Monday, May 02, 2011

The mystery Of Co. A. Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry.

There seems to be a mystery attach to the Fourteenth Kansas cavalry, in particular, company A. The Fourteenth was Organized at Fort Scott and Leavenworth in April, 1863, but their Military history didn’t began till November 20, 1863. Companies A. & B. were detached from the regiment and worked independently of the regiment. Companies A. & B., left Fort Scott on October 28, 1863, and head for Fort Smith Arkansas, they would met up with the Fourteenth regiment at Fort Arkansas on December 18, 1863.

Note. This information comes from the Field Staff and Company field notes.

The mystery now begins. In the field notes of company A., it states they were in a action near Waldron Arkansas, on September 11, 1863, in which one Collin C. Whitman was killed, company B., didn’t take part in the action. The record shows that Whitman, was indeed killed on and about September 19, 1863, Now the record we all get to see says he was killed near Waldron Arkansas on September 19, 1864. There were many errors made, but for myself I’m inclined to believe the field notes, for the officer that wrote the notes should know he was there.

Now what was company A. & B., doing from September to October, the field notes don’t say, and there are no official record either. In October of 1863, we again find company A. back in action near Waldron Arkansas. Private David Hise, lost his left arm near Waldron, and Sergeant F. N. Gott, was slightly wounded on the top of this head, in the action. Private Yack T. Hadley, was taken prisoner and held ten days then paroled by General Smith Pyne Bankhead, near Waldron Ark.

The only official record that says any thing about company A., of the Kansas fourteenth cavalry, is in this part of a report I copied, from the official records.

Fort Scott, Kans., October 19, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, the following facts:

On the 4th instant, upon the receipt of dispatches from Fort Smith, informing me that the command there was threatened with a superior force of the enemy, I immediately left for that post, accompanied by a part of my staff, and taking with me the records, papers, and property belonging to the headquarters of the district. My escort consisted of Company I, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, and Company A, Fourteenth Kansas, about 100 men (all the available mounted men that could be spared from this post). I arrived near Baxter Springs about 12 m. of the 6th.

Major Benjamin S. Henning, of Third Wisconsin Cavalry, was part of the escort, and give a account of the 7th, day and what happen in the ranks of company A., of the fourteenth cavalry.

“ I will here state that of the 85 men of our escort, 20 men acted as rear guard to the train, and did not form in line at all, leaving only 65 men in line, of which 40 men were of Company A, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry, on the right, and 25 of Company I, Third Wisconsin Cavalry on the left. At this time the distance between the two lines was not 200 yards, and the enemy advancing at a walk, firing. I had just time to notice these facts, when I saw 2 men in the center of Company A, Fourteenth Kansas, turn to run, but before they could fairly turn round, Major Curtis and the officers of the company forced them back, and I concluded the fight would be desperate, and was hopeful, but before the officers could get their places the same 2 men and about 8 more turned and ignominiously fled, which the enemy perceiving, the charge was ordered, and the whole line advanced with a shout, at which the remainder of Company A broke, and despite the efforts of General Blunt, Major Curtis, Lieutenant Tappan and Pierce, could not be rallied.”

Note.  Lieutenant Robert H. Pierce, was in command of Co. A.

The fourteenth Cavalry was mustered into service in November of 1863,normally a Regiments history starts on the day of being mustered in, but not in this case.  We find that company A., was in action near Waldron Arkansas, on September 11, 1863, then were back at Fort Scott, Kansas. Then on October 4, 1863, company A., was ordered to Baxter Springs, where they went into action. Then sometime in October they were in action again near Waldron Arkansas. There can’t be found a official or unofficial report on why they were sent to Waldron Arkansas.

The company was back at Fort Scott, and on October 28, 1863, companies A. & B., became detached from the regiment an left Fort Scott Kansas, on that date, and headed for Fort Smith Arkansas. They met up with the regiment at Fort Smith Arkansas, on December 18, 1863. From October 28 through December 18, 1863, there are no official or unofficial report on what they were doing in those months.

Here are the records of the men of company A., that took part in the action near Waldron Arkansas in September and October of 1863, that were either wounded, killed or taken prisoner.

1. First Lieutenant, Collin C. Whitman, Mustered in May 19, 63, killed by guerrillas near Waldron Ark., September 11, 1863.

2. Sergeant, F. N. Gott, Enlisted April 23, 1863, Mustered in May 19, 1863, remarks: Des. Ft. Scott, October 28, 1863.

3. Private, David Hise, Enlisted May 30, 1863, Mustered in June 12, 1863, remarks: Discharged for disability December 26, 1864, wounded September 3, 1863, near Waldron Ark.

4. Private Yack T. Hadley, Enlisted April 27, 1863, Mustered in May 19, 1863, remarks: Died of disease, Pine Bluff Arkansas, March 28, 1865.

In the beginning I said this was a mystery and it was at lest to me. I could not figure out how this company was being sent all over the country with out being mustered in, then it hit me. When the fourteenth Kansas cavalry was organized in April of 1863, they became a State Volunteer regiment and under the control of the state. Then when they were mustered in November of 1863, they became under the control of the United State Government. It’s at this time the Fourteenth cavalry military history official begins.

But one has to wonder why there are so little records on the movements of company A. from April through November 1863. But even with out official records or unofficial records, dose not take away the fact that Company A., had a rich and a interesting military history.


I would like to thank Wanda Gray, who is a professional historian, plus, a Commissioner, appointed by the Governor of the state of Arkansas on the Arkansas History Commission and State Archives, who helped me figure out some of the names and information from the field notes of Company A.


PalmsRV said...

Here's a little bit on Major Curtis,Baxter Springs and Fort Scott that we found last Fall:

rblietz said...

Excellent artical! I too wondered about that time lapse. I am 2 grt cousin to C.C. Whitman. Long story about trying to find him that proved very interesting. Eventually had marker placed in FT. Smith National Cemetary, in Memorial Section, as unable to find actual grave site (lost over time.) Found article in LEAVENWORTH KANSAS CONSERVATIVE, Wed. Sept. 23, 1863 discribing death and action. A little upset over marker as they put up Confederate stone and have it identified that he was the same. Time and distance have prevented correction but am working on that now. Was there an actual Regimental History written after the war? Contact me at