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Bill Before Congress to Erect a Monument to Mark the Site of the Fort Phil. Kearny Massacre
Transcribed & Contributed by Thomas Ebert










SERIAL VOLUME 3620
55TH Congress 2nd Session

Senate Report No. 563

SITE OF THE FORT PHIL KEARNY MASSACRE

_______

February 10, 1898 --- Ordered to be printed.
__________

MR. WARREN, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following

REPORT
[To accompany S 3628]

The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred Senate bill No. 849, beg leave to report a substitute and to recommend passage of the substitute bill, as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: that the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to mark the site of Fort Phil Kearny massacre that occurred on the twenty-first of December, eighteen hundred and eighty-six by erecting on said site a monument of rough masonry and an historical tablet: Provided, That the site of the proposed monument, of not less than one-fourth of an acre in the area, situated on the most sightly portion of Massacre Hill, shall be donated by the United States.
        Sec. 2 That for the purpose of carrying this act into effect, the sum of five hundred dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, out of any public moneys in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, to be expended under direction of the Secretary of War.


The following letter from the Secretary of War is submitted:


May 28, 1897.



SIR: In returning herewith S. 849, Fifty-fifth Congress, first session, "Providing for the marking and monumenting of the battlefield of Massacre Hill," which was referred to this Department for information and remark, I have the honor to state that it appears that the proposition embodied in this bill is that a monument be erected on the most sightly portion of the scene of the Fort Phil Kearny massacre, and that the title to at least one acre of the field, embracing the site of the monument, be forever vested in the United States.

There is no information in the possession of the Department showing whether the land in question is part of the public domain or private property.

The remains of all officers and soldiers who were killed in this place in 1866, and who were buried near Fort Phil Kearny, were removed in 1889 to the national cemetery on the Custer battlefield, where a handsome monument has been erected, each grave suitably marked, a superintendent in residence thereat, who prevents spoliation and cares for the cemetery.

Should a monument be erected at the site of the Fort Phil Kearny massacre, unless a watchman is kept there to prevent, the structure probably will meet the same fate as befell the first monument erected on the spot where Custer's command was destroyed, i.e., it will be chipped to pieces and carried away as souvenirs by the curious and lawless sight-seers and relic hunters.

If the Government erects a monument that can be destroyed by these people, it should be cared for by the United States. This will involve the provision of a residence and services of the keeper, the same as has just been found necessary for the monument erected at the birthplace of Washington.

The proposed bill carries no appropriations of funds, and it is not understood that there is any existing appropriation available for this purpose.

The erection of a monument of rough masonry --- something in the nature of a cairn --- and a cast-iron tablet narrating the tragic occurrence, would cost only a few hundred dollars and would serve the purpose better than an expensive structure, for then there would be no temptation for the relic hunters to deface it.

An appropriation of $500 would be ample for this purpose, and an area of one-fourth of an acre would be quite sufficient for a site.

An amendment of this bill, in accordance with the draft herewith inclosed, is respectfully suggested.

Very respectfully,

R. A. ALGER,
Secretary of War.



Hon. Jos. R. Hawley,
Chairman Committee on Military Affairs, United States Senate.



The following is from Senate Ex. Doc. No. 15:


[Copy of telegram to General Cooke, --- Received at office of United States military telegraph,
War Department, Washington D.C., December 26, 3:15 p.m.]


FORT PHIL. KEARNEY, D. T., December 21, 1866
By courier to Fort Laramie, December 26


Do send me reinforcements forthwith. Expedition now with my force is impossible. I risk everything but the post and its store. I venture as much as any one can, but I have had today a fight unexampled in Indian warfare. My loss is ninety-four (94) killed. I have recovered forty-nine bodies and thirty-five more are to be brought in the morning that have been found. Among the killed are Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Fetterman, Captain F. H. Brown, and Lieutenant Grammond. The Indians engaged were nearly three thousand (3,000) being apparently the force reported as on Tongue river in my despatches of the 5th of November and subsequent thereto. This line, so important, can and must be held. It will take four times the force in the spring to reopen if it be broken up this winter. I hear nothing of my arms that left Leavenworth September 15. Additional cavalry ordered to join have not reported their arrival. Would have saved us much loss today. The Indians lost beyond all precedent. I need prompt re-enforcements and repeating arms. I am sure to have, as before reported, an active winter, and must have men and arms. Every officer of this battalion should join in today. I have every teamster on duty, and, at best, one hundred and nineteen left at post. I hardly need to urge this matter; it speaks for itself. Give me two companies of cavalry, at least, forthwith, well armed, or four companies of infantry, exclusive of what I need at Reno and Fort Smith. I did not overestimate my early application; a single company, promptly will save the line; but our killed show that any remissness will result in mutilation and butchery beyond precedent. No such mutilation as that to day is on record. Depend on it that this post will be held so long as a round or man is left. Promptness is the vital thing. Give me officers and men. Only the new Spencer arms should be sent. The Indians desperate, and they spare none.


HENRY B. CARRINGTON,
Colonel 18th Infantry, Commanding,



General U. S. GRANT

Copy forwarded to Secretary 27th December.
Official:
E. S. PARKER
Colonel and A. D. C.



The following is from Colonel Carrington's report:

HEADQUARTERS POST,
Fort Philip Kearny, Dak., January 3, !867


The scene of action told its own story.

The road on the little ridge where the final stand took place was strewn with arrows, arrow-heads, scalp-poles, and broken shafts of spears.

The arrows that were spent harmlessly from all directions show that the command was suddenly overwhelmed, surrounded, and cut off while in retreat. Not an officer, or men survived. A few bodies were found at the north end of the divide over which the road runs just beyond Lodge Trail Ridge.

Nearly all were heaped near four rocks at the point nearest the fort, these rocks inclosing a space almost 6 feet square, having been the last refuge for defense. Here were also a few unexpended rounds of Spencer cartridge.

Fetterman and Brown had each a revolver shot in the left temple. As Brown always declared that he would reserve a shot for himself as a last resort, so I am convinced that these two brave men fell by each other's hand, rather than undergo the slow torture inflicted on others.

Lieutenant Grummond's body was on the road between the two extremes, with a few others. This was not far from 5 miles from the fort, and nearly as far from the wood train. Neither its own guard nor the detachment could by any possibility have helped each other, and the train was incidentally saved by the fierceness of the fight in the brave but rash impulse of pursuit.

The officers who fell believed that no Indian force could overwhelm that number of troops well in hand.

Their terrible massacre bore marks of great valor, and has demonstrated the force and character of the foe; but no valor could have saved them.

Pools of blood on the road and sloping sides of the narrow divide showed where Indians bled fatally; but their bodies were carried off. I counted sixty-five such pools in the space of an acre, and three within ten feet of Lieutenant Grummond's body. Eleven American horses and nine Indian ponies were on the road, or near the line of bodies; others crippled were in the valleys.

At the northwest or farther pint, between two rocks, and apparently where the command first fell back from the valley, realizing their danger, I found citizen James S. Wheatley and Issac Fisher, of Blue Springs, Nebr., who, with "Henry rifles," felt invincible, but fell, one have one hundred and five arrows in his naked body. The widow and family of Wheatley are here. The cartridge shells about him told how well they fought.

Before closing this report, I wish to say, that every man --- officer, soldier, or citizen --- who fell received burial, with such record as to identify each.
Fetterman, Brown, and Grummond lie in one grave. The remainder also share one tomb, buried, as they fought, together, but the cases in which they were laid are duly placed and numbered.

I ask the general commanding to give my report, in the absence of division commander, an access to the eye and ear of the General-in-Chief. The department commander must have more troops, and I declare this my judgment solemnly and for the general public good, without one spark of personal ambition other than that to do my duty daily as it comes; and whether I seem to speak too plainly or not, even with the purpose to declare the whole truth, and with proper respect to my superior officers, who are entitled to the facts, as to scenes remote from their own immediate notice. I was asked to "send all the bad news." I do it so far as I can.

I give some of the facts as to my men, whose bodies I found just at dark, resolved to bring all in, viz:

MUTILATIONS


Eyes torn out and laid on the rocks.
Noses cut off.
Ears cut off.
Chins hewn off.
Teeth chopped out.
Joints of fingers cut off.
Brains taken out and placed on rocks, with members of the body.
Entrails taken out and exposed.
Hands cut off.
Feet cut off.
Arms taken out from socket.
Private parts severed and indecently placed on person.
Eyes, ears, mouth, and arms penetrated with spear-heads, sticks, and arrows.
Ribs slashed to separation with knives.
Skulls severed in every form from chin to crown.
Muscles of calves, thighs, stomachs, breast, back, arms, and cheek taken out.
Punctures upon every sensitive part of the body, even in the soles of the feet and palms of the hand.

All this does not approximate the whole truth. Every medical officer was faithfully aided by a large force of men and all were not buried until Wednesday after the fight.

The great real fact is, that these Indians take alive when possible, and slowly torture. It is the opinion of Dr. S. M. Horton, post surgeon, that not more than six were killed by balls. Of course the whole arrows, hundreds of which were removed from the naked bodies, were all used after the removal of the clothing.

I have said enough; it is a hard but absolute duty. In the establishment of this post I designed to put it where it fell heaviest upon the Indians, and therefore the better for the emigrants. My duty will be done when I leave, as ordered to my new regimental headquarters, Fort Conger. I submit herewith list of casualties marked A.

I shall also, as soon as practicable, make full report for the year 1866 of operations in the establishment of this new line.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY B. CARRINGTON
Colonel Eighteenth United States Infantry, Commanding Post.


ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE,
Omaha, Nebr.


[Transcript from post return of Fort Philip Kearny, Dakota, for the month of December, 1866]

Names of officers and enlisted men killed in action with Indians December 21, 1866.




   
OFFICERS


   
Name
Rank Command.

William J. Fetterman Captain and
Brevet Lieutenant Colonel
Company A
2nd Battalion Eighteenth, U. S. Infantry
Frederick H. Brown Captain Company E
1st Battalion, Eighteenth U. S. Infantry
George H. Grummond Second lieutenant Company C
2nd Battalion, Eighteenth U. S. Infantry


   
ENLISTED MEN


   

     

      Name &c. Company  Battalion Regiment

Augustus Lang, first sergeant
A    
Second Eighteenth
Hugh Murphy
A    
Second Do.
Robert Lennon, corporal
A    
Second Do.
William Dute, corporal
A    
Second Do.
Frederick Ackerman, private
A    
Second Do.
William Betzler, private
A    
Second Do.
Patrick Shannon
A    
Second Do.
Charles M. Taylor, private
A    
Second Do.
Joseph D. Thomas, private
A    
Second Do.
Daniel Thorrey, private
A    
Second Do.
Michael Harten, private
A    
Second Do.
Thomas Burk, private
A    
Second Do.
Henry Buchanan
A    
Second Do.
Maximilian Duhring, private
A    
Second Do.
George E. R. Goodall, private
A    
Second Do.
Martin Kelley, private
A    
Second Do.
John Thompson, private
A    
Second Do.
Albert H. Walters, private
A    
Second Do.
John M. Weaver
A    
Second Do.
John Woodruff, private
A    
Second Do.
Francis S. Gordon, private
A    
Second Do.
Francis Raymond, sergeant
C    
Second Do.
Patrick Rooney, sergeant
C    
Second Do.
Gustave A . Bauer, corporal
C    
Second Do.
Patrick Gallagher, corporal
C    
Second Do.
Michael O'Garra, private
C    
Second Do.
Jacob Rosenberg, private
C    
Second Do.
Frank P. Sullivan, private
C    
Second Do.
Patrick Smith, private
C    
Second Do.
Henry E. Aarons, private
C    
Second Do.
William Morgan, sergeant
E    
Second Do.
John Quinn, corporal
E    
Second Do.
Timothy Cullnane, private
E    
Second Do.
John Maher, private
E    
Second Do.
George W. Barrell, private
E    
Second Do.
George W. Waterbury, private
E    
Second Do.
Alexander Smith, first sergeant
H    
Second Do.
Ephraim C. Bissell, sergeant
H    
Second Do.
George Philips, corporal
H    
Second Do.
Michael Sharkey, corporal
H    
Second Do.
Frank Karston, corporal
H    
Second Do.
George Davis, private
H    
Second Do.
Perry F. Dolan, private
H    
Second Do.
Asa H. Giffin, private
H    
Second Do.
Herman Keil, private
H    
Second Do.
James Kean, private
H    
Second Do.
Michael Kinney, private
H    
Second Do.
Delos Reed, private
H    
Second Do.
Thomas H. Madden,
   unassigned recruit
    United States Cavalry
James Baker, sergeant
C    
Second Do.
James Kelley, corporal
C    
Second Do.
Thomas Herrigan, corporal
C    
Second Do.
Adolph Metzger, bugler
C    
Second Do.
James McCarty, artificer
C    
Second Do.
Thomas Amberson, private
C    
Second Do.
Thomas Broglin, private
C    
Second Do.
William L. Bugbee, private
C    
Second Do.
William L. Cormy, private
C    
Second Do.
Charles Cuddy, private
C    
Second Do.
Patrick Clancy, private
C    
Second Do.
Narvy S. Deming, private
C    
Second Do.
U. B. Doran, private
C    
Second Do.
Robert Daniel, private
C    
Second Do.
Nathaniel Foreman, private
C    
Second Do.
Andrew M. Fitzgerald, private
C    
Second Do.
Daniel Green, private
C    
Second Do.
Charles Gunford, private
C    
Second Do.
John Gitter, private
C    
Second Do.
Ferdinand Houser, private
C    
Second Do.
Frank Jones, private
C    
Second Do.
James P. McGuire, private
C    
Second Do.
John McKelley, private
C    
Second Do.
Franklin Payne, private
C    
Second Do.
James Ryan, private
C    
Second Do.
George W. Nugent
C    
Second Do.
Oliver Williams, private
C    
Second Do.




[Same as House Report No. 1648 (Serial 3722) 55th Congress 2nd Session (1898) Monument (same as S R 563)]