Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Cavalry and Infantry of the Plains

After the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson signed an “Act to increase and fix the Military Peace Establishment of the United States” to strengthen western security. The constituents living in the west were being preyed upon by Indians and  civil war soldiers unable to settle into regular life and they spoke up to the need of more military force
The U.S. Army had five regiment of artillery and they added infantry from nineteen to forty-five regiments. The six regiments of U.S. Cavalry were expanded to ten. Negro enlisted men made up two of the new mounted regiments and four of the infantry. They were led by white officers. The Army permitted 1000 Indian scouts to work as cavalrymen on the frontier.

The legislation allotted a similar system to the cavalry as was used during the Civil War.
Regimental staff consisted of:
one colonel
one lieutenant colonel
three majors
one adjutant
one quartermaster
one regimental commissar
 one veterinary surgeon
one sergeant major
one quartermaster sergeant
 one commissary sergeant
one saddler sergeant
one chief trumpeter
one regimental hospital steward
There could also be one veterinary surgeon who functioned without a commission.
A Company consisted of:
One captain
One first lieutenant
One second lieutenant
One first sergeant
One quartermaster sergeant
Five sergeants
Eight corporals
Two trumpeters
Two farriers and blacksmiths
One saddler
One bagoner
And seventy-eight privates.
In 1867 President Johnson allowed all companies to have 100 privates.

The reason I looked up this information was to get a feel for the officers and numbers of the Army and Cavalry who chased after the Non-Treaty Nez Perce when they fled to freedom in 1877.
My current release Spirit of the Sky is set during the grueling chase and the aftermath and consequences forced upon the Nez Perce. Spirit of the Sky is a romance, but the backdrop for the romance is the injustice the U.S. government and Army forced upon the Non-Treaty Nez Perce.

Blurb for Spirit of the Sky
To save her from oppression, he must save her whole tribe. To give her his heart, he must desert his career…

When the US Army forces the Nimiipuu from their land, Sa-qan, the eagle spirit entrusted with watching over her tribe, steps in to save her mortal niece. Challenging the restrictions of the spirit world, Sa-qan assumes human form and finds an unexpected ally in a handsome cavalry officer
Certain she is a captive, Lt. Wade Watts, a Civil War veteran, tries to help the blonde woman he finds sheltering a Nez Perce child. While her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language, she refuses his help. But when Wade is wounded, it is the beautiful Sa-qan who tends him. Wade wishes to stop the killing—Sa-qan will do anything to save her people.

Can their differences save her tribe? Or will their love spell the end of the Nimiipuu?

    The plants parted, revealing the contorted face of a soldier squinting down the length of a rifle pointed at them. Girl of Many Hearts squeaked. Sa-qan drew the child behind her, using her body as a shield. As a spirit she could not be killed by a mortal’s bullet.
    A man dressed in buckskin pants and a soldier’s shirt with leader markings appeared behind the soldier pointing the rifle at them.
    “No, Private! Leave them be!” The command rang with authority. The man’s dark eyes, shaded by the brim of a hat, narrowed, staring at her. “We’re only after the warriors. Go.” He pushed the soldier from the water and stepped closer.
    “Are you a captive?” He held out his hand not holding a weapon. “I can help you. Take you from this.” His voiced dropped to a deeper, calming tone.
    Sa-qan met his gaze. Should she let him know she spoke his tongue? The compassion in his eyes was a harsh contradiction to the violence still raging through the village. She shook her head and pressed Girl of Many Hearts farther into the river.
    He took another step forward. “I can help you. We’re going to keep after these people until they give in. I know the army. They don’t give up.” The sorrow and weariness in his tone puzzled her.
    She thought all soldiers thrived on attacking and harassing the Nimiipuu.
    “I can get you away from this now, before it gets worse.” He took another step.
    His nostrils flared as the stinging scent of burning hide filled the air along with terrified high-pitched screams.
    “Damn!” The soldier lunged out of the river and ran toward a group of teepees being lit on fire.

Contest!  I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter.

Blog Tour Contest! Each blog stop has a picture of an eagle in the post. Follow the tour and send me the number of different pictures you saw while following the tour. To learn where I”ll be go to my blog( or website( If there is more than one correct entry I’ll draw a winner on May 21st  to receive a $25 gift certificate to either Barnes and Nobles or Amazon, a handmade custom ereader cover, and chocolate. Send your entry number to: by May 21st.


Anonymous said...

Hi Paty thanks for the info. I have always wondered regarding the army's out west hierarchy and the numbers involved. Between yours and Ellens post this week I have had an interesting education.
Cheers Rosheen
(ps I don't need to go in the draw just wanted to acknowledge a post that I found informative and interesting)

Kirsten Arnold said...

Terrific post, Paty, and great information. Another print it off and keep! I love your spirit series and Spirit of the Sky is waiting in my TBR pile, but after reading the excerpt I'll be moving up.


Alison E. Bruce said...

Interesting post. Details like that really help a writer get a picture of what the west was really like. I love your contest idea - and may use something similar when I set up my blog tour. Isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery, after all?

Maggie said...

This is a very facinating post, Paty. Makes me want to go visit some old my historic road trips with a purpose.

Peggy Henderson said...

Great reference material for army hierarchy! Thanks for putting it all in one place. Research has just gotten a lot easier.

Cheri Kay Clifton said...

Yes, Great informative post, Paty. A portion of my book, Trail To Destiny, takes place at a Cavalry fort. Though I used a fictional name for the fort, I did use Fort Kearny as the factual way station for the wagon train. Ft. Kearny was dear to my heart since I was born in Kearney, Nebraska and visited the historical fort several times as a child and adult. Note: The city of Kearney derives its name from the original fort but due to a postal error an "e" was inadvetently added and then never changed.

Devon Matthews said...

Lots of great information here, Paty. Thanks for the lists! Love your excerpt!

Maggie said...

The City of Casper, WY was named after Ft. Caspar, guess the city never saw the need to correct this error either. Too much paperwork maybe?

Paty Jager said...

Rosheen, I'm glad you found the information useful. And thank you for keeping tabs on Cowboy Kisses.

Thanks Kristen. I'm glad the information is helpful to everyone and that you liked the excerpt.

I agree Alison. If I don't have a full picture of the characters and times I'm writing I have trouble visualizing the story to write it. And you are more than welcome to copy my blog tour. I watch what other people do and try to make each one interesting.

Maggie, Thanks! I enjoy learning about forts and seeing them, though I don't get a chance to do much of the "seeing" other than through books and websites. I found it fascinating that only a few forts were as large and impressive as the ones you see in movies.

You're welcome, Peggy.

Cheri, My dad grew up in Nebraska and has talked about Ft. Kerany.

Paty Jager said...

Maggie, that's too funny about Casper/Caspar. But I bet you'll find lots of misspellings like that if you looked in every state.

Thanks Devon!

Tanya Hanson said...

Awesome, excerpt, Paty, and I love the info on the military.So complicated LOL. I remember General Howard, who admired Joseph, and Gen. Miles chasing Joseph and (I think Lt.) Charles E.S. Wood who became an advocate later on.
Good stuff!

Paty Jager said...

Tanya, I have a lot of those people mentioned in Spirit of the Sky.

Lauri said...

I wished I'd known you had all this info handy. It would have saved me tons of research while writing a story last winter!

Spirit of the Sky is a GREAT book!

Paty Jager said...

Lauri, You should have asked. LOL Thanks!

Lyn Horner said...

Wonderful post, Paty! All that detail will help a lot of us. Also great excerpt. Makes me anxious to read Spirit of the Sky.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Lyn!

Paty Jager said...

Devon, You're my winner! I'll be sending you an e-mail.

Devon Matthews said...

Thanks, Paty! This is very cool. :)

Ellen O’Connell said...

Rats. I thought this would be the lead post for another day and I'd be here timely. Just wanted to echo others in saying thanks for the info. I've copied the heart of some of these research posts and tucked them away on my own PC.

Now I'm going to remember to post this in the way that handles the apostrophe in my last name properly. :-)

Paty Jager said...

Thanks for stopping in Ellen!