Family History and Indian War Diary of Theron F. Carr



Family History and Indian War Diary of Theron Carr

With Additional Information  by Daughter, Elfie May "Fay" Carr

Courtesy of Jim Wright

In Memory of "Grandmother" Carr          Union Soldiers of Matagorda County

Theron Francis Carr Timeline

All That I Know of My Family Genealogy
By Theron Carr

Richard Carr settled on Long Island, New York in 17—do not know year; served in Washington  Army. He had three children—James, Robert and Cathern (who died a spinster). James was my grandfather. He married Elizabeth Kinner in Orange County, New York. They had eight sons and one daughter. The sons—William, Calvin, David, Jesse, Demott, Simon, James D. and Seymore—daughter Sarah Ann. She married Truman Boss.

My father was James D.—mother was Jane C. Trusdale (a native of Cedarville, Herkimer County, New York). I was born in Cedarville, New York on April 25, 1842. The family moved to Michigan in 1842. In 1845 moved to Rice County, Minnesota.

I attended school here and in the year 1861 on the 6th day of July was married to Harriet E. Kirkpatrick. In 1862 moved to Paynsville, Stearns County, Minnesota and settled on preemption claim. Took crop of wheat, oats and etc. off hands of Mike Bedkley who had enlisted. Had wheat stacked and oats nearly stacked when I received word that the Sioux Indians were killing all of the settlers west of us and would be in our neighborhood next day—so went to town—organized what few settlers we could get for self defense and to help the people west and drive the Reds back. Went with fifteen others to settlements west next day. Our crowd buried twenty-six and found many wounded and destitute (on the prairies and in the timber). Some of them nearly naked—mostly women and girls and small boys. Found some men on prairie who had forty-two women and children at Lake Johanna—forty miles from us. They begged and cried for us to go after them. All refused except Steve Harris and I went with him. The fourteen returned to Paynsville and reported us killed. We got the crowd and by traveling nearly all night got them all to safety at Paynsville. Here we built fortifications and held the fort until ordered to move out. We saw our buildings and could see my wheat stack burning as we retreated. We reorganized our forces. Steve Harris was elected Captain—T. F. Carr first Lieutenant of the company.

We all went to St. Cloud and then to interior. We got a little girl—Maggie whose father was killed and mother left destitute—went to my father in Cannon City. Father and mother wanted Maggie and adopted her and raised her as their own child. She married Lyman Kells who was banker at Sauk Center, Minnesota.

Enlistment - 1863

On the 14th day of September, 1863 I enlisted in the 2nd Minnesota Vol. Cavl. ordered to Ft. Ripley for winter. Here I drilled recruits until spring, when the company was ordered to Fort Ridgley where we were organized into a Brigade, Eight Infantry, 30th Wis. Brackets Battallion and Eight Company, 2nd Minnesota Cavl. and on Monday, June 6th, 1864 started Westward and here is my diary as written each day.

Marched at 8:00 a. m. up Minnesota River crossed at Lower Agency. Many good residences built by U. S. for Indians. Little Crow had a fine one and good farm, as had all, made by white men. Camped here on Indian burrying ground. The men dug up some of them in a large box. They found an old squaw on what had been a featherbed with all of her beads and other things. The body was in perfect state and appeared to be dry and hard (mummy). Marched 20 miles, pleasant day.

June 1864

Tuesday, June 7, 1864, Camp Pope
Marched at 6:00 a. m. Beautiful day. Our course northwest on Redwood River. We find 125 wagons going to Idaho want to go with us for protection. Nothing unusual—this is a beautiful country.

Wednesday, June 8, Camp Wood Lake
Marched at 6:00 a. m. Still up Minnesota River—cool and pleasant. Passed more Indian farms with good buildings. Camped on or near the old Wood Lake battle grounds. Here is where the 6th Minn., 3rd Minn., Brackets Battallion, 3rd Battery had the fight against great odds and in the high grass on the northeast side of the Lake and 3rd Minn. made the desperate charge against ten to one and drove the Indians, leaving many dead Indians and losing many brave boys. About 150 soldiers buried here—found many Indian bones in the grass where they were when the soldiers charged.

Thursday, June 9, still at Wood Lake
Waiting for wagon train of supplies and beef cattle.


Battle of Wood Lake Minnesota - 1862

Friday, June 10, Camp Riggs
Left Camp Wood Lake 6:00 a. m. Still going up river. Passed Yellow Medicine—many of the buildings in ruins. The house where the friendly chief, the other day, protected and saved sixty white people; he owned a nice home and good farm here. All along the road we saw articles of various kinds that the Indians had taken from homes where they had killed the people. This camp is named for Missionary Riggs whose home was here.

Saturday, June 11, Camp McPha
Marched at 5:00 a. m. Warm and the roads very dusty. Saw many signs of Indians. Liable to see them anytime—this is near camp Release where the Indians turned their white prisoners over to the soldiers. The Indians have started prairie fires west of us to destroy the feed for our horses.

Sunday, June 12.
Stopped today to rest horses—very strong wind—dust flying so can hardly see. Sergeant Williamson and I went over to the Immigrant train. There are 125 wagons and 230 men. They say they could protect themselves against any force of Indians, but they camp close to us. I am feeling fine and stand marching better than I expected.

Monday, June 13, Camp Sully.
Marched at 6:00 a. m. Passed some fine farms and beautiful country on the Inkpedulak River. Camped six miles from where we crossed the river and near the prairie fires, keeping close watch for Indians. We believe that the scouts have seen them and perhaps talked with them.

Tuesday, June 14, Camp R. McLaren.
Left camp Sully at 6:00—cold, many of the men kept overcoats on part of the day. Camped on banks of same river we did last night. Marched about fifteen miles—plenty fine water and wood.

Wednesday, June 15, Camp Rogers.
Marched at 6:00 westerly direction. Nice country—crossed the Minnesota line in to Dakota on the water shed between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Could see where we camped on the 13th. Beautiful lakes here—no wood here had to send team five miles.

Thursday, June 16, Camp Wallow.
Marched at 6:00 a. m Beautiful prairie and many small lakes—Indians had farmed here. Camped on head of lakes on prairie—saw large head [herd?] of buffalo. Officers would not allow men to go after them. Camped about 3:00 p. m.

Friday, June 17, Camp Major.
Marched at 6:00. One of our regiment was caught stealing from a settler last night. He was court marshaled—marched along the front of the regiment with head shaved and board hung on his back marked “thief.” We marched fast today over level plains—crossed Big Sioux River—saw first large beaverdam—camped by same—beautiful lakes—men and horses tired.

Saturday, June 18, Camp Rice.
Marched at 6:00. Very pleasant all day—passed between two lakes. A buffalo started up out of the high grass—some of the officers had race horses and were sure they could out run the buffalo. Four or five of them gave chase; after about a mile only two were in the race and buffalo gaining all the time. At about two miles buffalo had the race all alone. Marched all day along a chain of lakes—camped on a lake in shape of a horse shoe. This had been on Indian camp not long since. There were piles of broken bones. The Indians broke them to get the marrow. Quite warm water in lake—strong alkali.

Sunday, June 19.
Stayed here to rest and wait for our last mail. I received one. Had to pay 10¢ each for letters—they were worth $500. It rained and a hard wind blew down many tents. We held ours down. Some of the boys drank too much bad water and are sick. I went in bathing in one of the lakes and it is so strong of salt and alkali that it is very easy to swim.

Monday, June 20, Camp Major Rose.
Broke camp at 6:00. Marched twenty miles over hilly country. No timber in sight—passed several lakes. Camped on river—hot and dusty. Water strong of alkali—some of the boys sick—eight of our boys made a run after buffalo—no results. I am not feeling well—a little homesick.

Tuesday, June 21, Camp Brown on James River.
Marched at 5:00 on level plains—alkali thick in grass—see timber ahead. Officers and many of the men thought they saw Indians in timber. After looking with our glasses I could see elk and told them what they were. None of them had ever seen elk. We have been seeing this timber for two days. I saw Indians on flank to left today; no one else saw them and would not believe they were Indians. Saw plenty of signs and scouts reported at night to have seen Indians and talked with them. Some of the boys are sick—I am feeling fine.

Wednesday, June 22, Camp Danels.
Broke camp at 9:00 a. m. to cross river banks—steep and high—had to dig down to cross. Had ropes with 100 men on each side of bank—one to hold back as then went down and when they reached the other side hard job getting across here; after they had crossed, two of them got to shooting at each other over a rope. A trial was called and one of the men sentenced to walk behind the train disarmed and to be expelled from the train at the Missouri River.

Thursday, June 23, Camp Murphy.
Marched at 5:00 a. m.—level prairie all the way—not a tree or bush in sight—some large logs must have drifted here in high water. Camp on Elk River—not a bush in sight—good water. I am sick—could hardly sit on my horse.

Friday, June 24, Camp Kimble.
Marched about 5:00 a.m., northwest course—barren flowing prairie—very hot and dusty. Saw many antelope, some black wolves. Sick all day—hardly able to ride. Hard rain about 4:00 p. m.—very strong wind. Camped on Elk again about fifteen miles from our last camp.

Saturday, June 25, Camp Jones.
Broke camp at 5:00. Crossed level plains to bluff we could see this a. m. Camped near stream—pleasant today. The Immigrants killed a buffalo—saw many antelope, buffalo and other animals. I am feeling much better today.

Sunday, June 26.
Did not march today—rest for man and beast. Had inspection at 10:00. Ely Williamson and I walked out around camp. Some of the boys picked June berries—quite a treat for us. Sergeant Harris of Company “D” preached for the boys this evening. We all talked of home and would have written, but not mail now—away from everybody.

Monday, June 27, Camp Petett.
Broke camp at 6:00. Our Company were flankers on left of column. Marched about twenty miles—hot and dry—not a bush to be seen. We must do all of our cooking with Buffalo chips—our rations cut one half—many of the men are sick—I am feeling well today.

Tuesday, June 28, Camp Fulsome.
Hard storm last night—blew down some of the officers tents—tore some of them in two. Marched at 5:00—before we could get breakfast or water for our horses. Hot and dry—passed many dry basins where there had been lakes—camped near a mud hole—dug ten feet to find water—not a stick or bush in sight.

Wednesday, June 29.
Broke camp at 6:00. Northwest course—passed what had been lakes more than a mile long. No water there. Marched on this course until about 1:00, then turned southwesterly course and camped on small creek—no timber in sight. We are on short rations and some of the men suffer from hunger. I am feeling fine and can stand it very well.

Thursday, June 30.
Broke camp at 6:00. Soon after we started scouts came in and reported General Sully south of us forty miles. After five miles march rear guard reported Indians in rear—ordered into close order and moved forward; about 1:00 p. m. we met some of General Sully’s scouts who said their camp was not six miles from us. It was rainy all day and very muddy. We are now near the Missouri River. Officers tried to inspect—too muddy—made the second trial before found a camp—then had to lay in mud several inches deep.

Photo of General Alfred Sully

July 1864

Friday, July 1, Camp No. 18.
Cloudy and muddy—our officers went to General Sully’s camp—reported that one of Brackets men was killed today by Indians and that a large body are camped up the river not far from us. Everything in bedding line wet—boys trying to dry them. I have been making our muster rolls today as this is pay day.

Saturday, July 2.
Still in camp 18. Worked all day on payrolls. Our teams went to boats for provisions. Very hot in tents. Received orders to move tomorrow, 5:00 a. m. Order countermanded and ordered to be ready to move on orders.

Sunday, July 3.
Camp 18. Up early to be ready for orders. Ordered to stake out horses. Received orders to march at 10:00. Marched up the river about three hours. Received the first grain for horses in fifteen or twenty days.

Monday, July 4, Camp No. 19.
Marched at 5:00. Traveled up river—cold and windy today. Roads not so muddy. We got better rations today than we have been getting. We had quite a time—often camping. Seven flags put up and notices that the boys could hear some good talks by some of the officers. We called on Sergeant Harris—our preacher. Sergeant and the boys put up a flag. We had about three times as large a crowd as the others and our Glee Club sang some good songs, after the Sergeant finished his talk. Many officers came with the men.

Tuesday, July 5, Camp No. 20.
Marched at 6:00. Followed General Sully’s trail. We are 2nd Brigade. Cold and looks like rain—enjoy the trip all right if could hear from home.

Wednesday, July 6, Camp No. 21.
Traveled up river on 1st Brigade route—made longest march we have made. Found nice camp ground. Saw first timber we have seen since we left James River. No feed for horses.

Thursday, July 7, Camp No. 22.
Marched early. We are rear guard today. Route over hilly country. Marched at will as we were behind the Idaho Train. Came up to the 1st Brigade about 12 M., 1 mile from the Mo. River. Reported that a large body of Indians near and watching us. We keep very careful watch for them day and night.

Friday, July 8, Camp No. 23.
Broke camp at 5:00. Route over very hilly country. The Iowa Brigade is ahead of us in sight, reached banks of Mo. River about 12:00. Camped on high land above river bottom. Take horses to bottoms to graze. Wild prickly pear on River bottom. Four Steam boats with supplies; more boats expected tonight. Will build fort on west bow of River.

Saturday, July 9, 1864.
In same camp waiting to cross the River. Several boats came up the River to-day and one came down. The boats coming up fired salute before they came very near. The boat down did not, but a shot across her bow from one of our Batteries brought the Flag up quick and the boat made a quick turn and landed close to camp on west bank. They reported to be a boat from forts up the river. Reported hostile Indians up the river. We are just below Big Bend where the hard battle was fought last year.

Sunday, July 10, 1864
Same camp, still waiting to cross the river, Beautiful river. I wrote home to-day. Expect boat in a few days with mail from home. Some of the boys crossed the river. Steamboats ferrying everything over. I have not been to the river as I have to look after the horses and men while in camp.

Monday, July 11, Camp No. 24.
Our Regiment crossed the river this A. M. on the “Sam Gaty.” Camped near 1st Brigade. A fort has been layed out. There is a horse Saw Mill sawing timber for Fort Rice and soldiers putting it up as fast as sawed. Also building Rifle pitts and everything necessary for a fort. A citizen was killed by going to far in advance. Indians laid for him, killed and cut his head off; but the soldiers were so close that they killed two of the Reds and got citizens body.

Tuesday, July 12, Ft. Rice Camp.
Four of our men sent out on detail work to stay here and build fort or go up river on boats. Will leave all sick here. Received mail to-day. Got one from Father. I did not get one from Hattie, makes me feel homesick.

Wednesday, July 13, In Camp Ft. Rice.
Warm and pleasant; everybody writing home, as mail boat goes out don’t know when we can send again. Paid off to-day. I have been out with horses and men about three or four miles to good grass. The boys killed a very large Buffalo in ravine; there are indications of a volcano here. Lava scattered over the plains in small and large piles; some not more than a few inches high, others twenty feet, appear to have been dropped where they are.

Thursday, July 14, Camp Ft. Rice.
The warmest day of the year—105 in the shade. Skirmish Drill to-day. I was down with catch in back. In tent all day—got better towards night. The boys killed two buffalo, I had some of the meat. It was fine after the meat we have been having.

Friday, July 15.
I am better to-day. Went out with horse guard to-day. The Regiment had skirmish drill. Dismounted, very hot, water hot—horses doing fine on buffalo grass.

Saturday, July 16.
Warm and pleasant. We went with Company several miles for drill with horses—fired revolvers in skirmish drill. Several boys were thrown from their horses.

Sunday, July 17.
General Sully, our Commanding officer held General Revie[w]s on the plain about two miles west from Fort Rice with our two Brigades of cavalry. It is a fine sight, as the day is warm and pleasant. Many of the boys were sick with diarrhea, owing to the bad water. My brother Byron—sick—had to leave ranks. General Sully is a medium sized man, getting gray, western style and well liked by all of the western troops.

Monday, July 18.
I was sick and did not leave camp today. Received orders to march in morning. Three of our men detailed to stay here—all sick to stay. Indians seen east of the Missouri River today.

Tuesday, July 19, Camp No. 25.
Broke camp at day break. Our company rear guard passed what appeared to have been volcanoes’ eruptions—may piles of lava in sizes from one to twenty feet high. Marched in the bed of a dry river or canyon. Camped on Cannonball River in Prairie Dog Town. Boys have big time scaring the dogs. Expect fight with Indians.

Wednesday, July 20, Camp No. 26.
Broke camp early. Cloudy and cool—very dusty country—broken and barren. No timber in sight. Plenty of iron ore and in many places coal veins are seen in side of bluffs near streams. Found Idaho train camped in small valley with plenty of good water and grass. Surrounded by mountains. I am feeling better than in camp.

Thursday, July 21, Camp No. 27.
Broke camp at 5:00. Course northwest. Still in barren country—broken as yesterday. No water. Expect to see Indians any time. Several men were put in ambulance today. Not much chance to cook or fix rations. Four antelope ran through the ranks and the men tried to kill them with swords. I was sick and had hard work sitting in saddle.

Friday, July 22, Camp No. 28.
Warm today—marched early—marched until 1:00 p. m. Expecting to see Indians at any time. Scouts from Fort Rice brought dispatch. All kinds of rumors as to contents of dispatch. We saw many elk and antelope along lines of march today. Several times saw bands of wolves. I am feeling fine; expect fight with Sioux in short time.

Saturday, July 23, Camp No. 29.
Reveille at 1:00 a. m.—marched 5:30 northwest. Crossed a river about noon—camped at 3:00 p. m. on small creek. Veins of coal show along river bank. Brother Byron is 19 today. All well but I am feeling homesick—very hot.

Sunday, July 24, Camp No. 30.
Marched early—our company on flank—very hot all day. Saw many elk in large bands. Passed through an old Indian camp. Had about 250 lodges. Camped on Hart River—large prairie dog town. Leave supply train here to make force march after reds. Expect to use pack mules.

Monday, July 25.
Resting in camp. I was Sergeant of Guard, doing picket duty. Special mule packers trying to pack mules—having fun with prairie dogs. I went out to place pickets on posts—met officer of guard asked for orders. He said “The General said put the men on good posts—tell them to lay down and go to sleep and let the Indians cut their d—m throats,” and I had to give the order to each post. As I left them at one good place I noticed a stump of a burned tree about fifteen or twenty feet high outside of the guard line a short distance. I left my brother Byron and two other cool headed men on this post and called their attention to the stump—asked them to not fire at it. After I had placed all the pickets I went to my tent. About 1:00 a. m. firing began on the picket line and went clear around. At daybreak I had order to release guard. I went round and enquired what they were shooting at and learned after one post began to shoot they could all see something move outside the lines. I went to the post where the stump was and they were the first to shoot. They said they could see the stump raise up and down—two of them hit the stump.

Tuesday, July 26, Camp No. 31.
Marched without tents or extra clothing at 1:00 p. m.—light wagons with ten day’s rations. Left main train and supplies in camp on Hart River. Indians fired on scouts—killed and wounded his horse. We marched until late in night—very dark one half of company on guard with horses saddled.

Wednesday, July 27, Camp No. 32.
Marched at 3:00 a. m. Marched until 12:00—got water and dinner. Marched until night—drew our day’s rations—not allowed to build fire as scouts have seen Indians all day. Not allowed to unsaddle horses or picket them—must hold to rope or strap if we lay down on ground.

Thursday, July 28, Camp No. 33.
Marched at 3:00 a. m.; about 9:00 a. m. came to a small stream with clear cold water—unsaddled horses and made coffee had good meal—rested two hours—felt fine. After dinner I soon went to sleep and one of my men shook me and said wake up we are going to have a fight. I had slept more than an hour—I saw the ammunition wagons drive out of train and men handing out the boxes of cartridges, other breaking them open and giving every man all that he wanted to carry. Our Col. McLaren was standing near—he said “Boys we are going into battle—don’t get excited—shoot when you get a good chance and you can have every Indian you kill.” We mounted—formed line by platoons—close order on each side of our little train with a strong advance and rear guard. We marched about two miles this way when we saw an Indian on a horse with a large white blanket as a flag of truce. We also saw the Indians in swarms on both flanks surrounding us. All at once they came in sight from every side and charged; most of them had double barrel shotguns and bows and arrows. The fight was on—one man about twenty feet from me screamed—“I am shot,” and fell off his horse. I looked at my platoon and many of them were white as could be, but only one or two showed fear. We were ordered to the left front at gallop—dismounted and moved forward fighting as we went. We moved about two miles fighting and the horses were brought up and we charged four miles to the Indian camp and found 18 tents partly torn down—many dead Indians, horses and some of our men. Just after we dismounted I heard Lieutenant Whipple of the 3rd Battery Command “Limber to the rear”—I looked around and saw fine or six hundred Indians charging the rear guard. They made for the Battery and the Lieutenant sighted and fired when the Indians were just right—loaded and fired again before they could stop the charge and there appeared Indians, horses and dirt filling the air for some distance. All the Indians were going the other way faster than they charged. We charged to the mountains as far as we could go and lay on the ground that night.

July 29, Camp 34.
Next morning at daylight we tried to follow the Indians into the mountains, but found it impossible. We buried all tents and poles—their camp outfit and winter supplies of meat and berries.

Saturday, July 30, Camp No. 35.
Two of our regiment, LaPlant and Hosques of Company D, were killed on guard by Indians who charged the pickets. I saw them when we were out looking for them and we buried them as best we could. One of them had an arrow shot into the back of his head—the point sticking out of his face and forehead. Started back for our train—we did not get supper as our officers and two of the three men lay ten paces apart around camp. The Indians charged to try to stampede our train and horses but failed. They ran so close to us that I could hear the horses hard breathing, but a hot fire soon put them out of that. The wolves and coyotes came very close to us all night and kept up an incessant howling.

Sunday, July 31, Camp No. 36.
Marched early and all day. Our horses are very poor and are like us—nearly worn out from hard service and poor feed. Some of the horses dropped—played out and were shot as the Indians were following us—camped one mile from train. Will rest few days, as all are worn out with five days and nights hard marching and fighting. Many are sick—I can hardly go, but manage to take care of my horse.

August 1864

Monday, August 1, Camp No. 36.
We will stay here until men and horses are rested. I am sick with bowel troubles. Several of our company sick.

Tuesday, August 2, Camp No. 36.
Nothing of interest—everybody feeling better—getting rested.

Wednesday, August 3, Camp No. 36.
Orders to march. I could not eat anything. Got my men into line. When I tried to mount my horse, I fell back on the ground. Colonel McLaren asked the Captain why I was not put in an Ambulance. He ordered one out of train and I was put in with four others—every ambulance full. I was too sick to sit up. Many of the men are sick but will not give up as nearly everyone who goes to the hospital is planted in few days.

August 4, Camp 38.
I am some better today—rode my horse, but could not wear my belt—hung it on saddle. Passed through several beds of dry stream—quick sand in all of them. We are nearing the foothills. Captured a wounded Indian—many sick.

August 5, Camp No. 39.
Marched early—mountains in sight, some wood along streams—not much water. Scouts killed elk just ahead of us. Our first camp in foot of mountains—can see back over our trail for many miles. Fred Brandt made sketch of camp. Weather pleasant—if we had good water and could rest a few days.

Saturday, August 6, Camp No. 40.
Marched at 5:00—went directly into the bad lands—very tedious traveling as it is so rough. Can hardly find room for supply train to drive. This has been a heavily timbered country, as shown by the large petrified stumps and logs. Mountains barren—many places sand stone. The scenery is grand—something we have never seen—mountains and hills of all shapes—some look like church spires—some are miles of perpendicular mountains.

Sunday, August 7, Camp No. 41.
Marched at 4:00. Indians about camp last night. We built bridge across canyon for train. Went down to bottom of Little Missouri River—waited for train. Find good water and grass for horses. Saw elk on side mountains. Indians taking a few shots at Idaho people. A grizzly bear passed along the river, stampeding a mule team and horses of 1st Brigade. I called my men to bridle horses and hold them. About five hundred horses ran near us getting our captain’s horse with part of the company and several times after making a round for about two miles through timber for part of the distance. They were rounded up and beat back—many of the saddles had no stirrups on and all kinds of stuff left along the route. Just before dark there were three guards on a mountain above camp—they took a few shots at something and slid down the mountain—running was not fast enough—before they were to the bottom about fifty Indians showed up on the mountains—one on a white horse fell in line. Everybody—Lieutenant While No. 1 Limber—in a minute fire and a shell exploded so close to the horse that we could not see him for the smoke—when it cleared—no horse nor Indian in sight.

August 8, Camp No. 42.
This is a day I will never forget. After the Indians keeping up a fireing all night—we started out our Brigade in advance. In a short time we dismounted and sent to left flank—the battery shelling the Indians as we advanced—did not get a chance to fire on them. We were mounted and moved forward—two companies ordered to advance to guard—dismount and skirmish. Our Captain moved us beyond the line half a mile—I called his attention to it and he replied “Keep your mouth shut. I command this Company.” We had not gone three hundred feet beyond when the Indians began a flank move each way and for our rear. I again called his attention to this and he yelled “run,” and every man look out for himself.” I saw the Indians coming and they ran up to us. Many, not twenty feet from our men when they fired. The first volley the Indians ran and dropped behind rocks and bank of river. I called the men to come into a washout for protection. We fired again and I numbered the men by two and told one to not shoot until I had a load, so as to be ready for charge which soon came. We used guns and then pistols and broke charge. One Indian ran to us after he was shot near the heart and fell dead, when at our line. In one charge an Indian rode a horse hanging on side from us shooting with bow and arrow. Lee Martindale shot horse and Indian both at one shot, the Indian falling under. Our Captain had retreat call on bugle, but six of the boys being wounded, I stopped the men and started to get the wounded back where they would be safe. The wounded were Byron Carr—two arrows—one through knee cap—one in shirt under arm. Lute Ives—arrow through thigh and bullet shot end of bone off elbow. Horton bullet through leg below knee. Dwyer spent ball on joint of backbone. Lease shot through muscle of arm above elbow. Here I had my hair trimmed by a ball. I fired at same time could see his eye through my sights. I had a shot not more than twenty feet—a chief with big white feathers running clear over his head—I could see onto his ear when I fired—we now had all the boys that were wounded in the rear and the Captain’s bugle sounded retreat, so it was a run for life with twelve of us and five or six hundred Indians to shoot at us and we started—had three mountains to climb. I got near the top of the first one—the bullets were coming like hail, I slipped and fell and a bullet ripped my left coat sleeve partly off. I got down that mountain and found most of our men could not stand. One of our men came with horse and put me on it. I got back to battery and learned that wounded were all in. I got squad together and went back to check Indians, so advance guard could come in. I got our boys all in their own tents after their wounds were dressed. No water for them. I offered $10.00 for a canteen of water—could not get it. Wounded all calling for drink—Byron suffering great pain.

August 9, Camp No. 43.
We were ready to move early. The Indians on every side. We charged and drove them back. I was taken sick and had to leave my horse and ride in wagon. Completely exhausted, sick all day. About 10:00 a. m. passed the Indian camp ground.

August 10, Camp No. 44.
Left camp about 8:00. Camped at 5:00 p. m. Having made about fifteen miles, left the Indian trail this a. m. as they have gone north into the mountains. Camped on creek—have very good water and some wood. Wounded boys doing well as could be expected. All doing very well.

August 11, Camp No. 45.
Left camp early, traveled over a very barren country. Very little water. Too sick to ride horse. Rode in company wagon all day. Did not see the wounded boys as we went into camp at 9:00 p. m. on a small creek.

August 12, Camp No. 46.
On Yellow Stone River—stayed in camp this a. m. until 10:00 to let horses eat as they are getting very poor—not having anything for fifteen or twenty days but brush. Were obliged to shoot mules and horses that could not travel and the Indians are following us all of the time. Reached here about 6:00 p. m.—steamboats here.

August 13, Camp No. 46.
Steamboats carrying soldiers and supplies across river—swinging stock across some drowned—plenty of elk and boys killed many of them. I have hard work to keep my boys from eating too much, as we have been on short rations for twenty days and only one hardtack a day for several days. I got a pair of nice buffalo horns and made a pair of crutches for Byron. Wounded boys all on the boats now. I was sick from eating fresh meat.

August 14, Camp 47.
We moved onto boat at 12:00 at night. Our wounded boys on the boat—I was very sick all night—lay down by smoke stack on boat and stayed on board until after daylight. They swam the horses across the river.

August 15, Camp 48.
Left camp early—marched fast leaving some of the Montana Train—some of them will go back with us. Two of them were drowned crossing the river. We had some horses with us. Two of them were drowned crossing the river. We had some horses and mules drown. I am feeling better today. Marched about eighteen miles.

August 16, Camp 49.
Broke camp early this a. m. Marched about seven miles to camp of first Brigade. Camped here to wait for some of our boys who were unloading. Some of the boats. Not well today—hard work to ride my horse. Our company on guard tonight.

August 17, Camp 49.
Stopping today to let horses rest—Fort Union across the Missouri River about seven miles down to Yellowstone. The boats went down river with all of our sick today. The immigrant train passed down to Fort Union. We expect to cross tomorrow. I am feeling better.

August 18, Camp 50.
Orders to strike camp at 9:00. Passed over a very barren country until we reached the river. Here we found some timber on fire. Had hard work to get past it. It burned until it reached the river. Unsaddled horses and put our saddles and tents on a large barge to be ferried across. I took charge of company and horses; each man leading one horse—marched through quicksand of the river bottom about one mile. One horse got away and went into the dangerous quicksand and began to sink and was soon down to his body. He kept pawing and his body settled until he was down to his shoulders—squealing all of the time; the last I saw he was all under but his neck and head. Two men and horses had been drowned about two hours before we got here. I told the man to follow me and be careful to not to try to climb up on horses neck. I saw one man was afraid and he said yes, so I took the bridle of his horse and only left a roap around the horses neck. It was over one half mile across the river. I kept my horse’s head up stream and watched to see that they all followed me. When we reached the shore, some of the horses staggered—they were about played out and the boys were so weak and played out that two had to put a saddle on a horse. We got into camp late at night. When we got our tent up I lay down as I was and went to sleep. Some of the boys went to the fort and two of them bought an apple pie about five inches across for $1.00 and one of them gave me a piece of crust about two and one half inches square—was all of the supper I had.

August 19.
Today on horse guard—out all day on Missouri river bottom. Sergeant Williamson and I found a lot of grapes and are going to cook them. I did not see the wounded boys today as the boat is below our camp.

August 20, Camp No. 50.
Off duty today. Made our grapes into sauce and went to the boat and took some of it to the wounded boys. Found them doing as well as we could be expected, but many sick. Many from overeating. When we got fresh rations and elk meat—one man died the next night—three the second night and several after from overeating. I did my washing in the p. m. Homesick—have not heard from home since we left Fort Rice.

August 21, Camp 51.
Marched about 10:00 a. m. down Missouri River about twenty miles. Camped to wait for boats as Indians are watching to get a chance at them. Good grass for stock. I am not well—have bowel trouble.

August 22, Camp 52.
The big boat came down this morning. I went down and carried some clothing to the wounded boys. We are on guard today. Three Indians chased one of Company H’s boys today. Came into camp after dark. I slept in company wagon.

August 23, Camp 53.
Left camp at 6:00 a. m. Marched about 12 miles—went into camp on a stream of water. It is strong alkali. Dug wells and found good water.

August 24, Camp 54.
Left camp at daylight. Marched over some mountains and down the river. Saw the boats. Went into camp. Some of the scouts and our boys killed eleven buffalo. Plenty of good meat—the boys brought in.

August 25, Camp 55.
Left camp early. Marched twenty miles. The boats are near our camp. Good grazing for stock. I feel better today than for some time. Had a supper of buffalo. Did not eat much but meat.

August 26, Camp 56.
Left camp at 6:00 a. m. Marched over a very hilly country close to the river. Crossed the Indian trail. When they went north after we fought them—they are on their way to Canada. Cold and rainy. Built fires. Some of the boys suffer with cold—as they lost their overcoats on the march or in fights.

August 27, Camp 57.
Struck tents and marched at daybreak. On river guard today. Route over plains. Made fast march and long distance. Camped near the river. The boats passed down. Good grass for stock. I am not on duty today. Would like to have something to eat from home.

August 28, Camp 58.
Left camp early. Over a hilly barren country in sight of the river most of the time. Marched twenty-five miles. Camped in a ravine near the river on a small creek four miles from Fort Berthold. Very good grazing for stock.

August 29, Camp 58.
Stopped to rest stock. Good camp and grass. Many Indians from Fort and reservation came out and were all through the camp trading with the boys. The Colonel told the band boys to come out and play and soon as the instruments were brought the Indians run in every direction, as fast as they could on horses and foot. When the band began to play they came back on top of the hills and looked to see what it was and after the boys had played two or three pieces—some of them came back to camp, but not very close to the band. After much talk they came near, but were ready to run. Stood with horses head the way they wanted to go. They tell us that the Blackfoot Indians (that we fought) are not far from here and are starving—have only what they kill every day to live on.

August 30, Camp 59.
Struck camp at daybreak and marched at 6:00 to below Fort Berthold. Boats tied up near Fort. I was on duty today. Good feed for stock. Some of the boys went to the Fort and saw Byron and the wounded boys. An Indian rode into camp on an American horse and one of our boys said “There is the S—of a B—that killed my friend at Yellow Medicine. I’ll get him.” He ran for his gun in his tent and the Indian started for the Fort as fast as that horse could go and got among the soldiers on the road so there was no chance to shoot, but he did not come back to camp.

August 31, Camp 61.
Marched early down the river all day. Made about twenty-two miles. Camped on a small stream near the Missouri River. Very hot and sultry—very poor water.

September 1864

September 1, Camp 61.
Broke camp early—daybreak. Started north. Traveled all day without seeing water before dark. We could see large herds of Buffalo and we camped on creek. The boys killed 67 buffalo near our camp and others were killed by the 1st Brigade. It is reported that the Blackfoot Indians are watching us, but they keep out of sight of the boys—the scouts see them.

September 2, Camp 62.
Left camp at sunrise. Traveled northeast until about noon—then east until 3:00 p. m. Camped near two lakes—grass very poor. The health of the regiment is good. I am feeling well. We have all of the buffalo meat we can use. Expect to reach Fort Rice in a few days. Pleasant weather.

September 3, Camp 63.
Marched at sunrise. Traveled over a very pretty country and good land. Had a nice rain about 11:00. Buffalo can be seen in large herds in every direction, thousands of them together. Camped by three lakes. The buffalo grazing all around. Two of the lakes strong alkali—one fairly good water. Good grazing for our horses.

September 4, Camp 63.
Stopped over to let our horses rest and graze. They are very poor, but gaining. Plenty of buffalo in sight. The boys killed a number today. The meat is good and healthy. I can make a good meal on meat alone. I am very homesick sometimes. Have not heard from home in more than three months.

September 5, Camp 64.
Marched early—very cold and windy. Our Brigade in advance. Many buffalo in sight. Some tried to run through our Brigade and train. Companies were dismounted and fired by companies to turn the herds from our train. A calf tried to turn between the wheels and next team—one of our mule teams and was caught in the chains and held until the boys roped him and turned him loose from the chains and put him into a wagon. He would out kick a mule and when in camp would kick the boys who climbed on the wagon to see it. We reached Fort Rice and camped on the east side of the Missouri River. Our boys who were left here sick came over. I went over to the Fort with a lot of our boys on a pass at the settlers store we all weighed and I weighed 167 ½ pounds—the most I ever weighed. Got some ink so can write again. Wrote letters home. Byron and the other wounded boys came to the regiment from the boats. I never felt better than now. Three men from our regiment deserted—stealing all they could get away with besides horses, saddles, guns, etc., crossed the river and went down the Missouri River. One hundred men from our regiment sent out to relieve the Fifth Expedition and fight the Redskins off. We start for Minnesota from here-the 1st Brigade go down the river.

Saturday, September 14, Camp 71.
On September 5, the scouts reported that Ink-Pa-duta was a short distance north, so he left part of the command with the train—taking the best horses and made a quick march north to the Dog’s Den to try to surprise them, but only found the camp fires when they had been camped and followed their trail north to near the line of Canada and gave up the chase and went back to camp. Plenty of buffalo. Captain Paine and Major Rose got permission to stay in rear and kill some buffalo. Old Ink-Pa-Duta scouts were on the watch and after each officer had killed a buffalo they made a rush to get them, but did not surprise them and each of them did good work with their guns in a running fight. The command was out on the plains eight or ten miles ahead. Captain Dacy, Company H, was on rear guard—saw them taking some of his best horses and charged back and soon had the Reds on the run. Fifteen or twenty of them reached the train and started down the river again. Indians keep along trying to snipe some strangler, but were sly and so we did not loose any men. On this raid did not have time to do any writing in diary.

September 17, Camp 72.
Marched at day break—cold and windy—marched twenty-three miles. Did not find any water that we could use or let our horses drink. We cannot have anything to eat but hardtack—it is very cold tonight.

September 18, Camp 73.
Left camp early traveled about fifteen miles to a lake of strong salt water. Found some springs of good water—very cold and a cold west wind all day. It does not blow so hard tonight. Seems like winter. We suffer with cold every night.

September 19, Camp 74.
Left camp at daybreak. Started east over prairie. Traveled all day without water for ourselves or horses. Found some surface water tonight. The boys killed some buffalo today and we have all the meat we want.

September 20, Camp 75.
Left camp at daylight. We are rear guard. Marched about eight miles and camped where troops had camped before. Found some water in holes along a dry creek. Three of our men were buried here. One of our regiment. There is not water between here and the James River. It is quite cold. Byron is worse—think he has taken cold.

September 21, Camp 76.
Struck tents and marched at 4:00 a. m. passed over a very level plain. Marched about twenty miles—came to the James River—camped on the east side of it in a pleasant place. Here we find the first good water and all the wood we have found since we left Fort Rice.

September 22, Camp 77.
Left camp early—marched southeast about seventeen miles and camped on James River. It is very cold with a cold north wind blowing. Our men suffer as the old clothing we have worn since May are about worn out and some of the boys lost their overcoats and only have one blanket. Byron is sick. The scouts don’t know which way to go to find Fort Wadsworth.

September 23, Camp No. 78.
Left camp at 3:00 a. m. Marched about thirty-one miles. Camped on a small lake about dark. Cold and windy. Byron is sick. I am on guard tonight. We are nearly out of rations and don’t know when we shall reach the Fort.

September 24, Camp 79.
Left camp early. Cold this morning—not as cold as yesterday. Stormed a little this morning. Cleared off about noon. We came in sight of the hills and timber. Reached it and camped about 8:00 p. m. Orders to pitch tents and to stop over tomorrow and where we are if possible. Scouts looking for Fort Wadsworth.

September 25, Camp 79.
Very pleasant. Byron is feeling better. Pleasant and warmer, expect to march in the a. m. Have two days rations in the regiment commissary only. Fired some cannon and the fort answered about south from us. Scouts came in the night who were at the Fort—when we fired the cannon.

September 26, Camp 80.
Fort Wadsworth—struck tents at 3:00 a.m. Marched at daylight. We are rear guard. Marched south about 10:00 a.m.—crossed the hills and can see Fort. It is surrounded nearly by three lakes. Timber around the lakes. Some of our regiment will stay here for the winter, and relieve the Wisconsin Regiment, stationed here. Some Indians camped here to be fed by the U. S. Say they are good Indians. One chained to a rock in a tent says he is a bad Indian. One of the Company D’s boys was put on guard at his tent. The next a. m. at guard relief the red was dead. The relief officer said to the officer on guard, “this Indian is dead—no need of guard here. He has been shot.” The officer called the Sergeant of guard and said, “Do you know who shot that Indian?” He said “No, there was a shot on my relief.” “Who was on the beat?” He said “George.” The officer said “George did you shoot that Indian?” He replied “I was walking my beat at shoulder arms and got tired of carrying it that way and dropped it across my left arm and it was discharged. If that Indian was in the range it might have hit him—it hit several this summer.”

September 27, Camp 80.
Draw rations today and get our orders. I went to the fort. It is hardly more than a camp. They are putting up buildings. Part of our regiment will stay here—the others go to the frontier as out post guard. We learn our company will go to the frontier—four companies to stay here.

September 28, Camp 80.
The companies to stay moved into the Fort today. I with three of the boys preferred charges against Captain Nix for cowardice and conduct unbecoming an officer and incompetency. Some of the boys left here would like to go back to Minnesota.

September 29, Camp 81.
Struck tents at 4:00 a. m. Marched at day break. Orders to leave all of the sick and all who could not ride a horse. I had Byron get onto my horse and I walked to our company’s wagon and we put him into the wagon. There he can keep warm and get back home. He is in the dog tent with at night. We camped in a beautiful place on the banks of a lake. It is quite cold and windy. We marched twenty-four miles today.

September 30, Camp 82.
Struck tents at daybreak. Marched until about sunrise—when there was a heavy fog. Blew from the south and it looked very much like rain. It sprinkled some—we camped on a small creek about noon—having marched about fifteen miles. It is cloudy and threatens rain. Cold and windy.

October 1864

October 1, Camp 83.
Struck tents at daybreak. It is not so cloudy as it was yesterday. A little warmer—we marched about twenty-four miles—camped on Whetstone Creek. There is a little wood and good grass and water. The boys begin to think we are getting almost home.

October 2, Camp 84.
Struck tents at 4:00. Marched at daylight. I went on foot today. Was in advance of the train most of the day. Marched eighteen miles. Camped on Lacquapal River—nice stream of water with a little timber along its banks. Am some tired and a little sore and lame.

October 3, Camp 85.
Struck tents at 3:00 a.m. Marched as soon as we could see. I am on foot again today. About noon met a supply train going to Fort Wadsworth. Saw some of companys boys. Good news from south. Camped on Inka River.

October 4, Camp 86.
Struck tents at daylight. Very foggy this morning. Marched across the Inkpa River and camped at Camp Release a short distance below Camp McFail. There was news from the Fort tonight that we were to stay on the frontier.

October 5, Camp 87.
Struck tents at 3:00. Marched to Yellow Medicine. Camped on other day’s farm. A pleasant place and good farm. There is some good land along the Minnesota River, but it cannot be taken as homesteads at present.

October 6, Camp 88.
Struck tents at 3:00. Marched past the Agency and Wood Lake. Met a supply train going to Fort Wadsworth. Camped near old Camp Pope. Cold and cloudy—looks like rain. Sprinkled about dark.

October 7, Camp 89.
Struck tents at 4:00, marched at daylight. Passed out old camp and the Indian Village. Saw several farms that have been improved this summer. Saw Mr. Earl’s farm and the graves of twenty soldiers that were killed trying to cross the river. Camped on the river within eleven miles of Ridgely.

October 8, Camp 90.
Near Fort Ridgely—boys broke camp early as they felt that they were near home and would stay on frontier when in sight of the fort. We saw many buggies and wagons and people on horses coming out to meet us. They all looked white and boys said they looked like they had been sick. We were all tanned almost like an Indian. The sick and wounded boys were all sent to the hospital at the fort and we went into camp to wait for orders. After three or four days in camp we were ordered into quarters on the bank of the river below the Fort.

We have received the first letters we have had from home in over six months. My first letter from my father told of the loss of our baby. I did not keep a diary after this as I did not have time to write. After a week here during which time we voted for Lincoln for the second term as President our company was sent to the south line of out posts, but ordered back. The night we camped where the family of Mr. English was killed by Indians—all but a twelve year old boy and his little two year old sister. He found her after the reds had gone and carried her to St. Peter over thirty miles. Most of the way in the night and his father’s rifle that he was hunting with when the family were killed.


Additional Information by Elfie May “Fay” Carr
Bay City, Texas

Feeling that the family would like these historical facts from the pen of my father and grandfather and remember quite a few told to me by both of them at different times, I thought it might be well to add these notes to the diary and autobiography of my father and grandfather.

I do not know what year my Grandfather Kirkpatrick and his family moved to Minnesota, but it was there that my mother attended Hamlin University or Seminary. It was then a Methodist School. My father attended a school in St. Cloud. My mother and father studied piano with Mrs. Dunning who was a graduate of German schools. I am sure she was fine, for my father had such a good musical foundation and knowledge of harmony. Many times I have listened to him improvising just running through chords and scales and it was as beautiful as some of the works of the old masters. I am sure if he had not married as young, he would have gone far with his music, for his mother who was very ambitious had planned to send him away to study.

My father and mother rode horseback to their music lessons and my mother has often told me that daddy’s talent was one of his strongest attractions for her. A number of the relatives have told me that my mother was one of the most beautiful girls they ever saw.

My father was 19 the 24th of April and my father and mother were married the 6th of July. They were married 66 years when my mother passed away. My mother was 19 the 15th of July after they were married. Mother lost their first baby, a girl, while my father was away in the war; and my older brother Kirk was five months old before my Father saw him. Brother Will was born after the war.

Soon after the War several families of my mother’s people and my father, mother and two brothers moved to Arkansas. It was in the time of the “Carpet Bagger” and Daddy was offered such a job but did not take it as he saw the evil of it and how the southern people were treated by them. He was elected Justice of the Peace. The first Clan was organized there in defense of the southern peoples rights and my father was a member of it. I think it fulfilled its purpose. It was also needed to protect the people locally from the Quantrel[s] of Jessie James’ Younger Brothers’ gang. Some of their number borrowed a gun from Uncle Frank New, Grandmother Kirkpatrick’s brother, who was a M. E. Preacher. Some horses were stolen and the committee was suspicious that these men who borrowed the gun from Uncle Frank were the ones who stole the horse and were members of the Quantrel Gang; so the committee were after them so close that they took refuge in a school building. They told the committee that if they would send for Parson New they would surrender to him. So they went for Uncle Frank. He went up to the window and talked to them, and told that that he would see that they got justice. He had thought they were allright but he did not like the way they talked and decided they were guilty and turned to leave and said to the committee, “If I were you boys, I would take them out of there.” They shot him in the back with his own gun and he died in a few minutes. His daughter lived near with her family and she reached him in a few moments before he died. I remember she said “Father, receive his spirit.” They broke out of the building. Some of them were wounded and some killed that night. Mother said one of the wounded went to her sister’s house whose husband was a doctor and asked for a drink and some water and he had another one of the gang who was with him pour it down his back.

Bert was born in Arkansas and just before Charlie was born mother and daddy and their three boys moved to Missouri. After having been there something like two years they moved to Iowa where Frank was born. Then they moved back to Missouri (Burlington). Daddy was successful there—at one time he was City Clerk and American Express Agent. Then he went into business and was very successful—implements and hardware. However, a cyclone damaged the business to the amount of fifteen hundred dollars at one time. Then daddy failed to have the work LTD. or Limited in the partnership, as he was in partnership with a man by the name of Logan who was very much of a crook, and the law was in Mo. that unless you had the word Limited one partner could sell or mortgage the whole business and there was nothing could be done about it. This happened when mother was expecting her last baby and the worry killed the baby—it was born dead. Les was about six years old when this happened and the baby and I were the closest of any of mother’s children. Daddy and mother had a nice home but he was never strong after the Indian war as he had to drink alkali water during the Indian war and it seemed to have affected his stomach so much that he never recovered from it. However, he learned to diet and was stronger as he grew older. They use to tell mother she would be a young widow but she was the first to go by a year and three months.

They moved from Mo. to Neb. where mother’s brother lived but only staid there a year and then moved to Lake Charles, La. Soon after reaching Lake Charles daddy was employed by the Kansas City and Gulf Railroad to buy right of way for the railroad. He bought the right of way from Lake Charles to Alexandria. He received ninety dollars a month and expenses, which was a large salary at that time. He bought a rice farm twenty miles from Lake Charles and also had a nice home in town. Mother was not very well and I do not believe she ever liked La. very much. After four years we came to Texas.


When daddy and Mr. Harris volunteered to go out and bring in the families, the report went back to my grandfather that my daddy was killed and he came to where mother was to preach my father’s funeral sermon. Mother always said she never saw daddy afraid of anything in his life. Mother moulded bullets to help fight the Indians.

Grandfather Kirkpatrick was also an Indian war veteran. He was in the Blackhawk war. It lasted only a short while. He received a section of land for being in the war.

I forgot to say daddy fought the Sioux and Fox tribes of Indians.


Copyright 2012 - Present by Carr Family
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Jul. 2, 2012
Jul. 2, 2012