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ON5245

Original U.S. Army Indian Wars 4th Cavalry Chasseur Pattern Kepi

Regular price $995.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This wonderful totally genuine United States Army 4th Cavalry kepi used circa the Indian Wars. This U.S. Army Model 1875 Chasseur Pattern Kepi features fabric of dark blue wool broadcloth. The crown stands 3" high at the front, 5.5 at the rear seam and the top is 4 3/4 in diameter, stiffened with a pasteboard beneath the lining. The body of the cap meets a band of wool seamed only at the back and stiffened with leather. The cap's interior is lined with black cotton. The leather sweatband is 1 3/8" wide.

The flat visor is original to the hat, and composed of black patent leather. It is edged with oilcloth that is stitched in place. The kepi has a brass number 4 insignia and crossed swords badge at front center, a braided gold strap with what appear to be NOS replacement eagle buttons.

The 4th was one of the most well known Cavalry regiments during the frontier phase of the United States. It was led for a dozen years by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie, whose first of many orders of business was to quell Comanche and Kiowa activity. W. B. Royall assumed command from the Captain Mackenzie in 1882 and a few years later the 4th Cavalry took part in the capture of Geronimo.

In August 1865, the 4th Cavalry was sent to Texas. At various times during the next thirteen years, units from its twelve companies occupied military posts between the Rio Grande and Jacksboro, and between San Antonio and San Angelo. {See Fifth Military District for reports of the 4th Cavalry in Texas between 1867-1869}. Before 1871, the operations of the regiment were limited to guarding the mail and settlements against Indians and to desultory attempts to overtake bands of Indian raiders. The regiment's commander during this period, Col. Lawrence Pike Graham, never had to lead a major campaign, and none of the regiment's fourteen skirmishes with Indians was of major significance.

However, in December 1870, Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie was assigned command of the 4th Cavalry, with orders to put a stop to Comanche and Kiowa raids along the Texas frontier. On 25 February 1871, Mackenzie took command of the 4th Cavalry at Fort Concho. A month later, he moved the headquarters of the regiment to Fort Richardson, near Jacksboro; some companies of the 4th remained at Fort Griffin and Fort Concho. In May, while General William T. Sherman, then the commanding general of the army, was at Fort Richardson, the Kiowas brutally mutilated some teamsters from a wagon train on nearby Salt Creek Prairie (see Warren Wagon Train Raid). A few days later at Fort Sill, Sherman had three leaders of the raid, Satanta (White Bear), Satank (Sitting Bear), and Addo-etta (Big Tree), arrested and had Mackenzie return them to Jacksboro to stand trial for murder. On the way, an enlisted trooper killed Satank when he tried to escape; White Bear and Big Tree were later sentenced to life imprisonment.

In August 1871, Mackenzie led an expedition into Indian Territory against the Comanches and Kiowas who had left the agency, but he was later ordered to return to Texas. He then led eight companies of the 4th Cavalry and two companies of the 11th U.S Infantry, about 600 men, in search of Quahadi Comanches, who had refused to go onto the reservation and were plundering the Texas frontier. On 10 October, he skirmished with a group of them in Blanco Canyon, near the site of present Crosbyton, but the entire band escaped across the plains.

The following summer, Mackenzie, with six companies of the 4th Cavalry, renewed his search for the Quahadis. After establishing his supply camp on the Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River (now the White River) southeast of present Crosbyton, Mackenzie with five companies of cavalry followed a cattle trail across the unexplored High Plains into the New Mexico Territory and returned by another well-watered Comanchero road from Fort Bascom, near the site of present Tucumcari, New Mexico, to the site of present Canyon. At the head of 222 cavalrymen on 29 September, he surprised and destroyed Chief Mow-way's village of Quahadi and Kotsoteka Comanches on the North Fork of the Red River about six miles (10 km) east of the site of present-day Lefors, Texas. An estimated 52 Indians were killed and 124 captured, with a loss of 3 cavalrymen killed and 3 wounded. For almost a year, both the Kiowas and Comanches remained at peace.

In March 1873, Mackenzie and five companies (A, B, C, E, and K) of the 4th Cavalry were transferred to Fort Clark with orders to put an end to the Mexican-based Kickapoo and Apache depredations in Texas, which had cost an alleged $48 million. On 18 May 1873, Mackenzie, with five companies of the 4th Cavalry, crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico; they then surprised and burned three villages of the raiders near Remolino, Coahuila; the cavalrymen killed nineteen Indians and captured forty-one, with a loss of one trooper killed and two wounded. The soldiers recrossed the Rio Grande into Texas at daybreak the next morning, with some of the men having ridden an estimated 160 miles (260 km) in 49 hours. The raid and an effective system of border patrols brought temporary peace to the area. The John Wayne movie Rio Grande (part of John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy) is loosely based on this incident.

When the Southern Plains Indians opened the Red River War in June 1874, the Grant administration discarded its Quaker peace policy and authorized the military to take control of the reservations and subdue all hostile Indians. General Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Division of the Missouri, ordered five military expeditions to converge on their hideouts along the upper Red River country. In the ensuing campaign, the 4th Cavalry was the most successful. On 26–27 September, it staved off a Comanche attack at the head of Tule Canyon, and, on the morning of 28 September, descended by a narrow trail to the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon. There it completely destroyed five Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne villages, including large quantities of provisions, and captured 1,424 horses and mules, of which 1,048 were slaughtered at the head of Tule Canyon. Afterward, Mackenzie, with detachments of the regiment, made two other expeditions onto the High Plains. On 3 November, near the site of Tahoka, in their last fight with the Comanches, the cavalrymen killed two and captured nineteen Indians. In the spring of 1875, Mackenzie and elements of the 4th Cavalry from various posts in Texas were sent to Fort Sill to take control of the Southern Plains Indians.

Meanwhile, the Indians in Mexico had renewed their marauding in Texas. In 1878 General Sherman, at the insistence of the Texans, transferred Mackenzie and six companies of the 4th Cavalry to Fort Clark. This time Mackenzie led a larger and more extensive expedition into Mexico, restored a system of patrols, and reestablished peace in the devastated region of South Texas.

Outside Texas, Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry administered and controlled the Kiowa-Comanche and the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservations for several years, and, after the defeat of George Armstrong Custer's command at the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876, forced Red Cloud and his band of Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes to surrender. In the autumn of 1879, Mackenzie with six companies of the 4th Cavalry subdued the hostile Utes in Southern Colorado without firing a shot and in August 1880 forced them to move to a reservation in Utah Territory.

Immediately thereafter, the 4th Cavalry was transferred to Arizona Territory, where Mackenzie was to assume full command of all military forces in the department and subdue the hostile Apaches. Within less than a month, the Apaches had surrendered or fled to Mexico, and on 30 October, Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry were transferred to the new District of New Mexico. By 1 November 1882, when W. B. Royall replaced Mackenzie as colonel, the 4th Cavalry had forced the White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros to remain peacefully on their respective reservations.

From 1884 to 1886 the 4th Cavalry again operated against the Apaches in Arizona and helped capture Geronimo. Particularly noteworthy was B troop's pursuit of Geronimo into Northern Mexico led by Capt. Lawton and Surgeon Leonard Wood. Thus ended the regiment's participation in the Indian Wars.

In 1890 the regimental headquarters was moved to Fort Walla Walla, Washington. The regiment split, with half going to the Department of the Columbia, and half to the Department of California at the Presidio of San Francisco. The California contingent provided the first superintendent and park guardians for the General Grant, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks in 1891.

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