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chaplain has besides a perquisite of eighteen dollars. 38

Not until 1864, and then only after furious debate in the army, in
the press and in congress, did Negro soldiers finally get what
amounted to equal pay for equal work. 39

Fear that Negro soldiers would not know how to handle money
was fairly general. Accordingly, Colonel Williams prepared an un-
usual general order on the occasion of the First Kansas Colored's first
pay day:

The Colonel commanding desires to offer a few suggestions to the enlisted
men of the command upon the importance of husbanding the proceeds of your
labor, which you are about to receive from the Government. You are just
relieved from servile bondage, and have had but few opportunities for learning
the importance of saving carefully the proceeds of your toil.

Heretofore that has all gone to an unscrupulous Master who has with it
fastened still more strongly the Irons with which he held you; every dollar
gained by your labor was but another link in the iron chain.

Now the whole condition of your existence is changed.

A wise and just government has decreed that hereafter you shall be free,
and shall yourselves enjoy the fruit of your labor.

This boon which is freely given must not be allowed to forge your ruin.
You have been brought up to habits of industry and frugality, and if you depart
in the least from either of these habits, it sooner or later will have the effect
to destroy your whole prosperity as individuals and measureably effect your
condition as a people. I therefore urgently advise you to carefully save the
money, which is about to be paid you, for the support of your families; and,
as a foundation upon which to build a home for your wives and children, your
families and friends.

To this end, I advise you, to make a deposit of such funds as you do not
need, in some safe hands for transmission to your families, or safekeeping for
yourselves. 40

38. The Chicago Tribune, May 1, 1864.

39. See Cornish, "Negro Troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865" (unpublished doc-
toral dissertation, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1949), pp. 361-374, passim, for a survey
of the Negro pay problem.

40. "Regimental Letter and Order Book," 79th (New) U. S. Colored troops, General
Order No. 5, July 12, 1863, paragraph 1.


That the colonel's advice was followed is indicated by this news-
paper comment of a few weeks later: "The soldiers of the First
Colored send up with the Paymaster about $12,000 of their pay for
their families at Lawrence and Leavenworth. Bully for the First
Nigger. That regiment cannot be beat/' 41

The first important field duty for the First Kansas Colored came
when the regiment moved south from Fort Scott to the Baxter
Springs outpost guarding the military road to Fort Gibson in Indian
territory. While stationed at Baxter Springs, Colonel Williams' men
began to build up their battle record and their casualty list. On
May 18, 1863, a foraging party of 40 or 50 white and colored troops
suffered a surprise attack from guerrillas under the notorious Maj.
T. R. Livingston. 42 The Negro regiment lost 20 men killed in action,
and several were taken prisoner. One of these prisoners was after-
wards murdered by Livingston's men. 43 In retaliation, Williams
ordered one of his Confederate prisoners shot. 44

Toward the end of June the regiment moved farther south as part
of the escort of a wagon train for Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation. 45
This expedition provided further opportunity for the Negro soldiers
to show their fighting ability. At Cabin Creek the train was attacked
by a large force of Texans and Indians, and after skirmishing, the
rebels took up strong positions on the south bank of the creek.
The next morning the Union forces attacked and in two hours'
fighting drove the enemy with substantial losses from his position. 46
This engagement seems to have been the first in the Civil War in
which white and colored Union soldiers fought side by side, and it is
recorded that the white officers and men "allowed no prejudice on
account of color to interfere in the discharge of their duty in the
face of an enemy alike to both races." 47

41. Leavenworth Daily Conservative, September 1, 1863.

42. Wiley Britton, The Civil War on the Border, v. 2, p. 78. Official Records, Series 1,
v. 22, Ft. 1, p. 322. The action took place near Sherwood, Mo.

43. See "Regimental Letter and Order Book," 79th (New) U. S. Colored troops, for
correspondence between Williams and Livingston, May 20-23, 1863. Williams made his
position clear on the matter of the treatment of any of his men taken prisoner: ". . . it
rests with you [he wrote Livingston] to treat them as prisoners of war or not, but be
assured that I will keep a like number of your men as prisoners untill [sic] these colored men
are accounted for. And you can safely trust that I shall visit a retributive justice upon
them for any injury done them at the hands of confederate forces. . . ." Williams to
Livingston, May 21, 1863.

44. Kansas Regiments, p. 410.

45. Official Records, Series 1, v. 22, Ft. 1, pp. 379, 380. Lt. Col. Theodore H.
Dodd, 2d Colorado infantry, commanded the escort which included, besides the Negro
regiment, six companies of the 2d Colorado, cavalry companies from the 9th and 14th
Kansas regiments, a section of the 2d Kansas battery, and 600 members of the 3d Indian
Home Guards sent up from Fort Gibson to meet the train.

46. Ibid., pp. 380, 381. The battle plan followed was drawn up by Colonel Williams
as senior officer in the escort. The engagement took place on July 2, 1863.

47. Kansas Regiments, pp. 411, 412.


It was at Honey Springs, slightly over two weeks later, that the
First Kansas Colored established its military reputation. After an
all-night march, Union troops under command of Maj. Gen. James
G. Blunt came upon a strong rebel force under Gen. Douglas Cooper
and after a "sharp and bloody engagement of two hours' duration"
forced Cooper's command to flee the field. 48 During the fight the
Negro regiment, which held the Union center, moved up under
fire to within 50 paces of the Confederate line and there, still under
fire, halted and exchanged volley fire for some 20 minutes before
the rebels broke and ran. 49 The Kansas Negroes captured the colors
of a Texas regiment, but the Second Indian regiment seems to have
taken possession of the trophy after the shooting was ended. 50

This was the most important battle in the regiment's entire his-
tory: it set to rest a great deal of criticism of the use of Negroes as
soldiers. Wrote General Blunt of Honey Springs:

. . . I never saw such fighting done as was done by the negro regiment.
They fought like veterans, with a coolness and valor that is unsurpassed. They
preserved their line perfect throughout the whole engagement and, although
in the hottest of the fight, they never once faltered. Too much praise can not
be awarded them for their gallantry.

The question that negroes will fight is settled; besides they make better
soldiers in every respect than any troops I have ever had under my com-
mand. 51

An officer of the Third Wisconsin cavalry at Honey Springs, an
Irish Democrat, had this to say after the fight: "I never believed
in niggers before, but by Jasus, they are hell for fighting." 52

Recruiting for the Second Kansas Colored Volunteers began under
good auspices in June, 1863, and by the middle of October ten com-
panies were full, officered by battle-hardened enlisted men from
various white regiments. 53 Samuel J. Crawford, afterward governor
of Kansas, was appointed colonel of this new regiment, and he
played a vital role in making it what the Kansas historian William

48. Ibid., p. 412. For detailed reports of this action, see Official Records, Series 1,
v. 22, Pt. 1, pp. 447-462. Some light is thrown on the reasons for Confederate defeat by
Charles R. Freeman, "The Battle of Honey Springs," Chronicles of Oklahoma, Oklahoma
City, v. 13 (June, 1935), pp. 154-168.

49. Official Records, Series 1, v. 22, Pt. 1, pp. 449, 450. Williams was severely
wounded just as his regiment moved into close action, and Lt. Col. John Bowles assumed
command. For an eye-witness account of the action, see the Van Horn Ms., Kansas State
Historical Society, Topeka; Van Horn commanded Company I of the 1st Colored at Honey

50. Ibid., p. 450. Losses were reported as follows: Confederate 150 killed, 400
wounded, 77 prisoners; Union 13 killed, 62 wounded. The 1st Colored suffered two men
killed in action and 30 wounded. Ibid., pp. 448-450.

51. Cincinnati Daily Commercial, August 12, 1863, quoting letter from Blunt, dated

52. Leavenworth Daily Conservative, July 17, 1863.

53. Kansas Regiments, pp. 424-426.


E. Connelley has called "a famous regiment." 54 Crawford was not
the Abolitionist Colonel Williams was; he accepted the colonelcy of
this Negro infantry regiment with great reluctance, 55 but he brought
to his new command a wealth of intelligence and practical military

Under Crawford the Second Kansas Colored was molded into
an efficient fighting unit. He insisted on competent, hard-working
officers and required that they "make good in drill, discipline, and
military appearance, or hand in their resignations." 56 After assem-
bling by companies at Fort Scott, the regiment began its military
career as part of the escort for a supply train to Fort Smith, Ark.
Near Fort Smith the men completed their training under the de-
manding Crawford. 57 Colonel Williams' First Colored was sta-
tioned at Fort Smith during part of October and November of
1863; 58 this regiment moved in December to Roseville, Ark., about
50 miles east of Fort Smith, and there went into winter quarters. 59

In the spring of 1864, both Negro regiments moved south as part
of the Frontier division under Brig. Gen. John M. Thayer in the
Camden (or Steele) expedition designed to cooperate with the ill-
starred Banks expedition up the Red river in Louisiana. 60 This
Camden expedition, under command of General Frederick Steele,
provided both Kansas Negro regiments with heavy field duty. The
First Kansas Colored suffered its greatest losses of the war in the
engagement at Poison Springs near Camden on April 18, 1864 117
dead and 65 wounded when a large foraging party of white and
colored troops under Colonel Williams was cut off and cut up by
Confederates of Cabell's, Maxey's, and Marmaduke's commands. 61

54. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, 4 vols. (New York, 1918), v. 2, p. 898.

55. Samuel J. Crawford, Kansas in the Sixties (Chicago, 1911), p. 102. Crawford
had served in the 2d Kansas cavalry and was not enthusiastic at the thought of leading
infantry; further, he preferred a white organization and did not desire the "months of tedious,
hard work, drilling and preparing the regiment for field service."

56. Ibid., p. 107. "As a result . . .," Crawford recorded, "we soon had a
number of vacancies."

57. Kansas Regiments, pp. 426, 427. ". . . the regiment attained a degree of
proficiency second to none in the Army of the Frontier."

58. "Regimental Letter and Order Book," 79th (New) U. S. Colored troops; the
regiment was ordered to Fort Smith on September 14, 1863. While at Fort Smith, Wil-
liams used a period of relative freedom from field duty to rebuild his campaign-worn or-
ganization; see drill schedule instituted October 25, 1863.

59. Ibid., December 11, 12, 1863. The regiment was ordered to seize and occupy
Roseville, collect cotton and other stores in the vicinity, and wage constant war against
guerrilla bands in the neighborhood.

60. For reports covering the Camden Expedition, see Official Records, Series 1, v. 34,
Pt. 1, pp. 653-850, passim.

61. Ibid., pp. 743-757. Williams' force of 875 infantry and 285 cavalry included
some 500 members of the 1st Kansas Colored; total white Union losses were reported as
87 killed, 32 wounded, ibid., p. 746. Brig. Gen. W. L. Cabell, C. S. A., estimated the
Union forces at 1,500 Negroes and 1,000 whites and reported 450 Negroes and 30 whites
killed in action with four Negro and 58 white prisoners taken, ibid., p. 792. Cabell's
figures for Negro dead and prisoners seem utterly disproportionate to white Union losses.


The engagement was referred to by contemporaries as a massacre,
and there is considerable evidence that on this occasion Confeder-
ates did murder many Negro soldiers. 62 Crawford's Second Kansas
Colored reacted to the Poison Springs affair by resolving to take no
rebel prisoners in the future. 63

Since General Steele's supplies were practically exhausted and his
forces inadequate for the task of holding off the combined Confeder-
ate armies of Sterling Price and Kirby Smith, Steele decided "to fall
back at once." 64 Meanwhile, Gen. Nathaniel Banks had met with
disaster on the Red river near Shreveport, and on April 26 the
Steele expedition began its withdrawal from Camden. 65

On April 30, Crawford's command found occasion at Jenkins
Ferry on the Sabine river to fight their most distinguished action.
The Second Kansas Colored relieved the 50th Indiana which had
expended most of its ammunition in a hotly contested rear-guard
action. After fighting for two hours without gaining any advantage,
the Kansas Negroes found themselves under fire from a rebel bat-
tery of three guns. Crawford asked for and got permission to
charge this battery with the result that it was quickly overrun by
his troops shouting "Remember Poison Spring!" Rebel casualties
were high about 150 killed or mortally wounded; the Second Kan-
sas Colored lost 15 men killed, and 55 were wounded. 66

The Camden expedition was a costly Union failure, and the
Kansas Negro regiments suffered heavily as a result of their heroic
part in it; the First was greatly reduced by casualties, and the
Second brought back only its weapons and what the men wore on
their backs. But the war went on, and there was no rest for either
the First or Second. Early in May, 1864, Colonel Williams as-
sumed command of the Second brigade, Frontier division, a brigade
made up entirely of Negro regiments. 67 Besides the Kansas regi-

62. Williams flatly stated that "Many wounded men belonging to the 1st Kansas
Colored Volunteers fell into the hands of the enemy, and I have the most positive assurances
from eye-witnesses that they were murdered on the spot." Kansas Regiments, p. 420.
Crawford, too, was convinced that many Negro soldiers were "murdered on the field."
Kansas in the Sixties, p. 117. Wiley Britton has left a gory picture of Confederates stalking
Negro wounded. The Civil War on the Border, v. 2, pp. 290, 291. A clue to the attitude

or commands could restrain the men from vengeance on the negroes, and they were piled
in great heaps about the wagons, in the tangled brushwood, and upon the muddy and
trampled road." Shelby and His Men; or, The War in the West (Cincinnati, 1867) pp.
279, 280. No Kansas Negro troops were engaged at Mark's Mill.

63. Kansas in the Sixties, p. 117.

64. Official Records, Series 1, v. 34, Pt. 1, p. 668.

65. Ibid., p. 669.

66. Ibid., pp. 697-699. See also, Crawford, Kansas in the Sixties, pp. 119-124, and
Kansas Regiments, pp. 428-430.

67. "Regimental Letter and Order Book," 79th (New) U. S. Colored troops, May 7,


ments, Williams' colored brigade included the llth U. S. Colored
troops, commanded by Lt. Col. James M. Steele, formerly of the
12th Kansas infantry, and the 54th U. S. Colored troops. 68 As mem-
bers of this brigade and as individual organizations, the two Kan-
sas Negro regiments saw their full share of onerous duty from the
spring of 1864 until their final muster-out in October, 1865. They
moved from Little Rock to Fort Smith and back, escorting supply
and refugee trains; they pursued guerrilla bands and occasionally
had the pleasure of hitting them hard and effectively; they went out
on foraging and other fatigue parties; they did garrison duty at Fort
Smith and Pine Bluff. They were worn down by constant work,
by occasional battle casualties, and by disease. 69

The record of these Negro regiments is a commendable one.
They overcame initial prejudice and strong opposition to their mili-
tary employment. Their soldierly performance of difficult and
dangerous duty won the respect and even the admiration of their
white comrades in arms. Their losses were high: 177 men were
killed in action, 26 died of wounds, disease took over 350 more.
The First Kansas Colored lost 156 men killed in action, the highest
number of battle casualties of any Kansas regiment, white or col-
ored. 70 The desertion rate for Kansas Negro soldiers was a com-
paratively good one: 62.201 per thousand. The rate for all Kansas
troops was an unusually high 117.54 per thousand, while that for all
loyal states was 62.51 per thousand. 71

Col. C. K. Holliday, Kansas adjutant general, expressed an ac-
curate judgment of the performance of these Negro soldiers in De-
cember, 1864, when he wrote:

Though suffering severe losses, and fighting at great disadvantage, owing
to the merciless treatment they were sure to receive if taken as prisoners of
war, yet they faltered not, but with a steadiness and a gallantry worth [y] of
themselves and the cause, have earned an honorable reputation among the
defenders of the Union. 72

68. Kansas Regiments, p. 431.

69. Ibid., pp. 422, 423, 432-435.

70. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas . . . 1861-1865, 2 vols.
(Leavenworth, 1867), v. 1, table facing p. XLVIII.

71. Official Records, Series 3, v. 5, pp. 668, 669.

72. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, for the Year 1864 (Leaven-
worth, 1865), p. 696.

Recent Additions to the Library

Compiled by HELEN M. MCFARLAND, Librarian

IN ORDER that members of the Kansas State Historical Society
and others interested in historical study may know the class of
books we are receiving, a list is printed annually of the books ac-
cessioned in our specialized fields.

These books come to us from three sources, purchase, gift and
exchange, and fall into the following classes: Books by Kansans
and about Kansas; books on the West, including explorations, over-
land journeys and personal narratives; genealogy and local history;
and books on the Indians of North America, United States history,
biography and allied subjects which are classified as general. The
out-of-state city directories received by the Historical Society are
not included in this compilation.

We also receive regularly the publications of many historical so-
cieties by exchange, and subscribe to other historical and genea-
logical publications which are needed in reference work.

The following is a partial list of books which were added to the
library from October 1, 1951, to September 30, 1952. Federal and
state official publications and some books of a general nature are
not included. The total number of books accessioned appears
in the report of the secretary in the February issue of the Quarterly.


Addresses and Other Items of Interest Connected With the Seventy-Fifth Anni-
versary Services of the Swiss Mennonites Held on September 5, 1949. No
impr. 67p.

ALLEN, J. MORDECAI, The Roman Soldier. [Chicago, Harry O. Abbott, c!951.]

BAKER, NINA (BROWN), Cyclone in Calico; the Story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke.
Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1952. 278p.

BRISTOW, JOHN T., Memory's Storehouse Unlocked, True Stones: Pioneer Days
in Wetmore and Northeast Kansas. Wetmore, n. p., 1948. 411p.

BRISTOW, JOSEPH L., Fraud and Politics at the Turn of the Century; McKinley
and His Administration as Seen by His Principal Patronage Dispenser and
Investigator. New York, The Exposition Press [c!952]. 126p.

BRUMWELL, MALCOLM J., An Ecological Survey of the Fort Leavenworth Mili-
tary Reservation. (Reprinted from The American Midland Naturalist Vol
45, No. 1, January, 1951.) [44]p.

CAMP, C. ROLLIN, comp. and ed., First Annual Directory of Fort Scott, for 1875
. . . Fort Scott, Monitor Steam Publishing House, 1875. 127p.



COGGINS, CAROLYN, Successful Entertaining at Home: a Complete Guide for
Informal Entertaining. New York, Prentice-Hall [c!952]. 383p.

Impr. varies. 8 Vols.

neer Stories of Meade County. [Marceline, Mo., Walsworth Brothers] 1950.

[CROOKS, MRS. CHARLES H.], A Tribute to a Gallant Soldier of the Cross, Doctor
Charles H. Crooks, Medical Missionary to Siam, 1904-1940. No impr. 22p.

DASHER, ALLEN, After 45, Candid Observations on Middle Age. New York,
The Exposition Press [c!952]. 141p.

Inscriptions, Lyon County, Kansas. No impr. Typed. 10 Vols.

the Fifty-Fourth Annual State Conference, March 6, 7, and 8, 1952, Hutch-
inson, Kansas. No impr. 187p.

DAVIS, KENNETH SYDNEY, Morning in Kansas. Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday
and Company, Inc., 1952. 382p.

DISASTER CORPS, INC., KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, Blueprint for Disaster; Kansas
City's "Black Friday" Flood, 1951, With the Story of the Fighting Men of
Disaster Corps, Inc. [Kansas City, Mo.] n. p. [c!951]. [41 ]p.

DUNCAN, KUNIGUNDE, Kentish Fire. Boston, Bruce Humphries, Inc. [c!951].

EATON, FRANK, Pistol Pete, Veteran of the Old West. Boston, Little, Brown
and Company, 1952. 278p.

EBRIGHT, HOMER KINGSLEY, The History of Baker University. Baldwin, n. p.,
1951. 356p.

ECKLEY, ROBERT S., and JACK CHERNICK, The Economy of Southwestern Kan-
sas, a Preliminary Statement. Lawrence, University of Kansas, School of
Business, 1951. 80p. (Economic Development in Southwestern Kansas,
Pt. 1.)

FIELD, RUDOLPH, Mister American (Dwight David Eisenhower) an Evaluation.
New York, Rudolph Field Company [c!952]. 132p.

FLETCHER, SYDNEY E., The Cowboy and His Horse. New York, Grosset and
Dunlap [c!951]. 159p.

FOREMAN, W. JAMES, and ROBERT S. ECKLEY, Agriculture. Lawrence, Kansas
University, School of Business, 1951. 202p. (Economic Development in
Southwestern Kansas, Pt. 5.)

GILMORE, JULIA, Come North! the Life-Story of Mother Xavier Ross, Foundress
of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. New York, McMullen Books, Inc.,
1951. 310p.

GRAVES, WILLIAM WHITES, History of Neosho County, Vol. 2. St. Paul, Jour-
nal Press, 1951. [597]p.

GREENOUGH, CHARLES PELHAM, III, The Graphic Works of Birger Sandzen
. . . [Manhattan, The Kansas Magazine, c!952.] Unpaged.


GUNN, OTIS BERTHOUDE, New Map and Hand-Book of Kansas and the Gold

Mines . . . Pittsburgh, Pa., W. S. Haven, 1859. 71p. (Mumey Re-
print, 1952.)
GUNTHER, JOHN, Eisenhower, the Man and the Symbol. New York, Harper

and Brothers [1952]. 180p.
HALEY, JAMES EVETTS, The Heraldry of the Range; Some Southwestern Brands.

Canyon, Tex., Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1949. 35p.
HATCH, ALDEN, General Ike, a Biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Revised

and Enlarged Edition. New York, Henry Holt and Company [c!952]. 320p.
HIBBARD, CLAUDE W., A New Mastodon, Serridentinus Meadensis, From the

Middle Pliocene of Kansas. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1951.

[8]p. (Contributions From the Museum of Paleontology, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp.

, Vertebrate Fossils From the Pleistocene Stump Arroyo Member, Meade

County, Kansas. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1951. [18]p.

Contributions From the Museum of Paleontology, Vol. 9, No. 7, pp. 227-245. )
HICKS, WILSON, ed., This Is Ike, the Picture Story of the Man. New York,

Henry Holt and Company [c!952]. Unpaged.
HINSHAW, DAVID, Rufus Jones, Master Quaker. New York, G. P. Putnam's

Sons [c!951]. 306p.
HOAD, WILLIAM C., Some Episodes in the Early History of the Santa Fe

Railroad, a Paper Read at a Meeting of the Dunworkin Club, 26 November

'51. No impr. Typed. 33p.

HOWES, CHARLES C., This Place Called Kansas. Norman, University of Okla-
homa Press [c!952]. 236p.
HUGHES, LANGSTON, Laughing to Keep From Crying. New York, Henry Holt

and Company [c!952]. 206p.
["Ike" Eisenhower: His Life Story in Pictures.] [New York, Mens Publications,

Inc., c!952.] 50p.

KANSAS AUTHORS CLUB, 1952 Yearbook. N. p., 1952. 128p.

1952 . . . Hutchinson, Association, 1952. 272p.

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 50 of 76)