Perhaps a Zane Gray reference is apt here… in that we have “Vanishing Americans”:
Last quarter, we noted an entry for the 3rd Regiment of the Indian Home Guards. For the third quarter, we find an entry which seems to have suffered from the eraser. I can’t say for sure, but the return looks to have posted in November:
- Company L (?), 3rd Regiment: Location is illegible, but much clearer is the notation for two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. If indeed I transcribe the company column correctly, we have a direct connection to Captain Solomon Kaufman, who is mentioned in several reports as in charge of a section of howitzers. The 3rd regiment, along with most of the Indian Brigade, remained around Fort Gibson. The howitzer section was, in the previous quarter, at Fort Blunt, a supporting work of Fort Gibson. The 3rd Regiment was under Major John A. Foreman, with Colonel William A. Phillips advanced up to command the brigade.
While I feel secure with the identification and transcription, the faded ink leaves me to wonder. Clearly the Indian Brigade had a section of howitzers and dutifully reported such. But is this a case where a clerk attempted to erase the entry? Or perhaps he was running low on ink when transcribing the return? Regardless, the bold header tells us the Ordnance Department was interested in the Indian Brigade… if for no other reason than to account for all government issued property!
We turn to the ammunition now. What did they feed those mountain howitzers?
- Company L, 3rd Regiment: 70 case and 72 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.
Sufficient for an expedition. Though one would hope more ammunition was on hand, perhaps retained at in garrison’s stores.
- Company L, 3rd Regiment: Fifty-one “Springfield rifled musket, cal. 58,” two breechloading carbines, three rifles (unspecified type), and one Army revolver.
Note, no edged weapons reported. And I have to speculate if the small arms reported were the total number with the company at that time. Clearly fifty-one muskets would be much more than needed for the crew of two mountain howitzers. So was Company L best considered as Kaufman’s howitzer section, with its accompanying supports? Or was there a half company of skirmishers here supported by a pair of little mountain howitzers? Either way, those small cannon were put to good use combating Confederate raiders in the Indian Territory.