Mrs. Gov. Saunders and Mrs. O. F. Davis. The money and supplies devoted to this worthy object by the people of the Territory amounted in value to fully $25,000, according to the authority of one of the leaders of the movement.

The peace party in Nebraska during the war was neither particularly strong nor rampant. Politically, the Territory was pretty close, though the Union party always managed to carry it by fair majorities. The few open sympathizers with the Southern cause found it more comfortable to temper their expressions and actions, and no serious outbreak of dissatisfaction occurred during the whole progress of the rebellion.


The early military history of Nebraska is comparatively unimportant, and calls for but casual mention. Up to 1853, the territory now included within the boundaries of the State formed a portion of the Division of the West, a military command embracing everything west of the Mississippi River. On the 31st of October, 1853, the Department of the West was formed under the successive commands of Brig. Gen. Newman S. Clarke, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Twiggs, Brig. Gen. Persifer F. Smith, Brig. Gen. William S. Harney and Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, covering a period of about eight years, with headquarters at Leavenworth, Kan. July 3, 1861, the name was changed to the "Western Department," under Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, at St. Louis. November 9, 1861, the Territory was assigned to the Department of Kansas, in charge of Maj. Gen. David Hunter, at Fort Leavenworth. March 11, 1862, Nebraska became part of the Department of the Mississippi, Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck commanding, at St. Louis, but, on the 2d of May, was transferred back to the Department of Kansas, Brig. Gen. James Blunt. October 11, 1862, the Department of the Missouri was formed, with Gen. J. M. Schofield in command, at St. Louis, and Nebraska was included therein. January 1, 1864, the Territory was again put into the Department of Kansas, under Maj. Gen. S. R. Curtis, at Leavenworth. January 30, 1865, saw it put back into the Department of the Missouri, under Maj. Gen. John Pope, at St. Louis. The Department of the Platte was organized out of the preceding department April 1, 1866, and the headquarters established at Omaha. The new department included the States of Iowa and Nebraska, and the Territories of Wyoming, Utah, and that portion of Idaho east of the 114th meridian. The first department commander was Brig. Gen. Philip St. George Cook, who continued in charge until the 23d of January, 1867, when he was succeeded by Gen. Christopher C. Augur. December 11, 1871, Gen. E. O. C. Ord was appointed commander, and on the 27th of April, 1875, Gen. George Crook, the present commander, assumed charge.

Following is a list of the present military posts in the Department of the Platte, with the date of establishment of each, the posts being named alphabetically:

Fort Bridger, Wyoming, 1857.
Fork Cameron, Utah, May 25, 1872.
Fort Douglas, Utah, October. 1862.
Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, July, 1867.
Fort Hall, Idaho, 1870.
Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 1849
Fort McKinney, Wyoming, July, 1878.
Fort Niobrara, Nebraska, July, 1879.
Fort Omaha, Nebraska, 1868.
Fort Robinson, Nebraska, March, 1874.
Fort Russell, Wyoming, 1867.
Fort Sanders, Wyoming, 1866.
Fort Sidney, Nebraska, 1867.
Fort Steele, Wyoming, June, 1868.
Fort Thornburg, Utah, 1881.
Fort Washakie, Wyoming, June 28, 1869.
There is also a military depot at Cheyenne W. T.

Besides these posts, the following ones, which have been prominent in their day, have been abandoned:

Fort Kearney, one of the old landmarks of pioneer history, was abandoned in 1867, after an eventful existence of twenty years. The first post was established at this point by a small detachment of volunteers under Capt. Childs, in 1847, and the place was first called Fort Childs, after the commander. In 1848, Col. Phil Kearney, the gallant soldier of the Mexican war, took command, with the Second United States Dragoons, and the fort was named in his honor. Fort Kearney was, in its day, a very important post. Situated on the line of the great overland trail, it threw its protecting influence far about, and was a welcome point of refuge to many a band of harassed emigrants.

In 1861, when the war broke out, the temporary commander, Capt. C. L. Tyler, ordered all the artillery spiked on the plea that the post was threatened by rebels. This wanton act aroused the ire of the soldiers to such a pitch that Tyler, who was a blatant Confederate sympathizer, found it convenient to make his way into the rebel lines and afterward rose to the rank of General in the Southern service. During the war, Fort Kearney was the seat of nearly all the offensive military movements against the savages.

Fort McPherson, first known under the name of Cantonment McKean, and afterward as Cottonwood Springs, was established in 1863, and abandoned in April, 1880.

Fort Hartsuff, Neb., was established in 1874, and discontinued in May, 1881.

Camp Sheridan, Neb., was established in September, 1874, and vacated in May, 1881.

Fort Omaha was first known as Sherman Barracks, afterward as Omaha Barracks, and finally, in 1878, was given its present name.

There are at present on duty at the various posts in the department seventy-six officers and 700 men. The officers of the Department of the Platte and of the Nebraska posts are as follows:

Brig. Gen. George Crook, U. S. A., commanding.

Personal Staff--Capt. Cyrus S. Roberts, Seventeenth Infantry, Aid-de-camp; First Lieut. J. G. Bourke. Third Cavalry, Aid-de-camp, First Lieut. W. S. Schuyler, Fifth Cavalry, Aid-de-camp.

Department Staff--Maj. James P. Martin, Adjutant General; Lieut. Col. William B. Royall, Third Cavalry, Assistant Acting Inspector General; Maj. H. B. Burnham, Judge Advocate; Maj. M. I. Ludington, Chief Commissary; Lieut. Col. John E. Summers, Medical Director; Maj. T. H. Stanton, Chief Paymaster; First Lieut. D. C. Kingman, Engineer Officer.

General staff officers in addition to the department staff--Capt. John V. Furay, Depot Quartermaster, Omaha; First Lieut. E. D. Thomas, Fifth Cavalry, Assistant Acting Quartermaster, Omaha.

Medical Department--Surgeon, W. H. Forwood, Fort Omaha; Assistant Surgeon, Richards Barnett, Fort Omaha; Assistant Surgeon, Henry Lippincott, Fort Niobrara; Assistant Surgeon, James P. Kimball, Fort Sidney; Assistant Surgeon, W. B. Brewster, Fort Robinson.

Pay Department--Maj. Robert D. C. Clarke, Omaha; Maj. A. S. Towar, Omaha.

Post Chaplains--George A. England, Fort Omaha; George W. Simpson, Fort Robinson; William T. McAdam, Fort Niobrara.

Fort Niobrara (present)--Capt. R. H. Montgomery, Fifth Cavalry, commanding; Capt. W. W. Rogers, Ninth Infantry, Company B; First Lieut. Frank Michler, Fifth Cavalry, Company F; Second Lieut. J. V. S. Paddock, Fifth Cavalry, Company D; Second Lieut. H. W. Macomb, Fifth Cavalry, Company B; Second Lieut. J. M. McCarty, Ninth Infantry, Company B; Second Lieut. L. W. Cornish, Fifth Cavalry, Company F; Acting Assistant Surgeon, G. W. Towar.

Absent--Maj. J. J. Upham, Fifth Cavalry; Capt. J. Vokmar, Fifth Cavalry, Company D; First Lieut. A. W. Greely, Fifth Cavalry, Company B; First Lieut. W. L. Carpenter, Ninth Infantry, Company B; First Lieut. George B. Davis, Fifth Cavalry, Company D; Capt. J. S. Payne, Fifth Cavalry, Company F.

Fort Omaha (present)--Col. J. H. King, Ninth Infantry, commanding; First Lieut. M. C. Foote, Adjutant, Ninth Infantry; First Lieut. J. Regan, Regimental Quartermaster Infantry; Capt. Samuel Munson, Ninth Infantry, Company C; Capt. Leonard Hay, Ninth Infantry, Company K; Capt. Jesse M. Lee, Ninth Infantry, Company D; First Lieut. James Stembel, Ninth Infantry, Company K; First Lieut. John A. Baldwin, Ninth Infantry, Company D; Second Lieut. George Palmer, Ninth Infantry, Company K; Second Lieut. Charles P. Stevens, Ninth Infantry, Company C; Second Lieut. A. S. McNutt, Ninth Infantry, Company D; First Lieut. T. H. Capron, Ninth Infantry, Company C.

Fort Robinson (present)--Maj. E. V. Sumner, Fifth Cavalry; Capt. J. M. Hamilton, Fifth Cavalry, Company H; Capt. J. B. Babcock, Fifth Cavalry, Company M; Capt. A. Morton, Ninth Infantry, Company G; First Lieut. C. D. Parkhurst, Fifth Cavalry, Company H; First Lieut. C. H. Watts, Fifth Cavalry, Company M; First Lieut. W. S. Wyatt, Ninth Infantry, Company G; Second Lieut. H. J. Goldman, Fifth Cavalry, Company M; Second Lieut. C. C. Miner, Ninth Infantry, Company G; Second Lieut. E. P. Andrus, Fifth Cavalry, Company H.

Fort Sidney (present)--Lieut. Col. C. E. Compton, Fifth Cavalry; Capt. Emil Adam, Fifth Cavalry, Company C; Capt. William E. Forbush, Fifth Cavalry, Company L; Second Lieut. C. R. Noyes, Ninth Infantry, Company F; Second Lieut. W. E. Almy, Fifth Cavalry, Company C.

Absent--Capt. G. B. Russell, Ninth Infantry, Company F; Capt. George F. Price, Fifth Cavalry, Company E; First Lieut. W. B. Pease, Ninth Infantry, Company F; First Lieut. P. P. Barnard, Fifth Cavalry, Company E; First Lieut. Charles H. Rockwell, Fifth Cavalry, Company L; Second Lieut. John F. Barnett, Fifth Cavalry, Company E; Second Lieut. H. W. Wheeler, Fifth Cavalry, Company L.


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