« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Captain B. L. E. Booneville was granted a leave of absence from the regular army, (being then Captain of the 7th Infantry), from August 3, 1831, to October, 1833, for the purpose of exploration. He left Fort Osage on the Missouri May 1, 1832, with 110 men, most of whom bad been in the Indian country, and many being experienced hunters and trappers. He also took with him some Delaware Indians. He reached the main stream of the Nebraska or Platte river about twenty-five miles below the head of Great (Grand) Island, June 2, 1832. . He measured the width of the river at this point and found it 2200 yards from bank to bank.
Its depth was, at that time, from 3 to 6 feet, and was full of quick sand, Cottonwoods were growing on the numerous islands. On the 11th of the same month, they came to the forks of the Nebraska and resolved to follow the north branch. He states that a few days after this date he ascended a high bluff, and “as far as his eye could reach, the country seemed absolutely blackened by innumerable herds." No language, he says, could convey an adequate idea of the vast living mass thus presented to the eye. His expedition then followed the north fork of the Platte, passed beyond the present boundaries of the state. I have seen no record of it, except the work of Washington Irving He lived to perform duty in his later days, during the Civil War, and I found his name as mustering officer of Nebraska troops, upon papers now on file in the Adjutant General's office of the state.
If he made any official report of his expedition, which has been published by the war department, I have not been able to find it.
The official report of Col. Dodge's expedition, mentioned in the paper, may be found in Am. State Papers, “Military Affairs," Vol. 6, Page 130.
Since the last meeting of the “Historical Society," I have, under the authority of Governor Thayer and Adjutant General Cole, been at work assorting, collecting and filing, so as to be accessible, papers relating to the service of the Nebraska troops in the late war. I have discovered many valuable papers, and have so numbered and filed them, that I believe information can hereafter be obtained with comparatively little trouble.
Company histories and records have been found, but many of the original papers are not on file. ful study of each man's record has, however, been made from the
material on hand and a book showing the principal points of the military history of each officer and soldier, is now being prepared for the Adjutant General's office.
This contains a "Record of Nebraska Volunteers from 1861 to 1869, including therefore, in the later dates troops called into the service of the state only.
The following are the organizations included in it:
Companies A, B, C, First Regiment, Second Brigade, Nebraska Militia.
"Artillery Detachment” Nebraska Militia.
This book will also show what records are on file, with each organization. In the absence of any fund available for printing of this record of service, this seems to be the best that can be done to preserve these papers from loss and ensure their safety for future use. I am, yours very truly,
EDGAR S. DUDLEY, First Lieut. 2nd U. S. Art'y.
FORT BARRANCAS, WARRINGTON, FLORIDA, Feb. 2, 1889. Prof. GEO. E. Howard,
Secretary Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Neb. DEAR PROF:-I wrote you a few days ago asking for a copy of the third volume of your proceedings. Soon after, I noticed, that you were just holding your annual meeting so that it will be some time before it is published.
I want to say that the “Roster of Nebraska Volunteers,” upon which I was at work for a long time in the Adjutant General's office has, since my departure from the state, been published and it will be a valuable addition to your library. I noticed some typographical is wrong
errors in it, but have as yet discovered nothing very important, that
You remember probably, the condition in which the records of this office were in, when I started on this work. The papers accumulated for years were unassorted, except that a few of those of the two or three years prior to that time, were in packages by themselves, but the great mass of papers were “all in a heap.” I have tried to fix it so that hereafter, those important records, still on hand, shall not be lost, by putting them together in packages, numbering the package and making a list of them under the head where they most appropriately belong.
You will see an example of it on the first printed page (page 3) beginning the record. An examination of that list, and following ones, will show you what there is now in existence, from which to draw the History of the First Nebraska Volunteers.
I regret very muoh that I was unable to write up the history of this regiment, and in fact to continue the “Notes on the Military History of Nebraska,” from the point where I left off in your last proceedings. But the amount of work to do, even what I did do, is inconceivable to any one who has not tried it. The note which appears printed as “preface," indicates something of what I tried to do.
Another thing I think ought to be mentioned. A large number of desertions are reported-not from the front fucing the enemy, but from western Nebraska,—and chiefly of men who enlisted in the 1st Battalion Nebraska Veteran Volunteers. This Batallion instead of being sent to the front was consolidated with the 1st Regiment and put on duty “on the plains.” It is evident that this was not what the men who enlisted in it expected, for dissatisfaction appears from the number of desertions which followed. They all, it is to be presumed (and in original records it is shown for many, that they were veterans), had seen prior service and received honorable discharge, so that it must have been a strong cause for dissatisfaction, that would induce them to desert. I infer that it is due to the fact that they felt that the spirit of their contract had not been lived up to, that they had expected to go to the front, and the change of destination, and the placing them under new officers not chosen by them, caused by the consolidation, created the feeling, which led to numerous desertions. Again it was in the closing days of the war when the 1st
Battalion was raised and after its close that the desertions took place—the consolidation taking place July 10, 1865, so that, as they saw or heard of other volunteers going home for discharge, they undoubtedly thought their own service ought to terminate and conceived the idea, perhaps, that they were not being treated rightly, in being kept in service on the plains in Indian warfare.
One un-explained case occurs, where a bugler, Chas. Slater, Co."A" 1st Regiment, whose term of service expired June 26, 1865, was retained in service until Jan. 15, 1866, when he “discharged himself,”
" unlawfully of course by « desertion.”
All these circumstances of course constitute no excuse for the crime of desertion. But I felt, that it is due these men, many whom had previously good war records, and to the regiment, that I should state the impressions made upon me by the examination of these records. So that should you review the book, or others write the history of the regiment, the circumstances might be known.
Some day, if other and better hands do not undertake it, I hope to be so situated as to complete the work I have begun, and write what can now be ascertained concerning Nebraska's part in preserving the Union during the late war of the rebellion. With kindest regards to all, I remain,
EDGAR S. DUDLEY,
1st Lieut. 2nd Artillery. P. S.-If
desire to do so I shall have no objection to your publishing what I say about the records, of deserters, etc.