I have a book which is the war diary of Lt. Charles Springer of the 12th Missouri United States cavalry on it’s 1865 campaign against the Sioux in the same Powder River country of Montana the 7th Cavalry was so famously defeated 11 years later.
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I’m eternally grateful my great grandfather, who rode with the hind guard troop at Broadus Montana with the 12th Missouri that his commanders equipped him with a Spencer rifle and supported him with artillery. Otherwise I’d never been hatched.
There were 272 cavalry regiments in the United States Army in May 1865 and they sent the 12th Missouri out west to fight Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and Roman Nose.
Fresh from one of the most lopsided victories in the Great Rebellion at Nashville, the 12th Missouri cavalry was a battle hardened, experienced, crack cavalry regiment entirely made up of dark horse Missouri volunteers, and when Lt Springer writes that he’s carrying a “sweet briar root” to carve himself a pipe, that most probably is the same briar root our pipes today are carved from. Springer writes of smoking sage brush, when tobacco ran out. He had a pipe but it wasn’t briar.
After the disastrous cold snap the night of September 8-9 that killed half the remaining mounts, Springer’s diary reveals their thoughts were then only of retreat to the safety of the nearest fort.
But if Springer finished his briar pipe, it likely would have been a paneled pipe.
Our paneled pipes today are fancy, but a man with no lathe would whittle out a paneled pipe first, and might test it to see how it smoked, and quit winner, and not keep whittling.