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Records Relating to Investigations of the Ft. Philip Kearney (or Fetterman) Massacre
Testimony of Asst. Surg. Horton
M740 roll 1 of 1
National Archives & Records Administration
Transcription by Billy Markland



Evidence of Brvt. Maj. Samuel M. Horton, Asst. Surgeon U.S.A.
on the Fort Phil. Kearney Massacre





Fort Philip Kearny D.T.
July 25th 1867.



The Special Indian Commission met


Dr. Samuel M. Horton being present and after being duly sworn testified as follows

Age 29 years
Occupation: Asst. Surg. U.S.A.
Residence: Ft. Philip Kearny D.T.


Question   

    When did you arrive at Ft. Philip Kearny.

Answer   

    On or about 12th July 1866, at the organization of the Post.

Question   

    In what capacity have you acted at the Post since that time.

Answer   

    As Chief Medical Officer of the Mountain District, and Post Surgeon of the Post.

Question   

    From the time you arrived to the present time, have any hostile Indians appeared in the vicinity of the Post; if so how frequently and in what numbers.

Answer   

    Yes, about fifty times, and in parties from six to fifty.

Question   

    Judging from what you have seen of these Indians, what was their object in visiting the Post.

Answer   

    Stealing stock and killing small parties.

Question   

    Have any persons been wounded by these Indians and placed under your Medical care.

Answer   

    There have been seven to my recollection that have been shot by Indians and not immediately killed, three of whom afterwards died. As a very general thing they succeeded in killing the persons whom they attacked.

Question   

    In the cases that have fallen under your observation of persons either killed or wounded by Indians, what weapons were used by the Indians.

Answer   

    Firearms and arrows.

Question   

    In case of immediate death by Indians were the bodies of those killed, mutilated.

Answer   

    Yes, very much in every instance, without exception.

Question   

    Did you see and examine the bodies of the persons belonging to Col. Fettermans [sic] party, killed on the 21st Dec. 1866, and also the bodies of Lieut. Bingham and Sgt. Bowers killed on the 6th Dec. 1866.

Answer   

    I did.

Question   

    Please state with what weapons those persons were killed, and the appearance of their bodies, whether they were mutilated and if so how mutilated.

Answer   

    Lieut. Bingham was killed with arrows and a pistol ball in the head, Sgt. Bowers was killed with a tomahawk driven into his brain, and they were otherwise mutilated.

From the appearance of all the persons in Col. Fettermans party I believe the majority of them were killed by clubs with which the Indians crushed their skulls and brains, after having fallen wounded. A few were disemboweled with knives which I believe was done after they were wounded. The brains of some of them were found lying beside their bodies, some of them were killed by arrows after they had fallen and were stripped, as their bodies contained a great number of arrows. One body had as high as sixty five arrows in it, which seemed to have been unmolested by removing clothing. Every man was stripped of all his clothing, with but few exceptions, [as?] when bloody stockings remained on their feet. Col. Fettermans body showed his thorax to have been cut crosswise with a knife, deep into the viscera; his throat and entire neck were cut to the cervical spine all around. I believe that mutilation caused his death.

Capt. Browns body showed gashes inside of both thighs, to the bone, from his body to his knees, both ears had been cut off and his body otherwise horribly mutilated and a hole made in his left temple [ caused? ] by a small pistol ball; the latter most probably caused his death. Lieut. Grummonds body showed his head to have been crushed by a club; and his legs were slightly scorched by fire

One body was found with a large stake driven into it, as high as the chest. One body was found with one arm cut off at the shoulder joint. One found with both hands and both feet cut off, one with the entire head crushed away, except the lower jaw. All the bodies were more or less mutilated, and presented in nearly every instance a horrible sight, never to be forgotten by those who saw them.

Question   

    Was there any evidence presented by these bodies of death from torture.

Answer   

    No. In place of torture, by far the majority of men, in my opinion, were fallen upon by the Indians and butchered after they were wounded.

Question   

    Did you discover any other evidences of death produced by pistol or gunshot wounds, than the case mentioned.

Answer   

    No. I do not remember having seen any other .

Question   

    What was the state of the weather at the time the bodies were brought in.

Answer   

    There was snow on the ground, but the day was pleasant, and it was quite cold in the evening of the day the first bodies were brought in. The next day was cold, and the bodies that were brought in were frozen.

Question   

    What disposition was made of the bodies.

Answer   

    I believe that the three Officers were buried separately, and the soldiers in one common grave.