War between the
6th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry
- This regiment was first organized in the month of July, 1861,
by authority given by Brigadier General Lyon, whilst on the march toward Springfield. W.
C. Ransom, and others from Fort Scott, visited General Lyon, and represented to him the
exposed and unprotected condition of the southeast portion of the state of Kansas, and
asked for authority to organize a force for home protection against threatened invasions
from Missouri. The authority was at once granted W. C. Ransom to organize three companies
of infantry which were to be stationed at Fort Scott and known as "Home Guards".
The three companies were speedily raised, and officered as follows, viz.; W. R. Judson,
Major,; Company A, Captain W. C. Ransom; Company B, Captain W. T. Campbell; Company C,
It was soon ascertained that these three companies were inadequate for the protection of
the border, and by authority granted by Major Prince, commander of the post of Fort
Leavenworth, August 12th, 1861, five new companies were organized, which were designated
and officered as follows, viz.; Company D, Captain L. R. Jewell; Company E, Captain H. S.
Greeno; Company F, Captain J. W. Orahood; Company G, Captain H. M. Dobyns; Company H,
Captain A. W. J. Brown. Four of these companies, D, E, F, and G, were cavalry, and one
company, H, was infantry. The entire five companies were mustered into the United States
Service for three years.
The regiment having eight companies fully organized, measures were taken to form a
regimental organization. Accordingly on the 9th day of September, an election for field
officers was held, and resulted as follows, viz.; Major William R. Judson, Colonel;
Captain Lewis R. Jewell, Lieutenant Colonel; Captain W. T. Campbell, Major; Charles O.
Judson, Adjutant; George G. Clarke, Quartermaster; John S. Redfield, Surgeon.
Immediately after this organization was effected, the recruitment of a new company was
commenced, which was subsequently completed and mustered into service as company H,
Lieutenant David Mefford Captain.
- In the meantime, Charles F. Clarke obtained authority to
recruit a company in Riley county, Kansas, which he succeeded in doing in a remarkably
short time. In the month of October, 1861, his company was mustered into service and
designated company I, Charles F. Clarke, Captain.
The work accomplished by the battalion prior to its organization as a regiment, was no
inconsiderable amount. The three infantry companies which were first organized were kept
constantly on garrison duty at Fort Scott, until the 1st of September, when, after the
battle of Drywood and the evacuation of the town of Fort Scott, they then marched, with
other troops, under command of General Lane, to Fort Lincoln, where they remained on duty
until General Lane started on the memorable march into Missouri, known as the
"Osceola Expedition", when the entire force of the Sixth was sent back, under
command of Colonel Judson, to reoccupy and garrison Fort Scott.
The four cavalry companies, D, E, F, and G, were constantly employed scouting the country
and watching the movements of the enemy.
Company E, under command of Captain Greeno, participated in the battle of Drywood, on the
1st of September, 1861. On account of Captain Greeno's familiarity with the country, he
was detailed, with his company, by order of Colonel Johnson, of the Fifth, to take the
advance, and was the first to attack the enemy, which brought on a general engagement.
During the winter of 1861 and '62, the regiment was stationed at Fort Scott. The four
infantry companies performed garrison duty, and the four cavalry companies performed the
scouting and picket duty. The scouting parties were almost daily engaged with the
bushwhackers, or small detachments from the rebel army.
In the spring of 1862, in consequence of the imperfect, and irregular manner in which the
Kansas troops were organized, this regiment was reorganized under the following order, to
"Headquarters, Kansas Militia, Topeka, March 27, 1862,
General Orders No. 26.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
"VI. The Sixth Regiment (Cavalry) will be organized as follows; Colonel,--------;
Lieutenant Colonel--L. R. Jewell; 1st Major--W. T. Campbell; 2d Major
- --W. C. Ransom; Surgeon--John S. Redfield; Asst.
Surgeon--Joseph A. Smith; Adjutant--Isaac Stadden; Quartermaster--Charles H. Haynes.
Company A, Captain George W. Veale. Company B, Captain E. E. Harvey. Company C, Captain H.
S. Greeno. Company D, Captain John W. Orahood. Company E, Captain H. M. Dobyns. Company F,
Captain C. F. Clarke. Company G, Lieut. J. M. Laing. Company H, Lieut. David Mefford.
Company I, Captain Van Sickle. Company K, Lieut. John Rodgers.
. . . . . . . . .
"By order of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief,
(Signed), "CHARLES CHADWICK,
"Adjutant and Quartermaster General of Kansas."
At the time of the reorganization, companies A, B, and C, which were first organized as
Home Guard companies, were ordered to be mustered out of service. Immediately after the
muster-out of these companies, the following changes were made to wit:
Company H, Captain Brown, was transferred to the Eighth Kansas Infantry; Captain G. W.
Veale's company of the Fourth Regiment was transferred to this regiment, and made company
A; Captain Harvey's company of the Fifth Regiment was transferred to the Sixth, as company
B; company E, Captain Greeno, was changed to company C; company F, Captain Orahood, was
made company D; company G, Captain H. M. Dobyns, was changed to company E; company I,
Captain Clarke, was made company F. In the mean time a part of a company was recruited,
and designated company G, Lieutenant Laing, subsequently Captain Lucas. Company H retained
its original letter under Lieutenant Mefford. at the date of the consolidation, Captain
Van Sickle's "Independent company of Scouts" was assigned to this regiment, and
called company I. This company was irregularly mustered into service, and really was not a
part of the Sixth Kansas, and was subsequently mustered out as an irregular troop.
Lieutenant John Rodger's company was assigned to the Sixth Regiment, as company K.
Soon after the consolidation was made, one battalion, (companies C, H, and K), under
command of Major Campbell, was detached and ordered to report to Colonel Clayton, of the
Fifth Kansas, and marched with his command to Carthage, Mo,; the regiment remained at Fort
Scott. In the month of May the battalion rejoined the regiment at Fort Scott, and with
companies D, E, F and G, were ordered to Paola to be rearmed and equipped.
The regiment was divided and stationed along the line, Major Ransom, with two companies,
at Little Santa Fe, Mo., Captain Orahood, with two companies, at Trading Post Kas. The
balance of the regiment was stationed at different points along the southern line of the
state, and changed from place to place as emergencies demanded, with headquarters at
The regiment was constantly engaged in disbanding small forces which were organizing in
Missouri under Si. Gordon, Quantrell and Uphayes. Company A, under Captain Veale, made a
very successful raid into the Sni Hills, Mo. On this occasion, Captain Veale and
Lieutenant Johnson, with company A divided into two detachments, broke up eight camps of
bushwhackers, killed thirty-seven of the enemy, and wounded about the same number. They
also captured over fifty stand of small arms, and about sixty head of horses with
equipments, and completely broke up the organization of rebel squadrons in that section of
country until the return of the rebel General Jackman, and restored peace for a term of
About the first of June, 1862, company I, Captain Van Sickle, was mustered out of service,
which left the regiment with an organization of but nine companies.
In the month of June, the regiment concentrated at Fort Scott, and companies C, H, and K,
under command of Captain Greeno, were detached and ordered to report to Col. Doubleday,
Second Ohio Cavalry, to accompany his expedition south into the Indian country, and
participate in the battle of Cowskin Prairie.
The command went into camp at Baxter Springs, Kas., where the Sixth regiment joined it on
the 20th of June, excepting company B, which was left at Westport, Mo., under command of
On the second day of July accompanied the expedition under command of Colonel Weer into
the Cherokee country; and on the 4th of the same month succeeded in overtaking and engaged
a rebel force under command of Colonel Clarkson, which resulted in his capture, together
with the main portion of his command, and all his camp and garrison equipage. The Sixth
was sent in pursuit of those that had escaped capture.
On the same day, a detachment of two companies of this regiment, under command of Captain
Greeno, attacked a camp of rebels under command of Colonel Stan Waitie, at Stan Waitie's
Mills, and after a spirited engagement, succeeded in routing the enemy, and capturing a
large quantity of sugar and other commissary stores, which were destroyed for want of
On the 5th of July, the entire command went into camp at Wolf Creek, where it remained
until the 10th, when it moved south to Grand River, and encamped at Flat Rock Creek,
eighteen miles from Fort Gibson.
In the meantime the Sixth regiment was detached, and order to proceed west until it struck
the hills of the Verdigris, and from thence move south and form a flanking party to the
main column. On this march, the regiment, whilst moving through the country, took
possession of a large number of beef cattle, which were turned over, to order of the
commanding officer at Flat Rock, to A. McDonald, beef contractor.
The regiment encamped with the rest of the forces and was kept constantly engaged in
scouting the country south-- some small parties went beyond the Arkansas river. On one
occasion, a party of five men charged and drove in the rebel pickets in front of Fort
Whilst the command was in camp at Flat Rock, about the middle of July, 1862, Colonel Weer,
commanding the division, sent a detachment of sixty men of the Sixth Kansas, and one
hundred Indians, under command of Captain Greeno, to Tallequah, the capitol of the
Cherokee Nation, who succeeded in capturing John Ross, principal chief, Colonel William
Ross, Major Pegg, and eight other officers of the rebel army. Two hundred Indians
belonging to Colonel Drew's regiment, deserted and joined the Federal command, and
returned with it to camp.
About the same time, Major Campbell, with six companies of the Sixth Kansas, made a very
successful reconnaissance to the Arkansas River, opposite Fort Gibson, and engaged the
enemy across the river, and returned to camp without a loss.
Whilst Colonel Weer was actively engaged in preparing to make an attack upon the enemy at
Fort Gibson--about 2,000 strong--a misunderstanding arose between him and Colonel Solomon,
of the Ninth Wisconsin Infantry, who placed Colonel Weer in arrest, and assumed command of
the expedition, and the contemplated attack was abandoned.
On account of the rebel Generals Jackman and Coffey concentrating their forces in Northern
Arkansas, it was deemed advisable to leave the Indian country in possession of the loyal
Indians, and return for the protection of the border from a threatened raid. Accordingly
Colonel Solomon ordered a countermarch in the direction of Fort Scott.
A detachment of twenty-seven men of this regiment, under command of Lieutenant Johnson,
with three Indian guides, were ordered to proceed to Northwest Arkansas, for the purpose
of ascertaining, if possible, the movements of the enemy that threatened a raid upon the
unprotected border of Kansas. The scouting party proceeded north, parallel with the
western line of Arkansas, and thence, by a forced march during the night, succeeded in
surprising a small party of rebels at Maysville, and captured some prisoners, from whom
they ascertained that small squads had begun to move northward on various routes, and that
their intention was to surprise Fort Scott if possible, and devastate the country by fire
from thence along the border to Kansas City. But, should the eastern border of Kansas be
protected, they would leave Fort Scott to their left, and pass on various routes through
Missouri, and concentrate in Jackson county in that state, and thence make a raid south
and sweep all the weak garrisons in western Missouri.
Upon Lieutenant Johnson receiving this information, he made a forced march, and
intercepted the command at Cowskin Prairie, and immediately communicated the same to the
commanding officer. The Sixth regiment was then ordered to take position on the extreme
right of the column, and scout through western Missouri. The entire command, except the
Indian regiment, returned from the expedition south about the first of August, and
encamped on Drywood, east of Fort Scott, for the purpose of recuperation and rest. But ,
as usual, the Sixth was not allowed to remain idle. General Blunt immediately assumed
command of all the forces, reorganized the brigades, and prepared for active service.
On the 13th of August orders were received to leave regimental headquarters at Fort Scott,
and to leave all sick in post hospital, for the purpose of making a march in pursuit of a
rebel force of about five thousand (5,000) under General Cooper, which had passed north
about forty miles east of Fort Scott, towards the Missouri river. Colonel Cloud, with
detachments of the Second and Sixth Kansas regiments, struck the enemy's line of march in
the rear, and immediately followed up in pursuit.
General Blunt, with the balance his command, "leaving a small force to garrison Fort
Scott," started in pursuit of the enemy, and followed him to Lone Jack, at which
place he had been repulsed by Missouri troops, and had commenced to retreat southward.
Colonel Cloud with the Sixth and Second Kansas, took the advance of General Blunt's army,
and on the 21st of August engaged the enemy's rear at the crossing of the Osage river,
driving him until nightfall. The men and horses being very tired from excessive fatigue,
he rested for the night. On the 22d Colonel Cloud renewed the pursuit, but after a hard
day's march, found that the enemy had made good his escape.
On the following day, Colonel Cloud returned, with a part of his command, to Fort Scott,
leaving about four hundred (400) men, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Bassett, to rest
a day, with orders to return to Fort Scott on the 24th. On the morning of the 24th,
Lieutenant Colonel Bassett started with the detachment of the Second Kansas, leaving the
detachment of the Sixth, under command of Major Campbell, to follow in the rear. The
advance had proceeded but a short distance, when a rebel force, of about one thousand two
hundred, (1,200) under command of Shelby, was discovered moving south. Colonel Bassett at
once united his forces and started in pursuit of the enemy, who, upon observing the
movements of the Federal troops, turned aside, and took position on Coon Creek, to the
right of the road. The position of the enemy was naturally strong. Adjoining the timber
were two cornfields, with a lane running between them and the timber. The advanced guard,
in attempting to force a passage through the lane, were encountered by heavy fire from the
enemy, which resulted in a loss of three or four men wounded. Colonel Bassett then formed
a line on the north side of the field on the prairie, and ordered Captain Greeno, with
twenty-six (26) men, to deploy to the right as skirmishers, and pass through the
cornfield, dismounted, and at the same time sent Lieutenant Gordon, with a detachment, to
the left, for the purpose of ascertaining the strength of the enemy, and bring on a
general engagement. As Lieutenant Gordon approached the timber, the enemy poured in a
heavy fire upon his men, wounding the Lieutenant in the head, and several of his men, and
compelled him to fall back. Captain Greeno, with his detachment, at once crossed the fence
and entered the timber, and advanced a few rods, when about three hundred (300) of the
enemy suddenly raised from a ravine, and sent a volley into the line of skirmishers and
charged them. The men raised from the ground, where they had been lying down to escape the
enemy's fire and repulsed the charge with their revolvers. In the meantime Captain Greeno
was wounded in the right hand and left arm. Two (2) of his men were killed and a number of
them severely wounded. The Captain, finding that he could not contend against so large a
force of the enemy, ordered his men to fall back.
Colonel Bassett, finding that the enemy outnumbered his force, and posted in a strong
natural position, withdrew his troops, and marched in the direction of Fort Scott. The
command camped for the night at Lamar, Missouri, and cared for the wounded. The following
day, August 25th, 1862, the detachments of the Second and Sixth Kansas rejoined the main
command at Fort Scott.
Soon after the return of the regiment to Fort Scott, it was on the move into Southwest
Missouri, as a part of the Second Brigade, First Division, Army of the Frontier.
Upon concentration of the forces at Coxie's Creek, in front of the enemy, the Second
Brigade was ordered to take position on the left of the army. This position caused the
cavalry to watch the movements of the enemy, who had communication with Northern Missouri,
through the counties of Dade and Lawrence, and keep open communication with General
Totten's forces, which were camped between Mount Vernon and Springfield. The Sixth, being
the only cavalry regiment in the brigade, and having such an extent of country to guard,
it was kept constantly employed.
During the two weeks the Army of the Frontier lay in camp at Coxie's Creek, this regiment
performed some very valuable scouting service. On one occasion, a party of men, under
command of Sergeant Henderson, of F company, made a scout up Cedar Creek, attacked and
scattered a party of rebels, and succeeded in capturing a number of prisoners, from whom
valuable information was obtained in regard to the strength and position of the enemy,
also the route by which reinforcements passed south from Northern Missouri. The manner in
which this scout was conducted reflected great credit upon the Sergeant in command, and
showed at once that he merited promotion, which he soon received.
As soon as the information collected was communicated to Colonel Weer, command the
brigade, Lieutenant Johnson was ordered to select fifty (50) men from the regiment, and
proceed up Cedar Creek, under cover of darkness, and lay in ambush in front of
Sarcoxieville, where a rebel brigade was encamped, and to intercept, if possible a
scouting party of the enemy, which was making a reconnaissance in the rear of the Union
forces. The Lieutenant, upon reaching the position, distributed his men, and placed them
at the three fordings of the creek, in front of the enemy, where they remained within a
half mile of the rebel pickets for twenty-four hours. About the dawn of day of the second
morning, it was ascertained that the rebel scouting party was returning on the road
leading to the center crossing, and being in such close proximity to their camp, were
entirely off their guard. Upon crossing the creek, they at once ran into the ambuscade
prepared for them, which resulted in a loss to them of five (5) killed, and ten (10)
prisoners, besides a number wounded, who escaped on their horses. A detachment of five men
were left in charge of the prisoners, with orders to proceed towards camp, whilst the
balance of the party proceeded to drive the enemy's pickets. Lieutenant Johnson returned
to camp with his prisoners, without loss of a single man, either killed or wounded.
On the 24th of September, a detachment of the Sixth, in company with a detachment of the
Third Wisconsin Cavalry, was ordered to proceed down Shoal Creek, and disable the water
mills, from which the enemy drew his supplies. The object of this party was accomplished,
after considerable skirmishing, and with considerable difficulty and hard marching, it
returned with a loss of five (5) men.
On the evening of the 29th of September, 1862, a detachment under command of Captain
Mefford was ordered to report to Lieutenant Colonel Jacobbi, Ninth Wisconsin Infantry, who
was in command of a force composed of detachments of the different regiments, and charged
with the duty of attacking the enemy, who occupied Newtonia, and ascertain his strength
and position. The balance of the command was to follow the next morning.
Colonel Jacobbi moved to within four miles of the town and encamped for the night. At
daylight the following morning he pushed his forces through a dense wood, and drove in the
rebel pickets. But the enemy was prepared, and at once sent out a decoy, and succeeded in
drawing the advance into an ambuscade, which would have resulted in a disastrous defeat,
had it not been for the daring bravery of the men, and commendable gallantry of the
officers. Captain Mefford rallied his men and held the enemy in check until the artillery
could fall back. By this time the entire army was advancing to attack the enemy at
Newtonia, the Sixth leading the advance. They had not proceeded far, however, when
portions of the command sent out the day previous were met in full retreat. Upon
ascertaining the perilous condition of Captain Mefford's command, the regiment pressed
forward to relieve them. Lieut. Colonel Jewell, with the three companies of the advance
and two howitzers, under command of Lieutenant Benedict, moved forward and attacked the
enemy on his right flank. The rebels fell back about two miles and formed in a field, with
their left flank resting on a ravine, their right being supported by two pieces of
artillery and infantry. Colonel Jewell, with three companies and howitzers, attacked the
right, and at the same time Captain Veale charged the left flank. The enemy fired one
volley with small arms, and fled in great confusion. The regiment pursued the retreating
column to within gunshot of the town, when the enemy opened fire with artillery, and after
making some demonstrations it was ascertained that his forces were en masse in the town.
The howitzers being too light to reply to the enemy's artillery, the regiment was ordered
to retire about one mile, which it performed under a heavy fire. Several men in the
meantime were wounded. About 2 o'clock Colonel Phillips arrived on the field with an
Indian Brigade. The Sixth took position on the extreme right, where it remained the
balance of the day, and about 7 o'clock was ordered to cover the retreat of the army.
The following is the official report;
"On the morning of the 30th, in pursuance of orders, I detailed three hundred men and
and officers from my regiment, and proceeded in the direction of Newtonia, and after
having traveled about ten miles on that road, met a small party of Col. Lynde's and Col.
Solomon's regiments, with two pieces of Captain Stockton's battery and two howitzers, in
full retreat before the enemy, who informed me that Colonel Lynde with a part of his
regiment and Captain Mefford's company of the Sixth, were surrounded by the enemy.
"I soon came to where appeared to have been a slight skirmish, counted some ten
killed and wounded, who were completely stripped of their clothing, and left lying in the
hot sun--the day was very hot and sultry. Took one prisoner. There we caught the first
glimpse of the enemy, and followed him to the prairie, where he formed his line of battle,
three miles out from Newtonia on the Sarcoxie road. I at once ordered my men into line and
directed Lieutenant Benedict to bring his mountain howitzers into position on the gallop;
then threw a few shells, and the enemy fell back. My men followed them with a great shout
to the town, where the Lieutenant again commenced shelling them, when the enemy opened his
battery upon us within short range, with three guns, using shell and round shot pretty
freely. Here Lieutenant Phillips had his horse killed under him by a round shot. To get
out of range--the howitzers being too light to reply successfully--I ordered my men to
retire to a bluff, about one mile to the enemy's front and immediately sent a courier back
to General Solomon, informing him of the enemy's position, and asking for reinforcements.
This was about 10 o'clock a.m., and at about 2 o'clock p.m., Colonel Phillips arrived with
his Indian regiment, much to our gratification, having held the enemy--seven thousand
strong--in check for four hours, by continually skirmishing with them, notwithstanding the
heavy cannonading we received from him. At about half-past three the balance of the
"The portion of the enemy that I attacked were Texas regiments, well armed, that had
been selected on purpose to follow our retreating force, and if possible capture our
artillery, which was then in full retreat, as at that time there was but little support
"My command, officers and men, behaved with great coolness and bravery. The only
trouble I had was to keep them at what I considered a proper distance from the enemy.
W. R. JUDSON,
"Col. Com'dg Sixth Kansas Cavalry."
On the 4th of October the regiment was again engaged at Newtonia, and occupied the right
of the line of battle. After the enemy withdrew his forces and started on the retreat, the
regiment joined in the pursuit of the flying rebels, and only abandoned the chase when men
and horses were completely exhausted. Upon its return, it joined the main command and
marched through Pineville, Mo., and encamped at Kent. After resting a few days it moved to
a camp near Keetsville, Mo.
One of the most successful scouts made whilst in this camp was performed by Captain
Gordon, company F, with a detachment of forty men. They made a raid on White River, and
succeeded in surprising a detachment of the enemy who were guarding a mill. They killed
ten men and captured twenty-five prisoners, together with all their horses and camp
equipage and about forty stand of small arms, besides destroying a considerable quantity
of flour and wheat. The Captain returned to camp with the prisoners without the loss of a
single man killed and but three wounded.
On the 20th of October the regiment moved with the command to Bentonville, Ark., and the
night following marched to the vicinity of Old Fort Wayne, N.C., preparatory to attacking
a rebel force, about 3,000 strong, under General Cooper, at that place. On the morning of
the 22nd the advance of the command surprised and drove in the rebel pickets. The Sixth
was ordered to the front, and companies A and F, under command of Lieut. Col. Jewell,
directed to take position on the right of the Second Kansas Cavalry. Colonel Jewell
ordered his detachment to dislodge a squadron of rebel cavalry that occupied a point of
timber on his right. This they succeeded in doing, and as soon as it was discovered that
the enemy was giving back, Colonel Jewell ordered a charge, which completely uncovered his
main line. Colonel Jewell, upon seeing this, immediately wheeled his small force to the
left and gallantly charged the infantry which supported the enemy' artillery. At the same
time the center was charged by the Second Kansas Cavalry, and the entire line driven back
in utter confusion. The enemy abandoned his battery and artillery horses. His battle-flag
fell into the hands of the Sixth. No doubt this handful of cavalry would have been counter
charged and the battery retaken, had it not been for the timely arrival of the Eleventh
Infantry and Rabb's Second Indiana Battery, which opened a well-directed fire on the
enemy, who was rallying in the edge of the timber, within a few hundred yards of the
battle field. The retreating column was followed up by the entire Sixth regiment and a
part of the Indian brigade, which succeeded in capturing and destroying the enemy's train.
In this engagement the regiment had several men wounded, amongst the number, Private
George Armstrong, company A, mortally wounded.
While the army lay in camp at Old Fort Wayne, the regiment was constantly employed in
scouting the country, and was engaged almost daily with the foraging parties of the enemy.
On one occasion, a rebel force under command of Colonel Emmett McDonald, was attacked and
driven across the Boston Mountains,. The command, after lying in camp at Old Fort Wayne
about two weeks, moved to Flint Creek, and established a camp known as Camp Babcock, near
the line of Arkansas, where it remained awaiting the arrival of commissary stores from
Fort Scott, subsisting in the meantime upon beef and wheat; little flour and corn meal
could be had in the surrounding country.
A very successful scout was made from Camp Babcock eastward to the tributaries of White
River. A number of small parties of rebels were dispersed, a small train captured, and a
considerable quantity of stores destroyed. The party returned to camp with a loss of but
two men killed, bringing with it fifty Unionist from the hills of the White River, who had
been hid away to avoid the conscription.
Soon after the return of this scouting party, Lieutenant Colonel Jewell was ordered to
take command of the entire effective force of the Sixth, including the two howitzers,
together with detachments from the Indian brigade, and proceed southward and ascertain the
position of the enemy, who was reported to be encamped at Cane Hill. Upon Colonel Jewell's
arrival at that place, he ascertained that the rebel forces had retreated across the
Boston Mountains, and were stationed along the Cove Creek Valley. Colonel Jewell took a
circuitous route and fell in the enemy's rear, and surprised a detachment of his forces at
Dripping Springs, and returned through the Evansville Pass just in time to escape being
cut off by a large cavalry force, under command of rebel General Marmaduke.
As Colonel Jewell passed through the mountains, the inhabitants greeted the Stars And
Stripes with cheers, which clearly demonstrated the sentiments of the people of
Northwestern Arkansas who had been forced to accept secession. The regiment upon its
return to camp, rested there a few days with the command. On the night of the 26th of
November supplies arrived, and preparations were at once made for a movement south.
On the morning of the 27th, the entire Army of the Frontier marched, without
transportation, in the direction of Cane Hill, about forty miles distant, where a large
cavalry force, under command of General Marmaduke, had concentrated. On the morning of the
28th, the cavalry and artillery was ordered to the advance at a trot, the infantry
following as rapidly as possible, and about 9 o'clock made an attack upon the enemy, and
after a very spirited engagement of two hours, succeeded in routing him. He was closely
pursued to a spur of the Boston Mountains, where his command rallied and made a desperate
effort to repulse the advancing column. The regimental howitzers poured in a heavy fire
with canister from one side, whilst the Second Kansas and its howitzers poured in an
effective fire on the other side, and Hopkins' battery fired from the main front. He was
soon driven from his strong position across the mountain. General Blunt then ordered a
charge, which caused the enemy to fall back rapidly for some distance. The Sixth followed
up and charged a force of the enemy that had formed in a strong position, and met the
regiment with a dreadful fire. In this charge Lieut. Col. Jewell was mortally wounded;
Lieut. Johnson, company A, was severely wounded through the left lung; Lieut. Hains,
company K, was wounded in the neck; seven enlisted men were killed, and about twenty
wounded. Lieut. Campbell was taken prisoner by the enemy. General Blunt by this time was
pressing forward with a section of artillery and infantry to renew the attach, when a flag
of truce was seen approaching from the enemy. "It now being nearly sundown," the
flag was met by General Blunt, and an armistice agreed to for one hour. Darkness coming
on, the command fell back a few miles and bivouacked for the night.
The following morning, finding no enemy to fight, the command fell back to Cane Hill and
encamped. General Solomon's division, of which the sixth formed a part, was sent to Rhea's
Mills, about ten miles north of Cane Hill. Here the regiment remained until the battle of
Prairie Grove was brought on.
At midnight General Solomon received orders to send the Sixth to join General Blunt's
command at Cane Hill, and at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 7th of December, the regiment
broke camp and immediately started towards Cane Hill, where it arrived in sight of the
town about daylight. Colonel Judson was met at the outskirts of the town with orders to
move east with the Sixth regiment to the Fayetville and Cove Creek road, and ascertain if
the enemy was moving northward on that road. Upon Colonel Judson's reaching the point
designated, he at once ascertained that General Hindman had passed up the road during the
night with his main army.
Colonel Judson immediately sent messengers to General Blunt, informing him that the enemy
had completely flanked him, and was marching towards Rhea's Mills for the purpose of
capturing the trains encamped at that place. Colonel Judson followed the enemy until he
came up with his rear guard, and opened fire upon him with the two regimental howitzers.
General Hindman at once halted his entire command and formed line of battle to the rear.
This delayed the enemy several hours, and prevented him from reaching the train at Rhea's
Mills until General Herron with his command arrived from Springfield, and attacked the
enemy in front, which brought on a general engagement.
General Blunt, upon receiving Colonel Judson's dispatch, moved his troops with all
possible haste toward Rhea's Mills, and arrived on the battle field of Prairie Grove just
in time to save General Herron from being defeated.
Colonel Judson finding that the main command had passed up the Cane Hill road, withdrew
his small force, and rejoined General Blunt on the battle field about 3 o'clock p.m.
The enemy being stationed in the timber, the cavalry could not operate to advantage. The
regiment, therefore, was held in reserve, and was not engaged during the evening.
There is no doubt that the valuable information furnished by Colonel Judson, and the
detention caused the enemy by the attack made in his rear, saved the train from capture.
Had the enemy not been detained, he might have met General Herron's force, defeated it,
and then turned upon General Blunt's command, and thus defeated both divisions by detail.
Whilst Col. Judson did nothing more than his duty, had he also failed, defeat, disaster
and destruction must have been the result.
The battle was continued with great fury until nightfall, when the firing ceased, and the
army fell back a short distance and bivouacked. During the night extensive preparations
were made for renewing the conflict on the morrow. The trains were sent to the rear to
Fayetteville, a full supply of ammunition distributed, and all the available troops at
once ordered to the front.
About daylight the next morning, General Hindman sent a message under flag of truce,
asking for a personal interview with General Blunt. Shortly after daylight an interview
was held, which prevented the attack which was to have been made at dawn of day. It was
found that the interview was asked for the sole purpose of gaining time, the rebels having
muffled their artillery wheels and evacuated their position during the night. This
dishonorable and unwarrantable act the illustrious rebel General Hindman was compelled to
resort to in order to save his demoralized hosts from either being captured or annihilated
on the retreat.
The day after the battle the regiment returned to its old camp at Rhea's Mills, where it
remained until the 27th of December, 1862, when it accompanied General Blunt's expedition
south to Van Buren, on the Arkansas river. Seven miles from Van Buren, at Dripping
Springs, the regiment, in company with the Second Kansas, attacked and routed a force of
Texas troops and succeeded in capturing their camp equipage and train. The Sixth and
Second, leading the advance, dashed into the town of Van Buren, and with the assistance of
some cavalry of General Herron's command, captured four steamboats loaded with commissary
stores and corn, besides taking possession of a vast quantity of stores of all kinds in
At the same time, a detachment of the regiment under command of Captain Mefford,
accompanied Colonel Phillip's Indian brigade into the Indian country. On this expedition
Colonel Phillips succeeded in capturing Fort Gibson and Fort Davis, destroying the latter
The expedition to Van Buren closed the campaign for the Winter. General Schofield arrived
from St. Louis and assumed command of the Army of the Frontier, and ordered it back into
At this time the regiment had but nine companies. In pursuance of General Orders from the
War Department, the following order was issued for the purpose of making the organization
a complete cavalry regiment, viz.;
"Headquarters Army of the Frontier,
"Rhea's Mills, Ark., Dec. 31, 1862.
[Special Orders, No. 16.]
"The following named officers, non-commissioned officers and privates of the First
Division, Army of the Frontier, are hereby detailed on recruiting service and will report
without delay to the commanding officer at Fort Leavenworth, Superintendent of Recruiting
for the State; Captain H. S. Greeno, Sixth Kansas Vols.; Sgt. Maj. H. P. Ledger, Sixth
Kansas Vols.; Private William Coates, Sixth Kansas Vols.; Private Martin O. Blood, Sixth
"By order of Brigadier General Blunt,
"Lieut. Col. and Chief of Staff."
In pursuance of the above order, the detachment proceeded to Leavenworth and received the
following order, viz.;
"Headquarters Supt's Office Recruiting Service,
"Fort Leavenworth, Kas., Jan. 13, 1863.
[Special Orders No. 2.]
"Captain H. S. Greeno, Sixth Kansas Volunteers, with a party consisting of Sergeant
Major H. P. Ledger, Private Wm. Coates, and Private M. O. Blood, Sixth Kansas Volunteers,
having reported to these headquarters for the general recruiting service in the State of
Kansas, pursuant to Special Orders No. 16, dated Headquarters Army of the Frontier, Rhea's
Mills, Ark., Dec. 13, 1862 will proceed to the city of Fort Scott, Kans., and there
establish a recruiting rendezvous.
"By order of Lieutenant Colonel Burris,
"Lieutenant Eighth Kansas Vols., Post Adjutant.
Captain Greeno and his party at once repaired to Fort Scott, and commenced recruiting
operations. Soon after his arrival at that place, he received the following communication
from the Colonel of his regiment, viz.;
"Camp on Cane Creek, 30 miles south of Springfield, Mo.,
"February 13, 1863.
"Captain Greeno; Dear Sir--I send a communication to the Governor for power to raise
three squadrons to fill up my regiment. If it is granted, I authorize you to superintend
the recruiting of these squadrons. I send Lieutenant Lane to see Captain Robinson, to
prevail on him to raise one squadron. I send Mr. Bisbee, who will proceed to Kansas City
to see Captain Johnson, and get him to assist in raising a squadron in that vicinity. And
I further suggest that you put forward the Sergeant Major, now with you, to assist in
raising the other squadron.
"Now, Captain, a united effort is necessary to raise these three squadrons, and I
expect you to see that it is done. Do not leave a stone unturned to accomplish it at once.
"Truly your Friend, W. R. JUDSON,
"Col. Sixth Kansas Vol. Cav."
In order that there should be no misunderstanding between the military and the executive,
Captain Greeno visited the Governor at Topeka, and obtained permission to recruit the
three squadrons necessary to fill the regiment to the required standard. The following is
a copy of the letter from the Governor of Kansas;
State of Kansas, Executive Office,
"Topeka, Feb. 23, 1863.
"Col. W. R. Judson, Sixth Regiment Kansas Volunteers;
"Sir--You are hereby authorized to cause the regiment commanded by you to be
recruited to the standard required by General Orders of the War Department; Provided, that
you use no special efforts to obtain recruits from the agricultural classes of this state.
I am aware that the heavy drain upon Kansas has seriously crippled her farming interests,
and I fear will be productive of serious consequences. While therefore I must guard this
great interest against further oppressions, I will cheerfully officer such companies as
can be raised without detriment to the state or any of its vital interests.
"Very respectfully, THOS. CARNEY, Governor."
One company was recruited at Fort Scott in a very short time, and mustered into service as
company L, with H. P. Ledger, Captain; J. Denton, First Lieutenant, and L. J. Swingley,
Second Lieutenant. Company I was recruited soon after, at Westport, Mo., by Major Ransom
and J. T. Blake, and mustered into service with J. T. Blake, Captain; S. D. Harris, First
Lieutenant, and Levi Stewart, Second Lieutenant. In the meantime, Captain Greeno had
succeeded in recruiting the third company at Fort Scott, but owing to some
misunderstanding arising between the Governor and General Blunt, at that time, the company
was mustered into service as company B, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry. Company M was then
recruited, composed principally of half-breed Delaware Indians, and was mustered into
service July 30, 1863, with J. W. Duff, Captain; J. Brooks, First Lieutenant, and J. C.
Anderson, Second Lieutenant.
The first battalion of the regiment was attached to the brigade commanded by Colonel
Judson, and during the months of January, February, and March, 1863, it remained in camp
on Crane Creek, near Springfield, Mo., when it marched for Fort Scott, Kansas. Soon after
the arrival of the battalion at the latter place, the men received furloughs for a brief
On the 7th of May two companies marched from Westport to Salem, Missouri, as escort to the
First Kansas Battery, and from thence marched to Rolla, Missouri.
On the 21st of June it was ordered to join General Blunt's command, at Fort Scott, Kansas,
where it arrived on the 1st of July. On the 4th of the same month the battalion was
ordered, on a forced march, without tents, to proceed to Fort Gibson, C. N. July 17th the
enemy was engaged at Honey Springs. The following is the official report of the part taken
by the Sixth Regiment;
"Headquarters Sixth Kansas Cavalry, Volunteers,
"Camp near Fort Gibson, C.N., July 19th, 1863.
"Colonel W. R. Judson, commanding troops in the field, etc.;
"Colonel--I have the honor to report the part taken by my command, consisting of
companies A, C, F and H, commanded respectively by First Lieutenant T. J. Darling, Second
Lieutenant R. L. Phillips, Captain William Gordon, and Captain David Mefford; also section
of mountain howitzers, under the command of Lieutenant J. P. Grassberger.
"My command left camp at four o'clock a. m. on the 16th inst., crossing the Verfigris
river and Arkansas river in the face of the enemy, our crossing being covered by a section
of Smith's Second Kansas Battery. The crossing was effected without loss, the enemy
retiring on our approach without firing a shot. After a halt of a short time, I was
ordered with my command to the advance, detailing Captain Gordon with his company F, as
the extreme advance. About daylight he came up with the enemy in considerable force,
posted on a rise of ground near timber. The Captain immediately formed his men and opened
a brisk fire in the enemy, but was compelled to fall back. I at once brought the rest of
the command up at a gallop to the support of the advance, and after a sharp skirmish drove
the enemy from his position, with a loss to him of one (1) killed and three (3) wounded,
who were left on the ground. Privates Banks of company C, and Allingham, of company F, of
my command, were wounded; also had one horse killed and several wounded. I immediately
followed, coming up with him again at Elk Creek. Here I came to a halt, sending a company
to reconnoiter; found the enemy strongly posted in the timber, with artillery, their line
extending to the right and left of the road. I immediately dismounted a portion of my
command, and moved up cautiously, opening fire upon them. They, however, kept under cover.
Private White, company A, was at this time severely wounded. On the arrival of the main
force, I was transferred from Colonel Judson's command to that of Colonel Phillips'
(Colonel Judson retaining the section of howitzers) and ordered to the left of our battle
line. Shortly after the engagement commenced, I discovered the enemy endeavoring to flank
us under cover of timber. I immediately dismounted companies C, F and H, and sent them
into the timber. They engaged the enemy immediately, and after sharp work of about an hour
and a half succeeded in driving the enemy back, with considerable loss. About this time
the First Indiana regiment charged the enemy on the left, relieving my men. I at once
recalled my men from the timber, and after obtaining a supply of ammunition, mounted and
started in pursuit. After crossing the creek, I charged into a large body of rebels, whom
I supposed to be Stanwaite's Indians and a regiment of Texans. They fell back to the woods
and made a stand. My men dismounted, and opened a vigorous fire on them, which, together
with the effective fire of the howitzers, soon drove them in confusion. I followed them
until ordered to cease pursuit.
"The conduct of the officers and men under my command was excellent, they being cool
and self-possessed during the entire engagement, particularly the detachment on duty with
the howitzers; they advanced almost as fast as the cavalry, unlimbering their guns, and
delivering their fire with remarkable celerity and correctness.
"My loss was light, considering the heavy fire under which we were, and consists of
those whose names appear in the report,
"I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
"WM. T. CAMPBELL
"Commanding Sixth Kansas Cavalry."
After the engagement above mentioned, the regiment returned to Fort Gibson, C.N., where it
was joined by the second battalion of the regiment.
On the 22d day of August it received marching orders, and proceeded, with the troops under
command of General Blunt, against the rebel General Cooper. Lieutenant Phillips, command
company C, had the advance with his company, and was constantly skirmishing with the
The command was then divided, and the Sixth regiment returned to Fort Gibson, where it
went into camp on the west side of the Arkansas river. Whilst the regiment was in camp
here, Captain J. T. Blake arrived with a new company. The regiment then moved, with the
First Brigade, under command of Colonel Ritchie, to Northfork-Town, but was soon compelled
to fall back to the Arkansas river.
On the 13th of November,1863, the regiment marched for Fort Smith, Arkansas, where it
arrived on the 18th of the same month.
During the winter of 1863-4, it was employed in scouting, and escorting supply trains, and
moved to Roseville. On the 26th of March the regiment joined the First Division, Army of
the Frontier, then en route to join General Steele's command.
The following is the official report of the part taken by the Sixth on the "Camden
"Colonel W. F. Cloud, commanding Third Brigade, Frontier Division, Seventh Army
"Sir--The Sixth Kansas Cavalry, Volunteers, consisting of regimental headquarters,
and companies A, C, G, K and M, marched from camp near Roseville, Arkansas, under command
of Lieutenant Colonel William T. Campbell, forming a junction on the 28th with the
Frontier Division, commanded by Brigadier General J. M. Thayer. The regiment was then
attached to the Third, or Cavalry Brigade, and on the 9th of April, on the Little Missouri
river, formed a junction with the Seventh Army Corps, Major General F. Steele, commanding.
"The regiment participated in the skirmish on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, at Prairie de
Ann; on the 13th, while preparing to march, was again attacked, the Frontier Division
being in the rear. The enemy was repulsed, and driven from the field of action. On the
14th, company C lost nine (9) men, killed, wounded or captured, while foraging. On the
16th the regiment, with the main command, arrived at Camden, Arkansas. On the 17th the
train left Camden for the purpose of procuring forage for the command, a portion of the
detail for escort being made from the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, consisting of seventy-five
(75) cavalry and the section of howitzers attached to the regiment, under command of
Lieutenant Robert Henderson, company G. On the 18th the train was attacked and captured by
the enemy, at Poison Springs, twelve miles west of Camden. In the engagement Lieutenant
Robert Henderson was wounded and captured. Private C. C. Goodman, company D, attached to
the howitzers, was killed. Private H. Gable, company K, was captured and several wounded.
The detachments returned to Camden, and remained there until the 26th, when the regiment,
with the command, took up its line of march for Little Rock. On the morning of the 29th,
about 10 o'clock, while the command was crossing the Ouchita river, the enemy attacked our
rear guard, which consisted of companies C and K, Sixth regiment. A sharp skirmish ensued,
in which Private E. Grey, company C, was severely wounded, and two (2) men of company K
"On the morning of the 30th the enemy attacked our army in force, while crossing the
Saline river. In this engagement the regiment did not participate, two companies being
occupied in guarding the fordings on the Saline river, the other companies with the
Cavalry Division en route to Little Rock, where they arrived May 1st, `1864. At the
crossing of the Saline river the medicine stores, tents and wagons, were burned, by order
of Major General Steele, and unfortunately, the regimental records were all destroyed.
"On the 6th of May the regiment left Little Rock, and arrived at Dardanelle on the
9th. Same day had a skirmish with a party of rebels, in which Sergeant G. P. Freeman,
company A, was mortally wounded, and Sergeant Joseph Powell, severely wounded. From
Dardanelle the regiment marched for Fort Smith, Arkansas, where it arrived on the 16th of
"W. T. CAMPBELL,
Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Sixth Kansas Cavalry."
During the Camden Expedition, Colonel W. R. Judson, of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, commanded
the District of the Frontier, to which he was assigned by order of Brigadier General
- *****author's note:
- The above information supplied by the Kansas National Guard
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