Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – The Indian Home Guard

Below the listing of Iowa’s summaries is this short section with the heading “Indian Brigade”:

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In earlier quarters, we’ve discussed the origins of the Indian Brigade, or more specifically the units in the Indian Home Guard. For the second and third quarters, only a section from 3rd Indian Home Guard Regiment appeared in the summaries. Here, we find two entries. The lower of the two is consistent with earlier quarters. But the upper line is a fresh field to consider:

  • Company E, 2nd Indian Home Guards: Actually reading “2nd Infy’ | Arty Stores|” or something along those lines. The unit is reporting from Fort Gibson… indicated as “Arkansas” but this should read “Cherokee Nation” or “Indian Territories.” During the war, the post was sometimes cited as Fort Blunt. The line reports two 12-pdr field howitzers. No leads as to who was in charge of this pair of howitzers. But in the time period we are reviewing, Major Moses B.C. Wright commanded the 2nd Indian Home Guards.
  • Company L, 3rd Indian Home Guards: And again to be precise this line reads “3rd Infy’ Indian Home Guard, Stores.” No location given, but the 3rd was also operating out of Fort Gibson/Blunt. The report indicates three 12-pdr mountain howitzers. We have connected Captain Solomon Kaufman with these cannon in previous quarters.

At the end of December, 1863, the Indian Home Guards were part of the First Brigade, District of the Frontier, Department of Missouri. Colonel William A. Phillips, who’d led the organization of these guards, led the brigade, with his headquarters at Fort Gibson/Blunt. In addition to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Indian Home Guards, the brigade included the 14th Kansas Cavalry. Their mission was to maintain the lines between Fort Gibson, Fort Smith, and other Federal strongholds in the district. With that charge, these regiments did a lot of patrolling, with much interaction with Confederate forces operating in the same area.

The details about the artillery use of these units remains an unclear and imprecise area of my studies. Certainly these cannon were employed to defend the post. And at times they are used to support patrols. As mentioned in the second quarter discussion, the mountain howitzers were used at Cabin Creek in July 1863. Beyond that, I can only speculate.

Turning to the ammunition reported, howitzers need shells and case shot:

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  • 2nd Home Guards: 130 shell and 124 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Home Guards: 50 case for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

And canister on the next page:

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  • 2nd Home Guards: 19 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Home Guards: 60 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

No rifled projectiles were reported on hand, of course. So we move to the small arms:

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  • 2nd Home Guards: Three .69-caliber musketoons, 31 Sharps’ .52-caliber rifles, and one Colt navy revolver.
  • 3rd Home Guards: One Sharps’ .52-caliber cabine and 33 Sharps’ .52-caliber rifles.

And those Sharps’ needed cartridges:

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  • 2nd Home Guards: 1,000 Sharps cartridges.

As for powder, not much reported:

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  • 3rd Home Guards: Two pounds of musket powder.

The presence of even a small number of howitzers at the advance post of Fort Gibson was an important resource in the hands of Federal commanders in this theater of war. On the Confederate side, several officers noted the lack of artillery supporting their allies from the tribes. And the Federals were keen to maintain their edge in regard to the artillery. In correspondence dated February 11, 1864, sent to Colonel Phillips in Fort Gibson, Major-General Samuel Curtis noted that more artillery was needed at that post. Underscoring that desire, three days later Curtis communicated to Major-General Henry Halleck, in Washington, his designs to strengthen the hold in the Indian Territories, pointing out, “Fort Gibson has been fortified by the volunteers, making it a pretty safe position; but some finishing and repairing are necessary, and two or three good siege guns would be a great additional strength.”

Yes, a couple of heavy guns in the blockhouses would ensure control of the Arkansas River. And with that a sizable portion of the territory beyond. However, there is no indication Halleck considered Curtis’ request.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Kansas

Yes, we are in Kansas.  Well, in the Kansas section of the second quarter, 1863 summaries:

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Three batteries and three sections, assigned to cavalry.  Of which only one line lacks a receipt date.  Let us marvel the over zealous clerk who listed these batteries by designation and commander’s (or at least organizer’s) name:

  • 1st (Allen’s) Battery:  No report.  A June 30, 1863 return had Captain Norman Allen’s battery assigned to the District of Rolla, Missouri.  Presumably still with six 10-pdr Parrotts from the previous quarter.  Allen was absent from the battery through much of the first half of the year, and died in St. Louis in July.  Lieutenant (later Captain) Marcus Tenney replaced Allen.
  • 2nd (Blair’s) Battery:  Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation (adjacent to Fort Gibson) with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four rifled 6-pdrs (3.67-inch rifle).  Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command.  According to returns, the battery was, in June, still at Fort Scott, Kansas, as part of the District of the Frontier.   By September, when the return was received in Washington, the battery had moved into the Cherokee Nation.  Of note, this battery was in action on July 17 at Honey Springs.  In his report, Smith listed his charge as, “two 12-pounder brass guns and two 6-pounder iron guns“.  I will speculate about this below.
  • 3rd (Hopkin’s) Battery: At Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Captain Henry Hopkins remained in command of this battery, operating with the Indian Brigade and four companies of the 6th Kansas Cavalry, at Fort Gibson.  And we’ll see more from the 6th Cavalry below.

Moving down to the sections, these were all listed as mountain howitzer detachments assigned to cavalry.  In the previous quarter, two such detachments were recorded – with the 2nd and 9th Cavalry.  Here’s the list for the second quarter:

  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 2nd Cavalry: At Springfield, Missouri with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Eight companies of this regiment were at Springfield under Major Julius G. Fisk.  Lieutenant Elias S. Stover was probably still in charge of this section.  Stover was promoted to Captain later in the year.
  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 6th Cavalry: At Camp Dole, Cherokee Nation with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Captain John W. Orahood is listed as commanding a detachment of the regiment then at Fort Gibson at the end of June.  Later in July, Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Campbell was in command of that detachment (up to five companies).  I don’t have a name of the officer (commissioned or non-commissioned) assigned to the howitzers. Also I’m not certain as to the place-name of “Camp Dole.”  That surname is that of both an Indian Agent and an officer of the Indian Brigade.  So we might assume the place was near Fort Gibson, where the 6th Cavalry was operating at the time.
  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 7th Cavalry: Listed at Fayetteville, Tennessee, but with no cannon reported.  Colonel Thomas P. Herrick’s regiment was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps, and operated in west Tennessee around the Memphis area.  I presume this placename refers to LaFayette there.  With no cannon mentioned on the report, we will look at stores.

That’s the basic administrative details for the Kansas units.

Moving to the ammunition, we have a busy smoothbore table:

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A lot of “feed” for the guns:

  • 2nd Battery:  444 shot, 564 case, and 478 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 17 shot, 100 shell, 57 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 152 canister for 12-pdr howitzer, either field or mountain (as that column was used interchangeably by the clerks).
  • 3rd Battery: 196 shot, 406 case, and 196 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 166 case and 150 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Section, 2nd Cavalry:  144 case and 12 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Section, 6th Cavalry: 12 shell, 120 case, and 48 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Turning to the rifled projectiles, there is but one page to discuss:

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And an odd one at that:

  • Section, 7th Cavalry: 490 Hotchkiss fuse shell and 190 Hotchkiss bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

This would be part of the stores which the 7th Kansas Cavalry had to report.  Along with those Hotchkiss shells, the troopers had 900 friction primers, 875 paper fuses, and 837 packing boxes…. all of which the Ordnance Department wanted an accounting.

We have no entries for James, Parrott, or Shenkl projectiles.  And this is worth noting, as we consider 2nd Battery’s 6-pdr rifles.  But before we open speculation, let’s finish up the summaries on the small arms:

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We have:

  • 2nd Battery:  128 Navy revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Eleven Army revolvers and thirty-five Navy revolvers.
  • Section, 2nd Cavalry: Twenty Army revolvers, one Navy revolver, and one cavalry saber.

Notice the very small number of edged weapons.  Make of it what you wish.

Now, let’s talk about Captain Smith’s guns.  As indicated above, the summary states these were two 12-pdr Napoleons and four BRONZE rifled 6-pdrs.  If we take that literally, those would be a quartet of the “don’t call them James” rifles.  But, we have the report from Smith, in which he specifically says he had two 6-pdr iron guns.  The discrepancy with the quantity aside (though not an expert on the battle, I seem to recall a section of guns detached), I’m inclined to go with Smith’s description of the guns.  If Smith could tell the Napoleons were bronze, then surely he could tell the 6-pdrs were iron!  So I would lean towards these being iron guns.

But we have the question of smoothbore or rifling.  Smith’s report fails to give clues in that regard.  The summary indicates his guns had smoothbore ammunition.  However, there are a few examples where smoothbore ammunition was employed by rifled guns in the 6-pdr/3.80-inch range.  So that is not necessarily definitive.

If these were smoothbores, plenty of candidates come to mind – batches of ancient (pre-1830s) guns were still around; private or state purchases, of course; and during the war there were a handful of rare iron types produced – all of which could be properly identified as “6-pdrs”.  And, of course, that assumes the caliber identification is a proper one.  Likewise, if these were rifled guns, a score of candidates come to mind.  I’d say Wiard and Delafield would be unlikely.  But Sawyer rifles seemed to get around.  And if the caliber (3.67-inch) is not definite, we might even discuss Blakelys.  Though I would be quick to point out the use of smoothbore ammunition would be unlikely in those “named” rifles.

An interesting detail to track.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Howitzers of the Indian Brigade

Below the lengthy listings for Indiana’s batteries are several short sections to consider:

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We might “bash” through these in a run, covering seventeen batteries at once.  But that wouldn’t be as much fun, when we have time to examine each section in turn… and in detail.  Besides, the first section to consider introduces an entirely new formation – the Indian Brigade:

Briefly – as the story of the Indian Nations during the Civil War is both interesting and complex – the Indian Brigade consisted of four regiments formed from loyal members of the Civilized Tribes.  And that is a gross oversimplification.  The Cherokee, for instance, were deeply split between those who favored the Confederacy and those who remained loyal to the Union.  And that split was convoluted, with some individuals changing sides in the middle of the war.  Early in the war with the successful Confederate diplomatic efforts, the Nations were allied with the Confederates.  Military formations from the Nations fought in several noteworthy actions.  But by mid-1862 there was dissatisfaction within the Nations around the alliance, partly reflecting inter-tribal politics.  With that, refugees – some of whom were deserters from the Confederate-allied formations – moved north to Kansas and Missouri.

Federal authorities formed three Indian Home Guard Regiments, from those seeking refuge and from active recruiting in the Indian Territories, through the summer and fall of 1862. (Two more would be started, but never completely form by war’s end.) It is my understanding these regiments were formed somewhat like the US Colored Troops were later in the war – with white officers appointed, mostly from volunteer regiments.  Those regiments saw service through the war in the District of the Frontier (Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and the Territories) constituting the Indian Brigade.  Their most important role was providing garrisons as the Federals tried to regain some semblance of control in the Indian Territories.

And again… I’m trying to shove into a few paragraphs what deserves (and has received) book-length treatment. What concerns us are those three regiments.  And most specifically the 3rd Regiment.

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The line we have is:

  • Third Regiment:  Fort Blunt, C.N. (Cherokee Nation).  Two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

The Third Regiment formed through the summer of 1862 under Colonel William A. Phillips, a Scottish-born lawyer and correspondent who’d been an active free-state advocate in pre-war Kansas.   The regiment saw active service through the fall and winter, particularly during the Prairie Grove campaign.  During the winter months, the Indian Brigade moved into the Cherokee Nation.  One of the main garrisons established (or perhaps re-established is a way to put it) was at Fort Gibson, close to the confluence of the Neosho River (known as Grand River in that stretch) and the Arkansas River.  The brigade built Fort Blunt just above Fort Gibson.

So the location given matches to what we know of the regiment’s activities.  But who “commanded” those two mountain howitzers?  For that we turn to the Official Records.  Reports for operations in June and July 1863, including the First Battle of Cabin Creek, mention Captain Solomon Kaufman in charge of a detachment of howitzers.  And Kaufman’s name is associated with the howitzers in later reports, well into 1864.  So it appears those were “his” charge.

Kaufman was, as the name might suggest, another officer transferred from the volunteers to the Indian Home Guard.  Kaufman descended from a German family, which had settled in Pennsylvania, in the 18th century.  He was born in Mifflin County there on Janunary 6, 1832.  More  of Kaufman’s background is found in Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas, published in the 1890s:

He was the first member of the [Kaufman] family to choose a trade in preference to tilling the soil.  When nineteen years of age he began learning the carpenter’s trade and served three years’ apprenticeship.  In 1852 he moved to McLean County, Ill., and in 1854 to Iowa…. The fertile soil and political excitement in Kansas Territory were attracting settlers in that direction, and he decided to make a home within its borders…. From Hampden, in Coffee County, they went to the headwaters of the Pottawatomie creeks, in Anderson County, and there took up claims.

At that time there were only five families within a radius of ten miles of their cabin. The border warfare was going on, and Mr. Kaufman at once offered his services to the state organizations.  He enlisted in the Kansas State Volunteer service under Gen. J.H. Lane and afterward joined the Kansas State Militia under Capt. Samuel Walker….

The company was mustered out in November 1856, when United States troops took a larger role in keeping order in Kansas.  Kaufman returned to his claim, and convinced a number of his former state militia comrades to accompany him.

When the Civil War broke out, the settlers met at the house of Mr. Kaufman and organized a company, Mr. Kaufman being chosen Captain. They prepared for duty, but later Mr. Kaufman bid adieu to his company and enlisted as a private soldier.  he was mustered into the service in Company A, Third Kansas Volunteers, the same being subsequently consolidated with the Fourth Regiment, forming the Tenth Kansas Infantry, his company taking the position of Company C. On the 11th of September, 1862, he was commissioned First Lieutenant of Company L, Third Regiment, Indian Brigade, commanded by Col. William A. Philips, and in May 28, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.  The commands with which he was connected did service in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Indian Territory, and he participated in numerous engagements with the enemy. He was mustered out of service May 31, 1865.

Returning home, Kaufman married to Melissa Patton just three months after leaving the army.  He went on to lead a prosperous life as a farmer, businessman, and local politician.  Kaufman died in 1909, and was buried in the Graceland Cemetery, Burlington Kansas.  I mention this as Kaufman’s story appeals to me somewhat – not a military professional, but quick to answer the call.  And apparently possessing the skills and leadership to get things done – in or out of uniform.

I’ve wandered a bit off track, so let us turn back to the record here.  With only mountain howitzers on hand, we have a short summary of ammunition:

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  • 3rd Regiment: 15 shell, 71 case, and 45 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Just enough to start a fuss… or finish one.  As the regiment saw a lot of action in June and July, I’d wonder if the quantities were down due to expenditure.

No rifled guns on hand, so we have no rifled ammunition to worry about.  We move directly to the small arms:

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  • 3rd Regiment: Two breechloading carbines and sixty-one rifles.

That would lead me to assume sixty-three men were assigned to Kaufman’s detachment.  For two mountain howitzers?  Perhaps that included the crews plus a detachment of men to guard those valuable howitzers.  Sounds like we have all of Company L, 3rd Indian Home Guard accounted for there.

(Citation from Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1894,  page 254.)