I have the service records of my paternal Great Grandfather, who at age 19 on July 4, 1864 joined the 12th United States Missouri Volunteer Cavalry at Warrensburg Missouri, and was assigned to the rear guard black horse troop, Company M, no doubt with a lot of other strapping young Campbelitte boys born to the saddle.
Before my trophies at last I lay down, I want to travel to where he got his orders to advance, towards Indians thicker than fiddlers in hell, five miles Northeast of modern day Broadus Montana.
I’ll bet he was wishing he’d stayed home, on September 8, 1865.
He lived to November 1920 and died of strokes brought on by the 1918 Spanish flu that killed my great grandmother.
The warriors attacked Ballance's small party, and Private William P. Long of Company E was killed and Corporal John Price of Company G was wounded. Lieutenant Ballance sent one of his men back to Walker, who was now viewing the action unfold from a butte a mile to the rear. Walker sent a courier back to inform Colonel Cole of the attack. At the time, Cole was about two miles behind Walker, overseeing the crossing of his wagon train over the Powder River. In his words, Cole ordered the train, "out of the timber and corralled", and the 12th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry
"to skirmish through the woods along the river bank to drive out a body of Indians who were posted in the woods". A German immigrant, First Lieutenant Charles H. Springer, of Company B, 12th Missouri Cavalry, said that this took place at about 1:00 p.m. Springer, who was with the 12th Missouri clearing out the woods, described the seen in front of the command: "The whole bottom and hills in advance were covered full of Indians, or to use a soldiers expression, they were thicker than fiddlers in hell". The 12th Missouri, 15th Kansas, 16th Kansas, and one battalion of the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery along with both artillery sections advanced simultaneously toward the warriors. The cannon were unlimbered and began firing at Indians gathered in some woods located in a bend of the Powder River. George Bent
, a Cheyenne participant, said that the soldiers formed in a square around their wagons, and that Roman Nose
performed several bravery rides along the front of the soldiers' skirmish line before his white pony was shot and killed, throwing him to the ground. Lieutenant Springer of the 12th Missouri mentioned the same incident in his diary, stating that an Indian had been making gestures in front of his line before a volley brought down his horse and made him "bite the dust". Bent said that Black Whetstone, an elderly Cheyenne man, was killed by one of the soldier's artillery shells during the battle, while smoking a pipe behind a hill.
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The Christian lives by the motto
non ministrari sed ministrare
Well done, faithful servant.