Board of Survey Testimony
Capt. Nicholas Nolan, 10th Cavalry in reply to the Evidence taken before a Board of Survey convened per Special Orders No. ?, Headquarters, Dept of the Missouri, Fort Hays, Kansas, January 9, 1869.
I would respectfully state that Troop “A” 10th Cavalry was organized on the 14th day of February, 1867 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and that on the 3rd day of April, 1867, it was ordered to take post at Fort Larned, Kansas. At that time, my 1st Lieutenant was on detached service as regimental recruiting officer and my 2nd Lieutenant, Aily, accompanied me to Fort Larned. During the march from Fort Leavenworth, Ks to Fort Larned, Kansas, VIA Forts Riley, Harker and Hays, to which latter post I marched as Escort for four supply trains assigned to Major General W.S. Hancock in the field on an Indian Campaign, the weather was intensely severe – all of the heaviest snow storms which occurred for years having pervaded (?) the region of these Western forts whilst my troop was en route to its destination. My troop preserved its horses without disease, although the latter were young and unused to service of any kind, and brought them to Fort Larned, Ks. in such condition as to excite the admiration of Major Genl Hancock and Bvt Major Genl Davidson, both of whom observed to me in the presence of the present Acting Asst Adjt Genl Dept of the Missouri: that they could not account for the splendid Condition of my horses after such a march and during the most inclement weather which has occurred for years.
My men were of poor material, being mostly plantation hands, and about the poorest soldiers in ? to be had yet there were fewer desertions than in white companies at the ? ? ? of any organization and only occurred where whiskey could be had.
Immediately on reporting my arrival at Fort Larned, Kansas to the Commanding Officer of that Post my 2nd Lieutenant was detailed as Post Adjutant and I was thus deprived of my only intelligent assistance, having no learned(?) non-commissioned Officers, and my remonstrance was unheeded though there were enough Officers of Infantry present to perform all the staff duties of the Post.
During the summer of 1867 my troop made several scouts between Forts Dodge and Larned, north of the Arkansas River along the courses of Pawnee and Walnut Creek and were continually on duty as mounted Escorts Express riders, etc. under charge of non-commissioned officer very little experienced in their duties and yet all these duties were faithfully performed and to the lasting satisfaction of all concerned as my Company records can prove. In addition, my troop at all times performed its proper ratio of garrison duty and frequently more than strict practice could assign to it. Subsequently, in the Summer and Autumn and Winter of 1868, my troop was expected to perform the duties of mail Escort between Forts Zarah and Dodge, a distance of about ninety miles through a country infested (infected?) with hostile Indians and a delivery of mail made twice a week in each week. Assistance was also cheerfully rendered to the Post Commissary at Fort Larned Ks. at his request in cases of alarms of Indian depredations, as well as to the Commanding Officer at Fort Dodge, Ks as a detachment, ? ? in our ? ? a large party of Indians from that Post and pursued them to Mulberry Crossing, a distance of fifteen miles, killing three. One instance alone will show the ? which excited in my troop – During the march of December (?) 1868 a number of cattle were capture by Indians from a trained loaded with ? Stores for Fort Dodge, Ks - (to supply the troops there in the field) – at Little ?, a distance of about fourteen miles from the station at which my troop was on the reception of the report of this outrage, twenty men of my troop were dispatched in pursuit and succeeded in recapturing all the stock and Escorting them from in captivity (?) to the destination although thirteen men were first ? among the ? my muster rolls also will show its discipline: they invariably impressed it favorably for discipline and appearance even when musters by the Officers whose verbal statements are accepted as conclusive evidence to any in the Department of the Missouri; although performing almost unceasing detached service and were all of the issue originally made to my ? when organized. Except those transferred with recruits at a later period, and the surplus which often were finally selected to ? Infantry at Fort Dodge - ? to their fine condition – by Bvt Brig Genl A. Sully, who was then about to operate against the Indians.
All those facts taken collectively will I hope when placed in juxtaposition with the accompanying analysis of the evidence recorded against me, have the Effect of showing that the decision arrived at was without proper foundation and should be erased; that the discipline of my troop was good and that my conduct as an Officer was such as it should have been.
Mr. Monroe who delivered his Evidence before the Board has only judged from hearsay and was personally ? to the Colored troops, having at one time had a serious quarrel with a member of A troop whom he Endeavored to deprive of the use of a billiard table without any authority or ? ? ?. Evidence is of such an ? partial kind as to be apparently ? of a conspiracy. The man on the arrival of the Board of Investigation at Fort Larned, Ks, when asked by the Post Adjutant to make a statement concerning his knowledge of the character of the troop, etc. said in replay “I know nothing” but subsequently delivered his testimony as in the proceedings – having also said at the table of his boarding house – “They want me to make a statement in reference to Co “A” 10th Cavalry, - I know nothing about it I always saw them behave as well as the rest.”
2nd (now 1st) Lieut. E.L. ? was not qualified to Express an opinion of an impartial nature; he having alone twice said to me “I am sorry, Nolan, that you are going but damned glad the niggers are” and he also showed on this occasion a dissatisfaction to ? improperly and against the best interest of the service, the white troops; so for instance: The 1st Sergeant (? of Co. “K” 3rd Infantry) went to the quarters of ? of the laundresses of Troop “A” 10th Cavalry and there having with others made forcible entrance behaved in a ? and ? manner, using such language as “I will let you damned niggers know that you can’t run this post; if I can’t whip you any other way I will take my whole company and whip you one at a time” – First ?, being Officer of the Day, was sent on my repeated request to the Post Commander to investigate the disturbance and preserve order, etc. but merely said to the Sergeant on his return “You, Sergeant; I want you to stay in your quarters” – without taking any steps to punish him for his violent, unsoldierly conduct. On a ? of discipline, this Officer had the opportunity of forming a correct opinion of my troop as it was nearly always from the time of his arrival at Fort Larned , on detached service as mail Escort, and in making a comparison he must have forgotten that as Officer of the Day some time previous he exercised his authority in the arresting of Enlisted men of “K” Co. 3rd Infantry, who were Carousing and Convivially enjoying themselves with Major D. Parker, Post Commander in that Officers’ quarters at an unreasonable hour of the night – unless he considers the mustering of the company which he commanded an account of short rations and the conviction and punishment of the Active Company another proof discipline.
Bvt. Major D. Parker: Evidence on a point of discipline taken in connection with the foregoing fact needs no comment, and in any case he is in my opinion incapable of forming a correct judgment of the state of discipline of a troop of Cavalry. For did he have an opportunity of observing as my Troop did not perform garrison duty while was at Fort Larned: and moreover, his opinion expressed over his ? as mustering Officer contradicted, as does that of every other mustering Officer, the assertion made by him to the Board.
Sergeant Mahoney, the ringleader of the roughs and rowdies at the post, whose character can be easily seen from an Examination of the accompanying charge and Specification preferred against him by me, though never forwarded along, I opine, to the partial feelings of the Officers who had charge of their proper ? – although there was an instigation has at the time which clearly showed this soldier’s misconduct – is, I contend, an improper witness both from his intimate connection with the reported disturbance and the evident animas which he manifests.
Mr. Draught (?) was personally inimical to me: owing to my preventing his appointment as Post Trader, while in Command at Fort Larned – the other officers at the Post with one exception – having so requested – and furthermore his opinions of discipline can be of very little value.
Private ?’s evidence is simply inconclusive, and almost entirely false. He clearly neglected his duty in failing to give the usual alarm, and may have done so in collusion with others of his company to ensure the destruction of my Company property from ill feeling which he shows persisted in K Co 3rd Inf towards the Colored troops.
Lieut E. W. ?, 3rd Infantry, has been throughout my entire connection with him unceasing in his endeavors to place obstacles in my path, both as a Company Commander and brother officer and always exhibited ill feeling to the Colored troops.
His irregularities as Post Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence at Fort Larned called for a charge on the ? ? of the Service and on my assuming Command I ordered him to be relieved and again a member of the Board of Inquiry contrived to ? and report on certain Subsistence Stores for which Lieut E.W. ? was responsible found that owing to neglect of that Officer to comply with existing orders, he should be held responsible. As Post Adjutant he ? the proceedings of the Board and convened a new one and had the report mad which he required – and, also, my refusal to report to the results of my Company roll call, an account of his unmilitary conduct and his ? mode of performing his duties which I reported to the Post Commander, ? ? – will show that this Officer is not a ? military values in my case. He says that he saw me roll up my sleeves, etc. He was not present at the time referred to; nor were Captain Hamilton or Lieut Beacher present at the quarrel referred to but arrived after ?. Officer of the Day had quelled the disturbance; and it is ? ? that an Officer in uniform with his Sword and Sash on would roll up his sleeves to quell a disturbance in which as he says pistols were drawn. He states, too, that a man of the 7th (?) Cavalry while being brought to the Guard house was assaulted by a man or men of the “A” troop, 10th Cavalry, but does not state that the man or men of “A” troop who assaulted this man were the guard who were conducing him to the guard house under orders from Captain Hamilton, 7th Cavalry; nor does he state that this man used violence to the non commissioned Officer who had him in charge and was in the lawful execution of his Office. He states further that Colonel Wynkoop prevented further injury to the man of the 7th Cavalry – the facts are that but for my arrival the Corporal would have been fired upon by a loafing follower of Col. Wynkoop’s who actually had the pistol cocked in his hand and pointed at the Corporal’s head. I ? that I would not allow any Citizen to interfere with my men in the performance of their duty. When Col. Wynkoop made complaint and attempted to interfere with the duties which I was there officially to perform. Lieut Coate fails to state that I was placed in arrest at a much later period of the day than referred to in this last incident and that I was arrested while in the act of quelling a disturbance against Infantry and 7th Cavalrymen in which my troop had no part and that I was arrested through statements made to the Post Commander - as I was afterwards privately informed and that my arrest ceased next morning.
In fact, the statement made by this Officer is a tissue of well-devised miss-statements made for the purpose of injuring me for reasons heretofore given and should not be accepted.
His statements can ? my ? are ? ill of the same kind and made from prejudices ? ? taken as a ? will show this. He states that the men of this Company on several occasions when he gave them orders refused to obey and would tell him they would be “Bad ?” if they would obey any orders only that of Company Commander.
His is ? observed coming from an Officer and one who on another occasion showed such ? down abilities!!
Major J. ? Yard, Post Commander, was of course ? to a great extent by the opinions and feelings of the majority of the officers of the Post; being depressed as their for the ? on which his conduct was based and probably feeling more secure with the sympathy of the infantry – his favor; and having made an unjust and impolitic ? in removing my troop from the garrison and thus punishing the many for a difficult which from the entire evidence appears to have existed with only one man who was sent to his quarters in arrest for no violent display of want of discipline – and who appears to have been sufficiently well disciplined to obey orders - ? Sergeant Taylor – and apparently had not sufficient moral courage to recall his order (?) – he stating that the order was issued and he would be God damned if it would not be enforced – and was forced to become a party in the confrontation against the Colored troops, and, as their Officer, against me. Troop “A” 10th Cavalry was sent out to Camp in the field in inclement weather without any investigation whatever and on the representation of an inexperienced and moreover prejudiced Officer – Lieut ?, 3rd Infantry and an apparently ? ? of ? on the part of Major Yard, who never left his quarters during the day of the alleged disturbance, and evidently himself placed very little value on the statement of an alleged ? quarrel between the white and colored troops – not even remembering the name (?) of the person who apprised (?) him of it: he (?) even held a consultation Company Officers then present but then (?) ? displaying decided animus and serious consequences resulting, probably felt it necessary to make a show of liking(?) by shifting the responsibility for ? himself to me and my book(?) and it was evident that he felt guilty impropriety of conduct from the facts of the Board of Investigation having been ordered at my request and his approval of the Proceedings of the Board of Survey by his order and which recommended that I be relieved from the responsibility of the Stores restored are both eminently unfavorable facts to the possibility of my feeling at all in dread of a thorough vindication of the real existing state of affairs at the Fort and a corresponding unwillingness of his. The evidence of this Officer, too, is not complete, he having left ? for unfavorable inference the fact of Sergeant Taylor wearing a pistol, although done by his order and the cus6tom of the Post on the case of the Provost Sergeant, which Sergeant Taylor then was, having been selected by Major Yard for that position on account of his alertness: or, as Major Yard expressed himself to me, because he had “some get up about him”. The observation which I am alleged to have made on receiving Taylor’s pistol I pass with contempt – merely responding that his reaction therein is almost sufficient reflection: and all the other statements concerning me are of the same order. The want of energy imparted to me by him is sufficiently clear as the result of his feeling and principles in this connection – it being established by the most inimical of the recorded evidence that I was present and took part in every recorded quarrel in which the enlisted men of any color had engaged – the views of the officers offering testimony only placing my action in a light unfavorable to order and discipline – my conduct as a gentleman was never disputed in the Society of Officer of rank and position.
1st Lieut. H. Kaiser, 3rd Infantry has not been, since I knew him for a sufficient length of time, sober to form a reliable opinion on any subject, and should hardly be accepted as an authority in matters to which he had paid no attention and no officer of his acquaintance would believe any assertion made by him. His opinion is only an ?.
Private Mulberry’s evidence is apparently accepted without any doubt of his good feeling. He states that from his knowledge of fires generally he believes that the fire at my stables was not accidental!!! and that the stable was set on fire in three places! this has been received without reason of any kind although he belonged to an organization confessedly antagonistic. He also stated that this main evidence corroborated that of Musician ? – which had been omitted from the record owing to its incoherency.
Charles ? heard but does not state from whom that ? used to be a fire in the Cavalry stables; and thinks the fire was started in two or three places while the sentry on ? Post within ten yards of the position of the fire is said to have originated does not observe that such was the case. ? ? has made the most impartial statement on the record and was thoroughly competent to express an opinion – but has since stated that any favorable expression regarding the colored troops on or their officers would – about the time of the sequestration have cost him his selection on that of any other ? at Fort Larned, Ks.
Sergeant ?’s evidence was given under , is my opinion, improper influence, for the property for a long time before had been always kept in the stables store room, as the accompanying affidavit will show and his statement in total ought to be rejected owing to his evident intention to lie.
Scott the teamster has since been sent to Penitentiary for his crimes and the accompanying statement of Post
Last updated: January 24, 2017